New subtropical dairy group
THE Australian dairy industry has always believed in offering its farmers as much support at all levels and for as many dairy-related issues as possible.
The latest has been the setting up of a Sunshine Coast Subtropical Dairy Group, ranging from Caboolture to Sexton.
Executive officer Dr Brad Granzin said subtropical dairy groups were being or had been established in six zones in the state.
“The aim is to create base-up rather than top-down research,” he said. “The dairy industry has changed dramatically, even in the last decade, and the industry wants to make sure that research results hit the ground where it is needed.”
Dr Granzin said each group could suggest projects for their area and funding was capped at $5000 but could be augmented by co-operation with other research bodies.
The group was told that in a bit more than a decade the number of dairy extension officers in the state had declined from 40 to two.
He said even though farmer numbers had also dropped, it was obvious getting information onto the farm was hard. The group discussed the problems of getting the latest research information to the farm level.
One farmer mentioned that in his case it took a few years before adoption and that he waited to see if others did it and how that went.
It was stated that many farmers are merely going through the motions and not interested in spending time, money or effort.
Moy Pocket dairy farmer Matthew Trace offered some suggestions of suitable issues for further local research.
“Any time you talk dairy, cattle ticks are a major topic,” he said. “There is an increasing problem in getting results using registered products.”
He said he would like to see trials done on different products that could be used on dairy cattle.
Other issues raised included heat stress and ways to reduce it, feed additives for better food conversion in high temperatures, the use of tropical pasture grasses, and farm succession planning.
Dr Granzin said genomic research had given higher producing animals and pasture management research had reduced feed costs.
A suggestion regarding the sharing of specialised farm equipment was also discussed as a way of reducing capital costs.
To help run the local group Matthew Trace was elected chairman, with Kandanga dairyfarmer Natalie Wheeler as deputy.
WORKING TOGETHER: Matthew Trace, of Moy Pocket, group secretary Kylie Dennis, from Dairy Australia, and Natalie Wheeler, of Kandanga.