Homegrown Hero: White Rocks Farm

 

From hand-milking to high-tech advances, the Partridge family’s White Rocks Farm is an example of five generations of dairy and beef innovation.

The Partridge family’s farming legacy dates back to 1887, when John Partridge started with just three cows on 121 hectares of uncleared land. Since then, the family business has grown from strength to strength, led by John’s youngest son, Walter, who then handed down the farm to his sons, David and Ian.

Today, David’s son Michael, alongside his wife Leanne and their children Harrison and Oaklee, manage a 1,200-hectare property that produces six million litres of milk each year. With a constant drive for innovation and a willingness to evolve their business, the Partridge family has remained ahead of the game for more than 135 years.

In 2015, Mondo White Rocks Veal was inducted into the Australian delicious Produce Awards’ Hall of Fame.

Innovation is the Key to Success

Michael believes it’s important for farmers to embrace science and technology to drive production growth and continuous improvement. The farm is diversified, producing not only dairy and beef but also White Rocks veal (recognised nationally and internationally, and sought-after by leading, produce-driven chefs). This was achieved by David having the courage to diversify the business by forming a partnership with Mondo’s Butchers (that still stands today), turning low-quality livestock into a premium product.

Homegrown Hero: White Rocks Farm

From 160 Hectares to 1200 Hectares: Growing a Farming Business

The Partridge family’s farming legacy has continued to grow, both through buying and leasing more land, with over 1200 hectares now in their hands. Milking approximately 750 cows all year round, they have never stopped learning and maintaining a focus on continuous improvement.

Sustainability is also a priority for the Partridges, and they are already measuring the baseline carbon footprint across their farming operations.

Honouring the Past

Michael’s mother Elizabeth has been as important to the farm as any member of the family, and has long been a custodian of the Partridges legacy. This includes turning an old cottage built on the farm in 1891 into a family museum, housing memorabilia from past generations all the way back to Henry Partridge in the 17th century. Visitors can see how dairying was conducted in the past and how it is done now, with a modern rotary 50-stand dairy where up to 600 cows are milked in under two hours by just two people.

Homegrown Hero: White Rocks Farm

A major challenge of farming in an area such as the Harvey Region is also one of its greatest advantages; it’s as great a place to live as it is to work, which means developers are attracted to buy land for new estates to house an evergrowing population. This competes with farmers working with the same land to produce food and other products, fueling an ongoing debate about the farm/developer balance.

Leaving the Industry in a Better Place

Like his father, David, Michael’s voice and industry-related views have become well-known across Australia following long-term stints in both state and national dairy industry representative positions.

While agripolitics is always evolving, Michael is proud of what he has already contributed to the industry, including being part of ending the major supermarkets’ discounted sale of milk for $1 a litre in 2019.

 

The best thing about farming is that we’re using land, water and sunlight to grow things. We’re producing food out of natural elements.

Michael Partridge, Owner, White Rocks Farm

 

Working Together for Success

Ultimately, Michael wants all stakeholders in the industry to work cooperatively in a way where everyone can benefit. He believes that the future of the industry is bright, and that there is plenty of potential for growth and innovation.

As proud members of WA’s dairy and beef industry, Michael and Leanne are committed to leaving the industry in a better place than they found it. Through their focus on sustainability, innovation, and quality, they are paving the way for future generations of farmers to continue the Partridge family legacy.

 

Source Now

White Rocks Farm is not open to the public (groups only by special appointment). However, you can source their world-leading produce from Mondo Butchers and other leading butchers and chefs.

T: +61 8 9726 1085

E: whiterocks@wn.com.au

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