Cossack Holdings is a corporate farm near Port Campbell in south west Victoria. The farm milks 1000 cows. After many years of trying several different rosters, Gary, the farm manager, says they now have a roster that seems to work for everyone.
There are two production managers who, along with Gary, work a four days on, two days off shift. This means that on any day there will always be two of them on the farm. One starts early and finishes early whilst the other does the late shift. The rolling four on, two off shift is great for them because it gives them regular time off and four busy days in a row are enough.
Jim, the machinery manager, has commitments on weekends that mean he does a five-days-a-week shift. He manages to have everything in order by each Friday so that there is little need for his role on the weekend, which is covered by the other managers.
The three full-time milking staff also run on a four on, two off roster and are very happy with it. There are some casual milkers who fill in for them so that there is flexibility around time off. They do two shifts per day from 5 a.m. till 9 a.m. then 2 p.m. till 5.30 p.m. The early finish is important for them to get home at a reasonable time.
A concerted effort was made in recent years to make sure that no one is working more hours per week than they wish. There are few weeks of the year now when anyone works more than 50 hours, most averaging around 40-45 hours. This is a sustainable level of input that allows everyone to have a life outside of work and where the regular two days off gives them an opportunity to refresh.