New sub­trop­i­cal dairy group

NewsMail - Wide Bay Rural Weekly - - FRONT PAGE - Peter and Bevly Hughes

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.

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

WORK­ING TO­GETHER: Matthew Trace, of Moy Pocket, group sec­re­tary Kylie Dennis, from Dairy Aus­tralia, and Natalie Wheeler, of Kan­danga.

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