Once-a-day milking sparks interest

21 Nov, 2016 02:15 PM
Comments
0
 
It doesn’t generate as much cash but we’ve grown more assets...

The opportunity for a close-up look at a once-a-day milking operation attracted farmers from across Gippsland and Victoria to Yannathan last week.

The Young Dairy Network/GippsDairy event was held at Simon and Lauren Finger’s Yannathan property, which is one of three once-a-day operations that are part of their farm business.

About 40 people turned out in bright sunshine to delve into the finances of a business model that has obvious attractions to every farmer who spends every morning and evening in the dairy shed.

With about 650 cows spread over three farms, the Fingers had plenty of knowledge to share on the pros and cons of once-a-day milking.

“People are definitely interested in what we are doing and what’s happening,” Mr Finger said.

The question everyone asks about once-a-day milking is ‘can you make a dollar doing it?’ For Mr Finger, the answer is yes, but it’s a different way of making money than to which most dairyfarmers are used.

“You can get more cows in calf, so what’s the cost of not having to have so many replacements?" he said.

"We’ve also had a lot more livestock gain, so how do you put a value on having extra animals?

“And there’s the sustainability aspect where we don’t have to cull so many cows, we never use peak power for cooling and use half as many chemicals.

“It doesn’t generate as much cash but we’ve grown more assets, we’ve got more livestock gain and that sort of thing. So some of the extra income we’ve gained has gone into growing more young livestock.”

Other considerations have been better use of land area, lower labour costs and reduced input levels that help offset the inevitable drop in production.

“There definitely is a production difference and it’s probably a little bit more than I expected,” Mr Finger said.

“We had heard that you might drop 30 percent in milk and about 20 per cent in solids but I would say it’s more towards the 30 per cent in solids.

“But saying that, it was a particularly challenging season last year and we feel there is a lot of room for improvement as both people and cows get used to the new system.

“You also have to remember that with once-a-day you don’t have the same level of inputs. With twice-a-day we’re feeding up to two tonnes, whereas we’d be lucky to feed 400 kilos to half a tonne now.”

Of course, the other big question around once-a-day milking is how much does it improve the lifestyle of dairyfarmers?

For Simon and Lauren – and their three children – the answer can be seen at the dinner table each night.

“It’s funny because the oldest says ‘gee you do a lot of milking Dad’ but compared to what I was doing when he was younger, he sees a lot more of me now,” he said.

“I’m there at dinner time every night. And even not having to manage so many people reduces time and stress.

“Our business has been going for 10 years and we’ve gone pretty hard at it, so this has given us time to have a bit of a breather, spend more time with the children and have an assessment of where we want to go.”

The interest in the topic was best illustrated by dairyfarmers Matt and Mario Demase, who travelled down from Katandra in the Goulburn Valley to learn more about the milking system.

“It’s not done very much back at home, so we thought we’d like to get someone’s view on why they are doing it,” Matt said.

Mario’s explanation of why they there was even simpler: "It sounds a lot better than twice-a-day."

Page:
1
GippsDairy

POST A COMMENT


Screen name *
Email address *
Remember me?
Comment *
 
Sorghum and maize can each play a part in providing home-grown feed on dairy farms but farmers need to carefully prepare and follow a plan to obtain the most value from these crops.16 Oct 17 Sorghum and maize can each play a part in providing home-grown feed on dairy farms but farmers need to carefully...
Several new additions to the baled silage marketplace will reduce bale spoilage and the number of decomposing bales that can leak effluent into the soil and water tables close to the ground surface. 
27 Sep 17 Several new additions to the baled silage marketplace will reduce bale spoilage and the number of decomposing bales...
light grey arrow
Dear , Our silage films also can reach 55% stretch, would you like to test ? it's also very
light grey arrow
Aus lucerne export to China. how about Aust. dairy farmers? Them don't need any lucerne.Do they?
light grey arrow
The Seralini study showing long term ingestion of GE corn is dangerous to health. This study was
Dairyfarmers are reminded that chemicals used on farms, including those used to clean and sanitise the plant and milk vats, must be registered with the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA).
20 Sep 17 Dairyfarmers are reminded that chemicals used on farms, including those used to clean and sanitise the plant and...
When Victorian dairyfarmer Lauren Finger's father said he had an idea, little did she know how much of an impact his invention would improve her on-farm productivity and safety.
05 Sep 17 When Victorian dairyfarmer Lauren Finger's father said he had an idea, little did she know how much of an impact his...
Australian farm chemical manufacturer Nufarm has repaired its balance sheet and is now hunting for acquisition opportunities.25 Sep 16 Australian farm chemical manufacturer Nufarm has repaired its balance sheet and is now hunting for acquisition...
Monopoly market may confront cropping sector under mega-merger proposal.22 Sep 16 Monopoly market may confront cropping sector under mega-merger proposal.