Pro­grams avail­able to as­sist in tough times

Warragul & Drouin Gazette - - FARM SCENE -

Gipp­s­land dairy farm­ers fac­ing tough sea­sonal con­di­tions can ac­cess pro­grams and in­for­ma­tion to as­sist them over com­ing months.

Dairy Aus­tralia and Gipp­sDairy have been co-or­di­nat­ing ac­tiv­i­ties rang­ing from a com­pre­hen­sive tech­ni­cal book­let to com­mu­nity events and the rein­tro­duc­tion of Tak­ing Stock one-on-one con­sul­ta­tions.

Dry con­di­tions and el­e­vated feed prices will con­tinue to im­pact Gipp­s­land farm­ers for at least 12 to 18 months, ac­cord­ing to Dairy Aus­tralia chair Jeff Odgers.

Cur­rently, more than 40 per cent of dairy farms are lo­cated in drought af­fected re­gions, with more than 2000 dairy farms af­fected across New South Wales, Queens­land, Mur­ray and East Gipp­s­land.

A dairy farmer him­self, Mr Odgers un­der­stands that the dairy in­dus­try is fac­ing tough con­di­tions and is com­mit­ted to sup­port­ing farm­ers to ready them­selves to achieve the best pos­si­ble out­comes over the next year.

“The dairy in­dus­try is fac­ing sub­stan­tial chal­lenges around feed sup­ply and costs.

“We un­der­stand this at Dairy Aus­tralia, and it is our num­ber one pri­or­ity to de­liver lo­calised pro­grams, in a con­certed ef­fort to as­sist with plan­ning and to help max­imise spring and home grown feed.

“Typ­i­cally, farm­ers will grow the bulk of their an­nual feed sup­ply in spring, but for many dairy farm­ers, no­tably those along Aus­tralia’s east coast, it will be tough to achieve the growth re­quired and farm­ers will need to con­sider feed pur­chases to ad­dress the gap.

“Our ma­jor con­cern is that we have seen ris­ing feed costs heav­ily im­pact­ing farm­ers’ cash flow and ac­cess to feed, par­tic­u­larly fi­bre, is be­com­ing much harder.

“This means as dairy farm­ers try to hold core herd num­bers to­gether, they’re more ex­posed to the in­flated feed costs we’re see­ing across Aus­tralia.

Mr Odgers said it was vi­tal to con­tinue to plan ahead to se­cure suf­fi­cient fi­bre, to set our­selves up for the year ahead.”

Dairy Aus­tralia’s Hay and Grain Re­port high­lights the re­al­ity of the ris­ing feed prices across the coun­try.

The lat­est re­port in­di­cated hay prices in the Gipp­s­land re­gion had dou­bled since Jan­uary, to over $480/tonne (ex­clud­ing GST).

Grain prices in Gipp­s­land also have in­creased al­most 50 per cent since Jan­uary.

“Dairy Aus­tralia has a piv­otal role to play at the cen­tre of the re­sponse to the dry con­di­tions.

“Through the na­tional avail­abil­ity of Tak­ing Stock one-on-one con­sul­ta­tions, tech­ni­cal in­for­ma­tion, dis­cus­sion groups and lo­calised ex­ten­sion and sup­port from Gipp­sDairy we want to en­sure farm­ers un­der­stand their lo­cal sit­u­a­tion, are pre­pared to be proac­tive with their plan­ning and act quickly.”

Gipp­sDairy is de­liv­er­ing on the ground lo­calised sup­port through a range of ac­tiv­i­ties, with a fo­cus on plan­ning through the com­ing months to make the most of avail­able feed and pro­vid­ing func­tions to help farm­ers stay con­nected.

“As an in­dus­try, we feel strong sup­port from the Aus­tralian pub­lic and from within the dairy com­mu­nity, and for that rea­son we mustn’t lose sight of en­deav­our­ing to nav­i­gate through the com­ing months in the best pos­si­ble way.

“We’ve proven we’re re­silient and we need to con­tinue to sup­port one an­other, and keep per­spec­tive of the in­dus­try’s fu­ture,” Mr Odgers said.

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