New lease of life for former DemoDAIRY

By Rick Bayne

THE FORMER DemoDAIRY at Terang in western Victoria has been purchased by neighbouring farmer, Paul Moloney, who has started a five-year regeneration plan.

DemoDAIRY was established in the early 1990s as a research and demonstration farm but its role in the industry changed as on-farm research projects were phased out, and demonstration activities were largely replaced by focus farms, leading the DemoDAIRY board to sell the property.

The dairy hadn’t been used for 18 months and many paddocks were run down and while Mr Moloney said reviving the farm will be a challenge, he’s confident he can make it work.

The 161-hectare farm on the Princes Highway backs on to his existing farm of 190 hectares.

However, the new farm will stand alone.

“I want this place to grow enough grass so we’re not importing anything other than grain,” Mr Moloney said. “I want it to be self-sufficient.”

The new enterprise will start on July 4 with 250 cows and will be run by a sharefarmer.

Mr Moloney has rebuilt the dairy and started pasture renovations.

“The first thing I did was gut the dairy and install new equipment,” he said. “The dairy hadn’t been touched for a long time and had been deteriorating before it was shut down. I wanted to get back to basics and make it functional and easy to operate.”

It’s been a hard summer with many pastures dying and Mr Moloney needed to re-sow about 20 paddocks that were in poor condition. He is using mainly Italian rye-grass, the same as his home farm, and also trialling vetch and oats on restored paddocks.

Although the farm will now be a private enterprise, a small plot has been leased to Stephen Pasture Seeds to continue rye-grass trials.

He also plans to invite the South Ecklin Dairy Discussion Group, of which he’s a member, to inspect the new-look farm.

Mr Moloney hopes to sell the former administration and research buildings and have them relocated from the site. He then plans to reclaim the land and build a hay shed, machinery shed and calf shed.

“We’ve had a few enquiries but nothing concrete,” he said.