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Transition Time Passing the baton in South Gippsland See page 10




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GippsDairy Chair’s message

Big picture and grass roots AS WE head towards another annual general

meeting, I’ve been looking back at what’s been achieved in the last financial year. 2018–19 saw GippsDairy at the forefront of both high-level industry planning and grassroots support for dairy farmers. Australian Dairy Plan meetings were rolled out across Gippsland—and the rest of Australia—with the idea of giving everyone in the industry a chance to have their say on how dairy should move forward. I was delighted with how GippsDairy got behind the logistics of the plan and how farmers and service providers showed their support by turning up in strong numbers at the Warragul, Maffra and Leongatha meetings. I’m confident the process will lead to a plan that can maintain the strong points of the industry—of which Gippsland has many—while addressing the ongoing issues that are reducing profitability on so many farms.

While these high-level concepts were being discussed, GippsDairy was also busy supporting farmers in the areas hardest hit by poor seasonal conditions. There was great farmer support for a new discussion group in Orbost, while a similar discussion group in Yarram was planned during 2018–19 before being launched more recently. Both these groups are aimed at helping farmers adapt their businesses to the changing climatic conditions that have seen traditional fodder growing methods fail over multiple seasons. With the autumn and spring of 2018 leaving many farmers in Gippsland with depleted fodder reserves, GippsDairy and Dairy Australia produced a well-received spring Tech Notes book that offered valuable information to farmers across the region. That was followed up with an autumn version that helped farmers plan for when the rains eventually returned. I thought it was a great example of how the extension

knowledge held by the industry could be distributed to farmers in a timely and effective way. During the year the departures of Donna Gibson, Irene Baker and Ruari McDonnell were all announced—we wish them well in their new careers. Libby Heard joined GippsDairy and is an exciting addition to the extension team. Under Allan Cameron’s leadership, GippsDairy continues to build strong relationships with many farm support businesses, government departments and agriculture education campuses. The GippsDairy team worked tirelessly throughout the year responding to farmer needs, when and where required. The board has been forward thinking, dynamic and responsive in its decision making and has helped guide GippsDairy through another year of activity that has supported our Gippsland farmers. Grant Williams GippsDairy Chair


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Farm profit holds up in Gippsland VARIED SEASONAL conditions impacted


$50k $50k -$15k -$15k

3.0% 3.0% 1.7% 1.7%

1.0% 1.0% -2.3% -2.3%

Average Average return return onon equity equity

$9.00 $9.00

10.0% 10.0%

$7.50 $7.50

8.0% 8.0%

$6.00 $6.00

6.0% 6.0%

$4.50 $4.50

4.0% 4.0%

$3.00 $3.00

2.0% 2.0%

$1.50 $1.50

0.0% 0.0%

$0.00 $0.00

-2.0% -2.0%

-$1.50 -$1.50

Milk price (net,$/kg MS, includes inflation)

$144k $144k $82k $82k

12.0% 12.0%

Milk price (net,$/kg MS, includes inflation)

Return Return onon total total assets assets and and milk milk price price

Return on total assets (%)

percentage of ME consumed remained steady farm performance throughout Gippsland. at 66 per cent of the cows’ diet. Feed costs South and west Gippsland experienced rea- increased by 22 per cent on average to $3.27/ sonable pasture growing conditions, while farms kg MS and comprised 55 per cent of total costs in the central and eastern areas had inconsistent (variable plus overhead costs), a 22 per cent rainfall that compromised pasture production. increase on last year. The average rainfall across participating farms Concentrate price increased 32 per cent to Varied Varied seasonal seasonal conditions conditions contributed contributed toto was 705mm or 81 per cent of the long-term $518/t DM, silage increased 46 per cent to $365/t 1717 ofof the the 2525 farms farms recording recording a positive a positive EBIT EBIT average. DM and hay increased 18 per cent to $341/t DM. A dry 12 months leading into the spring in Feeding levels remained similar with only a slight 2017-18 2017-18 2018-19 2018-19 2018 saw an increased reliance on irrigation reduction in concentrates fed to 1.6 t DM/cow. Average milk solids sold was 146000kg MS/ water for dairy farms in the Macalister Irrigafarm, 468 kg MS/cow and 888 kg & MS/ha. tion District (MID). Water allocations reached Average Average earnings earnings before before interest interest tax & tax 100 per cent with no spill water by the end of On average, farm EBIT reduced to $82000 in the season, resulting in an increase in supple- 2018–1 down from $148000 in 2017–18. mentary feed. Net farm income also reduced to -$15000, Average Average netnet farm farm income income Herd size increased 5 per cent to 307 cows per down from $52000 the previous year, the third farm and stocking rates increased slightly from lowest on record. Average Average return return on on total total assets assets to a decrease 1.8 cows/ha to 1.9 cows/ha, usable area decreased Reduced farm profi t contributed from 189ha to 186ha in 2018–19. in average RoTA and RoE, down to 1.7 per cent The amount of homegrown feed as a and -2.3 per cent.

Return on total assets (%)



06-0706-07 07-0807-08 08-0908-09 09-1009-10 10-1110-11 11-1211-12 12-1312-13 13-1413-14 14-1514-15 15-1615-16 16-1716-17 17-1817-18 18-1918-19

Return Return onon total total assets assets

Milk Milk price price (net) (net)

Farm Farm profitability profitability was was influenced influenced byby 18% 18%in variable in variable costs costs to to $3.81/kg $3.81/kg MS MS as as

Future Future expectations expectations 2019-20 2019-20

purchase purchase feed feed and and irrigation irrigation prices prices increased increased


of long-term of long-term average average rainfall rainfall 81% 81%

91% 91% of farmers of farmers expect expect farm farm profit profit to to improve improve

Issues Issues ranked ranked in order in order of of importance importance as as reported reported byby farmers: farmers:

100% 100% irrigation irrigation determinations determinations in the in the Macalister Macalister Irrigation Irrigation District District with with nono spillspill water water

$$ 4% 4%in milk in milk price price to to $5.97/kg $5.97/kg MS MS

d eed ble sable med d

Input Input costs costs

Climate/seasonal Climate/seasonal conditions conditions

Pasture/fodder Pasture/fodder

g ndand support support from from thethe Victorian Victorian Government Government andand Dairy Dairy Australia. Australia. eture Victoria, Victoria, Dairy Dairy Australia Australia andand service service providers. providers.


Annual ual Report Report 2018-19 2018-19 for for further further information information - -

erwise, otherwise, this work this work is made is made available available under under the terms the terms of the of Creative the Creative Commons Commons Attribution Attribution 3.0 Australia 3.0 Australia licence. licence.

nal uthor author whowho is theis State the State of Victoria. of Victoria.


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A unique equity partnership is being explored in West Gippsland, Victoria, through the focus farm concept. Five independent partners make up the three-way equity REDAN partnership—Noel and Anne Campbell, Evan Campbell and Dean and Rebecca Turner. Collectively, the partnership leases the 185-hectare Yannathan dairy farm of Matt Coleman, on a four-year lease, with a following four-year option. About 25 farmers and service providers make up the focus farm support group and includes Matt Coleman and REDAN’s fulltime employee, Misty Vlietman-Paris. As well as being an equity partner, Evan Campbell receives a wage as the full-time farm manager. In the background is facilitator and consultant, Matt Harms. The idea behind the partnership is for Evan, Dean and Rebecca to build herd and cash equity and become independent dairy farmers, while Noel and Anne reduce their equity stake during the same time period. Adding further to the relationship is the longterm (20-plus years) arrangement between Noel and Anne and sharefarmers, Dean and Rebecca. “The raison de’tre for the partnership is for

everyone to achieve more working in a team than they could expect to do in isolation,” Matt said. Equity growth in the partnership is through ownership of young cattle. Cow ownership determines the equity percentage, and therefore profitability, of the partners and this is reviewed annually. “Effectively, the partnership is wound up annually and renewed every year,” Matt said. A dividend is also paid to each partner annually. However, the dividend is the result of reconciliation after all costs are paid; some funds are retained annually to be working capital. The 185ha farm runs a mixed-breed singlecalving herd on 174ha—last season herd numbers peaked at 377. Calving begins in July and timing needs to be kept tight. The herd needs to grow quickly to 420 milkers and the partners expect that will happen this financial year, mostly through purchasing cows. The herd is mixed breeds, mostly small to moderate-sized cows. Initially, Noel and Anne owned 62.5 per cent of the herd, Dean and Rebecca 25.4 per cent and Evan owned 12.1 per cent. Cows are not pooled and remain in the individual ownership of the respective partners. Evan keeps a spreadsheet that identifies each cow and her production—her value is

Some of the principals involved in REDAN partnership, Evan Campbell, Noel Campbell and farm owner, Matt Coleman (standing), with the focus farm support team, Graham Lowndes, Libby Heard, Tom Kent, Raruiri McDonnell, Andrew Dobie, Matt Harms, James Shepherd, Kelly Price, Daryl Hoey, Lisa Huitson, Greg Warren, Misty Vlietman-Paris, Brian Gannon, Lisa Monson, Andrew Wood, Chris Drew, Dr Andrew Perry, Alexander Mapleson, Gerard Murphy, Brett Williams and John Gallienne.

determined by her production contribution and annual herd tests. Because the herd was initially all purchased, with the cows at varying prices, an averaging is applied to cow replacement cost. “Good herd records are key to knowing the cow’s contribution each year and who owns her,” Evan said. In year two, 2018–19, the ownership and therefore the profit and dividend split was Noel

and Anne 58.2 per cent, Dean and Rebecca 27.2 per cent and Evan 14.6 per cent. Consequently, in these early years, decisionmaking power is naturally driven by the partners’ equity if there is dispute. Noel and Anne do not have young stock. They provide the machinery and consequent costs of machinery maintenance as an input without value.

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GIPPSLAND REGION // 5 Evan has 84 R1s and R2s; agistment is at commercial rates on the farm owned by Noel and Anne. Dean and Rebecca have 122 R1s and R2s and these graze on a leased turnout block at their own cost. All calf raising (to springer) and veterinary costs are applied back against the individual cow owner’s name. There are three key pillars to farm business growth—stocking rate, calving rate and cow type. Profit can be maximised by reducing the amount of bought-in fodder and increasing herd fertility, and the amount of pasture grown and consumed. It is Evan Campbell’s responsibility to maximise profit daily, by getting management outcomes “as right as possible” for 365 days of the year. Production in September last year was 1.93kgMS sold of 2.04kgMS produced. This year in September, production was 2.05kgMS sold. The farm supplies Fonterra and opening price offered was $6.80/kg/Milk Solids. The effective grazing area is 160ha, with a daily allocation of 5ha per 24 hours. Stocking rate is 2.24 cows/ha. Seventy-five per cent of the farm was resown in the first year, 60 per cent of the farm was resown this year. “There were old pastures that needed reseeding,” Evan said. “Where we’ve sown in the past two years, we’re looking after those pastures where the grass has persisted.” The dairy is a 30-bay swingover. As well as

Evan as farm manager, at 1.3 EFT, and Misty as 1.0 EFT, there are two part-time milkers 0.7 EFT and a seasonal worker at calving time 0.3 EFT. There are four units of imputed labour from each of the remaining partners, equivalent to 0.4 EFT. A fertiliser plan was developed following soil tests—the country is deep clay with a hard pan, has a history of dairy and potatoes and needs autumn rain, according to Matt Coleman. Spring pasture growth responds well to a good soil moisture profile. A process of deep-ripping to 30cm, liming and application of organic matter was followed this past year, with mixed results so far. Most of the organic matter came from the calf-raising sheds, the calving pad and chook shed litter. The deep-ripped paddocks, at a cost of $100/ ha, have shown variable growth. A power harrow was applied into some paddocks at the back of the farm; by early September, this area was showing no residuals from pasture sown in the autumn. “We’re trying to determine what’s affecting pasture persistence and how to offset that; and what investment is worthwhile, given it’s a lease paddock,” Evan said. Forage barley was sown, at a cost of $470/ha, into 10ha; by early September, it was growing at a rate of 3tDM/ha in some places, but was patchy where water still lay on the surface. “We’re considering whether it will be grazed. It could be boosted with 250t/ha fertiliser and harvested as silage in October,” Noel said. The rainfall pattern is generally reliable, but the 2019 autumn and winter were dry.

Consequently, sacrifice paddocks were used to feed out silage during this period. According to farm owner, Matt Coleman, the farm is traditionally very wet. Four inches of July rain had rescued a dry winter, which brought about decisions to stop milking the herd some weeks earlier than normal. With moisture driving pasture growth coming out of winter, Gibberellic acid was applied alongside weed spraying to boost growth, from 1600kgDM/ha on June 22 to 2300kgDM/ha in mid-September. But the rain reduced the likelihood of gaining access by machinery to harvest silage until well into spring. “Where the deep ripping occurred, those paddocks are still too wet to get on to; and will probably remain like that into October,” Noel said in early September. The dry autumn and winter meant pasture growth was reduced and the entire store of harvested fodder was used to supplementary feed cows. Last season the farm harvested 600tonnes dry matter silage as bales and two stacks; fed out by August this year at a rate of 1.7tDM/cow. The partners said the silage strategy was to chase hard, producing 1.6–2tDM/ha. At risk was needing to purchase fodder to supplementary feed out in summer if insufficient silage is harvested; hot weather dries out the soil moisture and impedes pasture growth, limiting grazing options. Of course, growing the herd to 420 in a short period will impact pasture growth and silage harvest. An additional 60tDM of silage will need to be harvested. One of the issues discussed at

At the Redan farm n Yannathan.

the focus farm open day was how much nitrogen would be applied to chase pasture growth and it was decided it would need to be ramped up to 1.6t/ha. A herd of 420 cows in full milk will necessitate a stocking rate of 2.3 cows/ha. The partnership has budgeted to spend $250000 on pellets this financial year. Other herd costs include the operating costs of retaining and raising heifers.

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Food focus for Gippsland GIPPSLAND TEACHERS will be empowered

to incorporate ‘food and fibre’ concepts in class, via a series of free professional development events across the region. In term four 2019, teachers will have the chance to take part in a practical, hands-on workshop, thanks to a new Gippsland project. GIPPYAg, a unique project that aims to link schools, teachers and industry across Gippsland to improve knowledge and appreciation for local food and fibre industries, will build the capacity of primary and secondary teachers to introduce hands-on STEM learning experiences about the

science and technology used in agriculture and horticulture. The free teacher professional development opportunity is open to primary and secondary teachers interested in incorporating food and fibre concepts into their teaching practice and classrooms. Delivered by Food & Fibre Gippsland and CQUniversity Australia, with support from the Victorian Government, this is an excellent opportunity for educators to learn more about the local $7billion agriculture and horticulture sector. Dr Cosby indicated that there was currently a

lack of agriculture teachers in Gippsland. Free PD events across Gippsland: ■ Warragul—Tuesday, October 22, ■ Gippsland Tech School in Traralgon—Monday, November 18, ■ South Gippsland Bass Coast LLEN at Leongatha—Friday, November 22, ■ Sale College—Monday, November 25 ■ Bairnsdale—Tuesday, November 26. Registrations are essentials and more details are available from Dr Amy Cosby via a.cosby@ or 0405824112.

SENTIMENT LIFTING ACROSS VICTORIA Victorian rural sentiment has staged a strong rally, with the state’s farmers now among the most confident in the nation, the latest Rabobank Rural Confidence Survey has found. Dairy farmers were behind much of the upswing, with 45 per cent expecting conditions to improve on the back of strong milk price signals — with record high opening prices — and improving seasonal conditions in the southern dairy regions. But it is a tale of two halves in Victoria’s dairy sector, as milk production continues to tumble in the north of the state as farmers contend with high water and fodder costs. “Most dairy regions in southern Victoria have benefited from good winter rainfall, but it is the strong price environment that has driven the rebound in confidence,” Rabobank’s southern Victoria and Tasmania regional manager Hamish McAlpin said. “However, in the north, high water and fodder costs have taken the gloss off the high milk price — with little respite foreseen in coming months.” With lack of milk and latent capacity in the processing sector driving record high opening milk prices, Mr McAlpin said this was starting to feed into business’ bottom lines, with 65 per cent of dairy farmers expecting a higher gross farm income in 2019–20 than the previous financial year. Meanwhile, the state’s grain growers retained their upbeat outlook on the year ahead — and are more positive than their counterparts across the country — as Victoria’s crops shape up to be the best in the nation. Across the state, 37 per cent of farmers have a positive outlook on the agricultural economy in the coming 12 months, up from 31 per cent with that view in the previous quarter. Of those with an optimistic outlook, 65 per cent cited seasonal conditions as a key reason for their view, while commodity prices were nominated by 53 per cent. Just 16 per cent of Victorian farmers surveyed were anticipating a deterioration in the agricultural economy (down from 22 per cent previously), while 39 per cent expected no change. Mr McAlpin said the outlook for grain prices also remained positive, with growers “acutely aware of the dry conditions over the border and the impact on local supply and demand”. In the livestock sectors, Mr McAlpin said, confidence had improved among the state’s beef producers, with 41 per cent expecting an improvement in conditions (up from 26 per cent). Meanwhile sentiment in the sheep sector had waned, with 16 per cent expecting an improvement (down from 24 per cent), although 57 per cent were still expecting a continuation of current conditions. “While graziers benefited from the late autumn break, many continue to feed their stock, as there are patches around the state that remain very dry,” he said.



Ian Hooker, of Loch, with Korumburra’s Matt and Will Whiteside, were looking around the exhibitors.

Jenelle Loughridge, Garfield, with James feeding Rangeland goat kid, Ned.

Tim Harris, worker on a dairy farm at Tarwin Lower, dropped in to discuss pasture seeds, insecticides, herbicides and growth regulant, with Notman Pasture Seeds' Jason Hibbs and Adam Fisher.

Geoff Hewson, Buln Buln, with Welshpool's Kelvin Jackson and Noel Tonkin, Poowong.

Toby Leppin, a dairy farmer at Bena, dropped in to the Genetics Australia tent to talk about heat detection collars with Gerard Brislin, South Gippsland sales rep. Toby said he has been using the collars for five years to monitor and manage heat detection - he no longer has bulls on the property and it has streamlined joining and workflow.



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Di Gunther, Warragul, led almost the entire women’s gumboot race but was pipped at the post.

Dom Murdica, Leongatha, was determined to win the men’s gumboot race ... and did.

John Van Bergen, manager of Jatec Systems, with the CellSense subclinical cell count measurer, which is connected online with the milking system.

The veterans of the Strzlecki Lions Club held their own gumboot race, led and won by Maurice Schwennesen.

Gippsland Jersey’s Sue Levitt-Mills sold milkshakes to Ripplebrook dairy farmers, Megan and Barry Coster.

James Loughridge, Garfield, was letting fourmonth-old Rangeland kid, Ned, eat from the cup he held; James is with his mother, Jenelle Loughridge.

Organic farmers, Melissa and Beau Stewart and their children, Oscar and Maizy, of Hallora, visited the Dairy Expo.



Graeme Nicoll, Fish Creek dairy farmer, was discussing the effluent travelling irrigator with Sam Arancio, Reeve Pumps and Irrigators.

The Strzlecki Lions Club was cooking hot jam donuts at the Expo; pictured are Bernie Patterson and Alex Miller.

Kim Kirkus, a dairy farmer at Tarwin Lower, was enquiring from Nils Netzer about Lely automatic milking and calf feeding systems.

The National Centre for Farmer Health was at the Dairy Expo, offering a comprehensive health check for farmers. Dairy farmer, Paul Kent, Woolamai, was going through a health and lifestyle check with agri-health professional, Carolyn Alkemade.

Scott Brown was talking about banking and the dairy industry with Anne Kent, a dairy farmer at Lang Lang East. Anne brought along with Udder Truth showbag, given to all participants in the Expo, to encourage them to go around the exhibits.

Visiting the Expo were dairy farmers Trevor, Charlotte, Clare and Terry Porter, of Yarram.



Mr Sinclair has been responsible for rearing calves for 35 years but has handed that duty to the share farmers.

Sharing success with next generation BY JEANETTE SEVERS

AFTER A lifetime working as dairy farmers,

Fay and Daryl Sinclair are stepping back, with the implementation of a long-term plan to retire while still being able to enjoy living on the farm. Mr Sinclair is a fourth-generation dairy farmer and Mrs Sinclair is a third-generation dairy farmer. In 1986, they started as sharefarmers on the Stony Creek (Vic) dairy farm they now own. The couple began milking 140 cows in a 10-aside swingover herringbone. They renovated that to a 16-bay herringbone in the 1990s, then rebuilt it as a 20-a-side swingover herringbone in 2001, with automatic cup removers, auto wash, auto draft and an autograin system so the milking cows get 5kg grain mix daily. In more recent years, they installed a software system

that integrates with collars worn by all the cows, to manage veterinary and health care, and joining. The herd has been AI for the past 30 years. July 1 this year saw the couple begin an agreement with young sharefarmers to help another generation get into the industry. “We’re giving them 12 months to get some cash behind them and get a good start,” Mr Sinclair said. The young couple, Allan and Courtney Gilliam, come with their own pedigree in the dairy industry and have been working alongside Mr and Mrs Sinclair for the past year, on wages. “They are now on a 34 per cent share of income for the first 12 months, providing their labour. We provide the farm, infrastructure, machinery and cows,” Mr Sinclair said. “Their plan is to start building equity in the herd from July 1 next year. Then their share will go up.”

Cow collars ensure veterinary and animal health care is spot on.


GIPPSLAND REGION // 11 Mrs Sinclair still goes to the dairy for an hour every morning and Mr Sinclair is still involved in pasture management, but has handed over the reins to his other passion, calf rearing. The 540-acre dairy farm in South Gippsland utilises 380 acres to graze the herd, where average paddock size ranges from six to seven acres. Mr Sinclair manages the grazing rotation so the 380-head self-replacing predominantly Friesian herd has four days in each paddock. Annual milk production is stable at 585kg/cow Milk Solids. Of the remaining 160 acres, heifers graze 60 and 100 is used to make silage. One thousand wrapped bales of silage are harvested annually, with a cut off every paddock throughout the year. “In a good year, like last year, I’ll go around about half the paddocks again,” Mr Sinclair said. While he relies on an exceptional coastal rainfall—annual average is 1002mm and the climate is warm and temperate—Mr Sinclair’s pasture management is key to production. Mr Gilliam has been working alongside him for the past 12 months and Mr Sinclair said he continues to mentor him. “We’re averaging 11–12t dry matter annually,” Mr Sinclair said. “For the past 10 years, I’ve been using more lime then a blended fertiliser during the growing season.” Lime is applied across the farm in late January-February, at a rate of one tonne to the hectare. A blend of nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium and sulphur is applied at a rate of 170–195kg/ha, about six times during the growing season, April to late December. “You have to put it on to grow it,” Mr Sinclair said. “As soon as we get a bit of moisture in April, I start applying the fertiliser blend.” Pastures are mostly perennial, mostly Matrix rye-grass. “We get a long growing season before it goes to head. I’m also impressed with its longevity; the first paddock we sowed with it lasted 12 years before I oversowed,” Mr Sinclair said. In a normal year, he harvests 1000 rolls of pasture silage.

Fay and Daryl Sinclair have implemented a long-term plan to hand their daily farm responsibility to share farmers, encouraging the next generation into the industry.

The herd grazes paddocks in a four-day rotation.

Pasture management reminders for October

Ryegrass leaf appearance rate

8-12 days per leaf

Area of farm to graze today

1/20th to 1/30th of grazing area in 24 hours – monitor seed heads and manage for quality

Average daily pasture growth rate

50 to 80 kgDM/ha/day – with adequate moisture

Recommended pre-grazing decisions for all stock

Ideally graze ryegrass at 2½ leaf stage to maintain pasture quality and best regrowth – continue to monitor seed heads in late heading varieties

Recommended post grazing decision

Graze down to 5 cm pasture height between the clumps. Consider topping/silage to help in maintaining the 4 to 6 cm post-graze target

Seasonal management tasks

Only cut genuine surplus pasture for fodder



October Management Reminders Make the Most of Spring (Pasture Management) ■

Pasture intake per cow depends on having high quality pasture and enough pasture available per hectare. This is a very challenging balance in most spring conditions but is possible to achieve. Need to set the rotation to offer the highest amount of milker quality pasture. Stop counting leaves and set the rotation based on quality—aim to graze pastures before 25 per cent of the paddock has reached canopy closure. Allocate the right area of pasture each day to maintain pasture pressure. If the rotation is right and you have removed as much supplement as you are prepared to from the diet then consider banking paddocks to maintain grazing pressure. Consider the use of nitrogen to boost pasture production and potentially minimise the use of supplements, pasture responses of 10 to 20kgDM/ha for every kg of nitrogen/ ha are common in spring and represent very good value for money if you need and or can utilise the additional feed grown. If you are putting Potash out, consider spreading it over a number of applications rather than single application as it is highly mobile. Purchase concentrates at and affordable cost and an appropriate quality. Diet balance

is a major consideration when purchasing concentrates, when cows are eating two thirds or more of their diet as high quality pasture high protein concentrates are not normally required. Basic additives such as macro minerals and buffer are normally required.

Fodder conservation


• A true surplus conserved is relatively cheap • Cut pastures early: 2 to 3 leaf stage or before canopy closure. This is also the optimum stage for grazing in spring. • Cut pasture for silage as close to grazing height as possible (4 to 6cm) • Wilt the silage as fast as possible (use a tedder if needed). Aim for 45 per centDM for bales and 33 per centDM for stacks or pits • Seal quickly and well to exclude air • Repairs holes immediately using specific silage tape.

Secure feed now for the summer feed gap ■

Estimate feed required to feed your cows well over anticipated feed gap. Focus on quality and quantity of feed as well as cost. Investigate all options for filling the feed gap and act early to secure the feed at the best possible price. Common options are grain, silage, purchased hay and spring planted summer crops.

Milk production is strongly influenced by quality of the diet. Poor quality silage will limit milk production when fed back. Large quantities of low quality silage will result in bigger silage cost and lower milk production. Try to ‘Bank’ pastures rather than ‘lockup’ areas. Locked up is not ideal management as it reduces flexibility. It means these paddocks are committed to fodder conservation and so are no longer available to graze. Banking paddocks within the grazing wedge allows flexibility for withdrawal if conditions change. For more information on banking silage, visit: feedshortage/managingthespringsurplus

Cows ■

Consider the use of a proven joining program to tighten the calving pattern. More information on joining can be obtained at http://www.dairyaustralia. About-InCalf.aspx

Calves/Heifers ■

Have a plan for rearing calves and young stock with targets that are beneficial to your management. Monitor growth rates of calves to measure your success. Plan dehorning, vaccination and drenching. Aim for calves to be eating at least one kilogram of concentrates per day prior to weaning.


Profitable milk production is critical for all cows, cow health issues including best possible feeding need to be a focus as milk produced now sets up the spring calving cows production for the year and forms the basis of the farms cash flow. Have a good heat detection system in place and consider starting heat detection a month before the start of mating. Any cows not seen cycling in this time can be vet checked and treated if necessary prior to the joining start date.

Pasture growth rates drop significantly when soil moisture drops, checking soil moisture on a regular basis and irrigating when necessary is key to maximum pasture growth making higher profitable milk production and fodder conservation possible. Check all pumps and filters for correct operation and pressure before the heat of summer.

Your GippsDairy Team

GippsDairy’s regional extension officers use their research, administrative, technical and practical skills to deliver on our vision; to look after the interests of dairy farmers in our region.

Karen Romano

Sarah Cornell

Karen Romano Regional Extension Officer

Regional Extension Officer

Regional Extension Officer

Karen has worked in various roles within the dairy industry Sarah has seen the dairy industry from multiple viewpoints, before returning to Gippsland in 2013 as a Regional Extension giving her a great feel for the `people’ side of the dairy Officer. Karen hashas a passion for the industry, and within a industry. Sarahs’ role as a regional extension Karen worked indairy various roles the dairy industry before returning to Gippsland in 2013 as a officer has keen interest in extension and working first-hand with dairy an emphasis on workforce development and farm safety. Regional Extension Officer. Karen has a passion for the dairy industry, and a keen interest in extension farmers to improve decision making. She also co-ordinates the Gippsland Young Dairy Network and working first-hand with dairy farmers to improve decision making. which aims to develop farm knowledge and skills, provide 0417 524 916 leadership opportunities and build networks.

0417 524 916 Ashley Burgess

0437 400 316

Regional Extension Officer

Libby Heard

Ashley believes that GippsDairy can help dairy farmers utilise knowledge from other agricultural sectors. Ashley has previously worked in the beef, dairy and horticulture industries as an agronomist and hopes her technical knowledge can help improve dairy farm performance in Gippsland. She will be working in the Land, Water and Climate area, whichbelieves she described “a passion of mine” Ashley thatasGippsDairy can .help

Regional Extension Officer

Originally from a farm in the Riverina, Libby has been a Gippslander for almost a decade. With a background in animal health, business management and training, she enjoys working with farmers to understand their business and share ideas to make gradual improvements to their dairy farmers utilise knowledge fromLibby, other agricultural sectors. Farm productivity. who will deliver GippsDairy’s 925 278 Business Management courses and facilitate the Women in Ashley has previously worked in the beef, dairy and horticulture industries as an agronomist hopesand we can Dairy project, believes every farmand is different always learn from other people. her technical knowledge can help improve dairy farm performance in Gippsland. She will be working in

Ashley Burgess

Regional Extension Officer


Leah Maslen

0407 187 theExtension Land, Water and Climate area, which she described as “a passion of 595 mine”. Regional Officer Leah’s passion is to develop the capacity of people within the 0438career 925and 278 industry through personal development activities. Leah promotes, identifies and supports career pathways in the dairy industry for dairy farmers, farm employees and industry service providers. She also engages with industry stakeholders (schools, employers, service providers, students) to increase participation in dairy industry education and training programs.

Leah Maslen

Regional Extension Officer

Contact details

0448 681 373 passion Leah’s is to develop the capacity of people within the

Phone: 03 5624 3900 E-mail: Registered Office: PO Box 1059, Warragul, Victoria 3820 Website: Facebook: Search for usand on Facebook industry through career personal

development activities. Leah promotes, identifies and supports career pathways in the dairy industry for dairy farmers, farm employees and industry service providers. She also engages with industry

Profile for Dairy News Australia

Dairy News Australia - October 2019 - With Gippsland Region  

Dairy News Australia - October 2019 - With Gippsland Region

Dairy News Australia - October 2019 - With Gippsland Region  

Dairy News Australia - October 2019 - With Gippsland Region