Still dairy farming in 2022.

After nearly 7 years we are still dairy farming in South Gippsland. Around our area there have been several farms that have closed. Overall, Australia wide, dairy farms are getting fewer and bigger but according to the latest statistics, total milk production is down. Milk price is rising so that’s a positive.

Last year we got to 200 milkers. Since then we have pensioned a few cows off and sent a few cows off to help increase our beef herd. There is also natural losses which can be a bit frustrating. Even with some new heifers joining the herd we have only got back up to 177 milkers. But production is similar to last year.

Trial Tree Lucerne patch.
Trial Tree Lucerne patch in the middle of dry grass. Its the bright green foliage in the middle of the photo.

Its summer at the moment and the farm looks a bit dry. However there is a tinge of green from some new grass because we have had some recent showers. We have two trial patches of Tree Lucerne which can be used as a fodder tree. The trees stand out bright green in a sea of brown!

The home farm is 250 acres and that is used for the milkers and young calves. As soon as calves are old enough they are shipped off to one of our leased blocks. We are starting a beef herd and also have a small flock of Dorper sheep. We are expecting around 70 new calves this autumn and the mums-to-be are presently on an adjoining property.

Around the farm. This is the ‘quiet’ time of the year. The main job is cleaning out the calf pens in readiness for the new calves. The milkers are fed 2 – 3 bales of silage morning and evening on the feedpad. With less cows to milk we can sleep in a little but still have to aim to get the cows up by 6:30. It starts dark when we go out but by the time the cows are up its daylight.

The main job in the past few months has been upgrading the dairy, from 12 to 18 clusters. It has been a major project because everything has to be upgraded, the pit, rails, roof, lighting and power, not to mention the entire milking system which had to be replaced to cope withe the increased capacity.