Home' Yarram Standard : September 21st 2016 Contents “THE YARRAM STANDARD” Wednesday, September 21, 2016 - PAG E 3
Milk price lift
SPRING is looking promising for the region’s farmers,
while recovery in global dairy markets is buoying the
Murray Goulburn offered its first step up of the season last
The cooperative lifted its price by 15 cents per kilogram of milk
solids last Tuesday, September 13, to $4.46kg/MS, after the appli-
cation of the milk supply support package payment.
MG’s price remained below its competitors Fonterra at $4.75kg/
MS, Bega at $5kg/MS and Warrnambool Cheese and Butter at
MG’s interim chief executive officer David Mallinson said,
“While international dairy markets have improved recently, they
remain below historical average levels.”
“Recent signs of recovery have come as global milk supply
slows year-on-year,” he said.
Agnes dairy farmer and Fonterra supplier Wendy Whelan said
while her milk price was below cost of production, a strong spring
season was encouraging.
“We have had good grass growth here, although it did slow
down a bit last week. Late winter and early spring have been good,”
“We need a couple of sunny days now to help the grass take off
Ms Whelan said she is looking forward to a decent silage sea-
son, after she was only able to cut around 50 per cent of her usual
yield in 2015.
“There is plenty more grass now compared to this time last year.
At the moment I am trying to minimise damage to the paddocks so
I can cut them for silage,” she said.
“The silage could be a bit later this year, but as long as it keeps
growing I’ll be happy.”
Inverloch agricultural contractor Tony McGarvey said good rain
in the early part of September and any rain going forward, would be
beneficial for silage making and the season ahead.
“It certainly looks better than this time last year, now we have
had this rain. It is shaping up to be a much needed season for si-
lage,” he said.
“We need it to be substantially better than last year. It was very
ordinary. Recent rain will give us a good start.”
Mr McGarvey said he has already made 300 round bales of si-
lage this season, which is quite early.
Tim Burgess, general manager of Gendore Tractors and Ma-
chinery in Leongatha, said while sales had been slower compared
to previous years at the Leongatha dealership, he remained optimis-
tic about the season ahead.
“The season is shaping up well. What would probably be good
is 10 days of sunshine and then in a fortnight’s time, get another
25mm of rain, just to get a bit of growth,” he said.
Mr Burgess said South Gippsland was hit particularly hard by
last year’s drought.
“East Gippsland had a good season last year and West Gippsland
was bad but not as bad as South Gippsland was,” he said.
“Everyone bought in hay and now they’ve got to make as much
as they can.”
Project secretary for South Gippsland Dairy Expo Deanne Ken-
nedy, said sites were still be adding to this year’s expo – to be held
at Korumburra next week – to accommodate exhibitors.
She said the expo was at capacity and was shaping up to be a
“We are expecting good crowds this year and with free entry, we
are hoping that will encourage farmers to come along,” she said.
Greener pasture: Agnes dairy farmer Wendy Whelan is
buoyed by the prospects of a decent spring and is hoping to
get a higher than average cut of silage this year.
PAUL and Lisa Mumford from
Won Wron are putting their dairy
farm under the microscope for the
next two years, as part of the Dairy
Australia/GippsDairy focus farm
Milking around 400 jersey cows off 193
hectares, the Murray Goulburn suppliers
cited a number of reasons they why wanted
to become focus farmers.
“We have a challenging farm here. It
has many soil types and is a combination of
hill and flat country,” Paul said.
“Our farm manager Damien Becker is
reasonably new into the industry so the fo-
cus farm will be a learning pathway for him
as well as for us.”
After a tough 2015-16 season in which
their farm lost a “significant amount of
money”, Paul said he is keen to see the
operation of their farm become more effi-
“Practically all of our fodder was
brought in, coupled with the milk price
crash, it was a very challenging season,”
“We are trying to play catch up in a very
tight margin year. Our current farm budget
should break even in around March next
year, if the milk price doesn’t change.
“It will be a tight period between now
Other issues the Mumford’s would like
to investigate over the two years include
profitability and evaluating the true cost of
production, the genetic merit of their herd
and pasture management.
“We have a 100 percent jersey herd,
which is ranked ninth in Australia. We want
to know if there is value in the genetic merit
of the herd,” Paul said.
“Can we quantify it and does it translate
to money in our pockets.
“I don’t put a lot of emphasis on the
herd’s rank, I prefer to breed the right cow
for my farm.”
Another of the Mumford’s key goals is
to learn more about kikuyu management.
“It limits our grass production in the
colder months and because we have a split
calving herd, it has a large impact on feed
for our winter milkers,” Paul said.
“There are benefits to kikuyu, but we
want to learn how best to manage it and
to keep it out of our most productive pas-
The focus farm program provides the
Mumford’s with a farm facilitator, who co-
ordinates the support group, which is made
up of around 24 farmers.
Lisa said their farm’s support group
includes a number of the regions younger
“It will be a learning curve for them as
well. There are quite a few younger farm-
ers in this area and we thought they would
benefit from it,” she said.
The group also includes an agronomist
and a nutritionist.
The focus farm will look at all aspects
of the Mumford’s operation, which they are
prepared to lay out fully for the group.
“Hopefully we enjoy it. We plan to put
everything on the table and be completely
open and transparent and hopefully move
it forward and start making a profit again,”
“We just need to tweak the business
and try to extrapolate some profit, it is a
challenging year, but there are ways to ma-
nipulate the operation to gain the biggest
Lisa said it will also be good to be
among other dairy farmers who are going
through a similar situation.
“You begin to feel better when you rea-
lise you are not alone,” she said.
Spotlight on: Won Wron dairy farmers Paul and Lisa Mumford want to use their time as focus farmers to improve the opera-
tion of their farm, as well as to develop the next generation of dairy farmers in the district.
Moo too: some of the Mumford’s 400 jersey cows enjoying the spring grass
at Won Wron.
Opening up their dairy business
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