Gippsland dairy farmers couldn’t do anything about the lack of spring and summer rain, but they embraced the chance to develop strategies for coping with the tough season.
The response to the Tactics for Dry Times sessions, which were held across Gippsland during November and December, showed farmers were looking for every advantage they could find in dealing with the dry conditions.
Tactics for Dry Times, which is a Dairy Australia/GippsDairy initiative funded by the dairy service levy, was facilitated by Matt Harms, who said farmers across the drier parts of the region were all facing similar issues.
``The universal message was to make a decision and make it early. Hopefully it’s the right decision, but having no decision at all would be a disaster,’’ he said.
``It was about planning and organising the feed that you need, so that you have it on-farm or have it locked in, so it can’t be sold from underneath you.
``The reality is, whether we get an early autumn break or it’s slightly late, the length of feeding period is going to be anywhere between four months and six months.’’
The Tactics for Dry Times sessions were hosted at the farms of Lachie and Vicki McLeod at Calrossie (near Yarram), Rob and Jenni Marshall at Lardner, Warren and Kerrie Redmond at Inverloch, and Mick and Sarah O’Brien at Denison.
GippsDairy regional manager Allan Cameron thanked the host farmers and all of those who contributed to the events.
``We not only had the host farmers going out of their way to help out, but we had plenty of their neighbours putting their hands up to speak or answer questions about how they are tackling the current situation,’’ he said.
``It once again shows how this industry sticks together and shares knowledge and experience to help get through tough times like the current season.’’
The Young Dairy Network held off-farm Dry Times events, while farmer discussion groups have also evolved from the initiative.
GippsDairy will continue to monitor the season and roll out further Tactics for Dry Times events as needed. Anyone who would like a session held in their area is asked to phone John Gallienne on 0407 863 493 or GippsDairy on 5624 3900.