Hay making season in full swing

By Dairy News

“Making hay while the sun shines” is probably a good summation of what many us in the Murray dairy region have been doing over these past few months.

As I move around the region, northern and central Victoria contrast the north-east corner, with the Goulburn Murray Irrigation District and southern Riverina experiencing below average rainfall and unprecedented water pricing.

Thankfully, welcome rains allowed good silage and hay production in much of our region in earlier months which many farmers used as an opportunity to build fodder reserves; the downside is that a recent downward revision of the Goulburn-Murray Water inflow forecast to “dry to very dry” has added another pressure point for our farmers in those regions.

In contrast, the north-east continues to benefit from better conditions with reports of rain “falling at just the right times” and farmers reporting a better-than-expected silage and hay making season.

Season preparation

Many farmers will have been busy setting up their season with businesses using irrigation to boost production on-farm and, if the opportunity is there, bringing in extra feed for the summer.

We encourage farmers to feed test and obtain Vendor Declaration forms to ensure you are receiving the quality needed if you are purchasing fodder in for your herds.

To assist you in preparing for the season, I hope that many of you took the opportunity to attend the events that were run in October, including:

Transitioning to Temporary Feed Areas — options and information for those considering a temporary feed area or sacrifice paddock.

Fix Your Mix — a detailed session on the use and operation of mixer wagons to improve the quality and consistency of the ration.

For information about managing nutrition as your herd changes diets moving into the summer, Dairy Australia has developed a new series of videos and fact sheets, available on the Feed Planning website, or you can use a Taking Stock consultation to catch up one-on-one with an adviser to develop feed and nutrition plans.

Secondary income

Murray Dairy has also been successful in securing a partnership with Regional Development Victoria under the Regional Skills Fund to assist farmers in adding to their skills or re-skilling for a secondary income.

If you are interested in the program, contact Murray Dairy for more information.

Focus Farm face of next generation

At our last Murray Dairy board meeting, held in the Upper Murray town of Corryong, the Murray Dairy directors took the opportunity to catch up with Paul and Jess Furze, our current Focus Farmers in Tallandoon.

What a great young couple and the face of our next generation.

Jess and Paul have worked hard to get to the point they are now, with a toehold firmly in the industry, however they are excited about the next step in that journey and believe that being the Focus Farm for the next two years offers them a great opportunity to explore the opportunities they have to reach their goal of farm ownership. We look forward to following their journey.

Annual report online

Murray Dairy also held its AGM in October along with a post-AGM dinner.

Both events were well patronised with more than 100 people attending the dinner where our guest speakers from the Australian Fresh Milk Holdings group, Michael Perich and Quentin Moxey, captured the audience with their innovative approach to farming, their perspective on dairying in the region and the vision they have for their business going forward.

I think AFMH is a great example of how business relationships can thrive and grow with the correct structures and supports around them to become true powerhouses.

If you would like a copy of Murray Dairy’s 2018–19 Annual Report or Achievements Report, you can find it on the Murray Dairy website or contact the office for a hardcopy.

Draft statement on dairy plan

On a broader scale many will have participated in the consultation process for the Australian Dairy Plan.

A Key Directions Statement has recently been issued by the organisations involved, articulating the key focus areas for the plan.

A first draft is due to be presented to the industry at the end of November and I would encourage anyone who is interested in providing feedback to do so (via the website).

Looking to the future

It’s hard to believe we are nearly at the end of 2019 and many of us already looking to the season and year ahead.

Now is a great time to reflect on our achievements and the challenges, and remember that we all get to wake up every day and choose whether we are going to be a glass half-full or a glass half-empty person, I know which one I would rather be.

I wish you all a happy and safe Christmas season and hope you find time out with family and friends to enjoy all the festive offerings this time of year.

- Karen Moroney, Murray Dairy chair