Terang, Victoria, farmer Paul Moloney is showing his faith in the dairy industry by giving the former DemoDairy site at Terang a new lease of life as a stand-alone dairy farm.
Third-generation dairyfarmer Paul Moloney bought the property earlier this year and has started a five-year regeneration plan.
DemoDairy was established in the early 1990s as a research and demonstration farm but its role in the industry changed as on-farm research projects were phased out, and demonstration activities were largely replaced by focus farms, leading the DemoDairy board to sell the property.
The dairy hadn’t been used for 18 months and many paddocks were run down.
While Mr Moloney said reviving the farm would be a challenge, but he was confident he could make it work.
The 161-hectare property on the Princes Highway backs on to Mr Moloney’s existing farm.
The Moloney family has been farming near Terang since 1948 when P.G. and Hannah Moloney bought land at the southern end of town.
The farm expanded over the years to 190 hectares and was later owned by Peter and Evelyn Moloney before Paul took over almost 10 years ago.
The new property will stand alone.
“I want this place to grow enough grass so we’re not importing anything other than grain,” Mr Moloney said.
The new enterprise will start on July 4 with 250 cows and will be run by a sharefarmer.
Mr Moloney has rebuilt the dairy and started pasture renovations.
“The first thing I did was gut the dairy and install new equipment,” he said.
“The dairy hadn’t been touched for a long time and had been deteriorating before it was shut down. I wanted to get back to basics and make it functional and easy to operate.”
It’s been a hard summer with many pastures dying and Mr Moloney had to resow about 20 paddocks that were in poor condition.
He is using mainly Italian ryegrass and also trialling vetch and oats on restored paddocks.
Mr Moloney plans to invite the South Ecklin Dairy Discussion Group, of which he’s a member, to inspect the new-look farm.
He hopes to sell the former administration and research buildings and have them relocated from the site.
He wants to reclaim the land and build a hay shed, machinery shed and calf shed.