The millionaire farmer

Peter Brandner of Greifenburg, Austria is an impassioned dairy farmer. With his 100 cows he produces over a million litres of milk a year.

September 25, 2017

The Brandner farm is a true family operation. Four generations sit down to lunch, and from grandparents to children-in-law, everybody helps out. “Everybody pulling together makes this a better farm,” says Peter Brandner.In 2008 the Brandners invested about a million euros in a new stall for their 100 cows and their calves. “Naturally, milk prices have dropped steadily since then,” notes Brandner wryly. He works 60 hectares of land, 20 of it in crops and the rest meadow.

Satisfaction above all
The current price for milk of 40 cents per litre still lets him make a good living. At about a million litres per year, he takes in something like half a million euros. Half of it goes to cover operating costs, the rest to reinvestment and income for the family. “There is something new to be done every day. Farming is never boring. And when the work is this satisfying, everything goes a little easier,” says Brandner. He can’t think of anything he’d rather do. Which is a good thing, since he spends 360 days a year on the farm and knows every cow in the stall by name.
His sons Stefan and Jürgen help him with the daily work. Stefan, the eldest, will take over the farm in two years. Brandner says the work is hard, but he loves doing it. “Every day it’s rise and shine at three AM, but my work makes me happy. There is no other profession in the world that lets you be so close to your family.” The milk is sold to a regional dairy cooperative, and the farm makes all its own food. Brandner attends to two or three cattle shows each year. “That’s extremely important for our farm’s reputation,” he explains. “And of course I want to show off my cows.”

Looking for a new spreader
The farm has a full machine park with three tractors and a loader. But 100 milch cows and their calves make a lot of manure. “Formerly we contracted out the manure spreading,” says Brandner. “But it was never really ideal, since the contractor would spread all day whether the weather was right or not.” So he looked for a different solution. To be independent, he and his sons decided to buy their own spreader. The contractor’s machine gave a very good spread pattern, so the choice was quickly made. As he puts it, “what could be better than a Farmtech spreader?” And indeed, 80 percent of the spreaders used locally are Farmtech, so they certainly have a sterling reputation.
“We looked online and decided the Ultrafex was the one. The video of the new Ultrafex series on the Farmtech website convinced us.” Ultimately, after thorough discussions and personal assistance from Farmtech dealer Lagerhaus and Farmtech representative Danilo Fras, they settled on the new Ultrafex 1200 model with universal spreader unit with two horizontal rotors and two spreading discs. Brandner is in no doubt. “Farmtech’s high build quality is excellent. We have no doubt that we made the right decision.”

Five days holiday
Peter Brandner is optimistic about the future. “The younger generation is more and more interested in regional foods, which is great for us. Like them, I have no time for the cheap supermarket chain brands. The food producers would do well to be a bit tighter on quality control.” He’s not one to mince words. “I also think farmers could be a bit more satisfied with their lives. Like me. Five days holiday a year is more than enough for me. I always spend them with my wife at a thermal spring in Slovienia,” adds Brandner, before he drinks deeply from a glass of his cows’ milk.