Big Narrikup dairy up for sale in WA

RACHEL DONKIN, The West Australian July 21, 2010, 7:13 am

Ravenhill Dairy marketing manager Rhys Ravenhill with some of the milkers at Narrikup.
Danella Bevis / Danella Bevis ©

Thirsty? How about a glass or two of milk? Milking cows a plenty.

Graham and Jan Ravenhill produce eight million litres of the white stuff at their dairy farm at Narrikup, near Mt Barker, which they have decided to put on the market as their three sons forge their own paths in business.

But the couple will leave a little bit of themselves behind when they walk away from the operation.

After setting up at Narrikup with a handful of cows 19 years ago, Ravenhill Dairy now lays claim to being the third-biggest operation in the State, with the 950ha farm’s 1100 cows producing 2.5 per cent of all milk produced in the State (about 320 million litres).

WA accounts for about 170 of the more than 10,000 dairy farms across the country, which together produce enough product to give Australia the title of the world’s second-biggest dairy exporter.

Although about 50 per cent of the milk produced at Ravenhill is exported through the Challenge Dairy Co-operative, the business also has a retail presence, the result of a decision six years ago to establish a processing plant and branch out into branded products.

Ravenhill Dairy milk – the family also tried its hand at yoghurt but it proved less profitable – can now be bought across the counter at most retail outlets in the Albany region.

The Ravenhill name has been linked to milk since 1925, when Graham’s grandfather began a small dairy near Walpole.

But with their three sons ready to head in different directions – Bevan is a dairy farmer in his own right, Ken is focused on cropping and Rhys will pursue interests outside agribusiness – the Ravenhills say they are now looking forward to trying out the ‘nine-to-five’ existence that is so familiar to city folk.

The family declined to discuss the sale price.
Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha

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