No time to slow down

GippsDairy chair Sarah O'Brien.

Sourcing firewood might be an extra job on your to-do list at the moment, it certainly is on our farm.

Autumn is definitely here, evident in the rye-grass taking off in the paddock and the cold mornings at the dairy.

Last week GippsDairy hosted board members of Dairy Australia and our managing director David Nation. Directors James Mann, Alan Bell, Paul Roderick and Paul Bennett were eager to meet and talk with farmers in our region.

Thank you to each of our gracious farm hosts willing to open your gates to host us and other farmers in your neighbourhood.

Our travels took us to farms in Jindivick, Poowong, Inverloch, Nambrok, Foster and Leongatha North. It was a great opportunity to see the beautiful rolling hills of Gippsland.

Thank you to each farmer that attended and shared your honest thoughts and feedback — we value your contributions. In every conversation I heard the dedication and passion our Gippsland farmers have for dairy.

It was wonderful to hear of a particular couple succession planning with their family. They said the arrangement was probably a bit clunky and nothing formalised, but it is what it is, and it works for all of them.

They have continued to build on their parents’ breeding objectives, with some outstanding results, and strategically set the farm up in a way that currently works, while keeping all possible opportunities and risks in mind to cater for what the future may bring.

They both spoke highly of the value in surrounding themselves with people and service providers that embed their advice in industry-developed research.

As sharefarmers ourselves, it was a great reminder that every arrangement needs to work for everyone in the business, and every business has different triggers and levers that need to be considered.

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all arrangement — sometimes it does feel clunky, but good open communication between everyone is a game-changer.

It was a great day out at the recent Ellinbank SmartFarm Open Day. There is plenty of valuable research happening on-farm supported by Agriculture Victoria, the Gardiner Foundation and Dairy Australia.

It was wonderful to hear on the day from our local scientists and then have the science adapted into local Gippsland farming operations. The on-farm results were impressive and backed by research that your levy has contributed to.

We’re fortunate to have such a great resource in Gippsland. Topics covered on the day included a resilient forage project with Grant Williams happily sharing his journey, a First 100 Days project, a Smart Feeding project Stuart McCrae has trialled, and Climate Preparedness with Graham Nicoll.

To find out more about what was covered on the day please connect with Cindy Morrison at or view information from the day at

The next few weeks seems like a slower time of the year on-farm, but there is a lot happening with drying off cows, insemination programs for autumn calving and feeding out conserved fodder.

Together with winding up the financial year and developing budgets for next year, it is in fact a busy time of year.

I hope you’ve had the autumn break you’ve needed and are ready to set your business up for a successful calving and season ahead.

I also hope you manage to prioritise amongst everything else a well-deserved break, however that may look.

– Sarah O’Brien is the GippsDairy chair.