Tas farmers ready for better year

31 Mar, 2017 02:39 PM
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Dairy is a pillar of Tasmanian agriculture ...

The 10th annual Tasmanian Dairy Conference finished with farmers confident their sector was on the way back up after last year.

More than 180 dairyfarmers heard how others had managed their farms during the past year and listened to expert recommendations on how to increase profitability and productivity on their properties.

DairyTas regional extension officer Jacqui Hine said conference attendees enjoyed the event and found great value in networking and hearing what the speakers had to say.

“The feedback has been quite positive. Attendees said they picked up practical ideas they could implement and that the level of engagement was high,” Ms Hine said.

Primary Industries and Water minister Jeremy Rockliff spoke at the conference about the state government’s plans for the $442 million dairy industry.

“Dairy is a pillar of Tasmanian agriculture and a vital part of the Hodgman Liberal Government’s vision to increase the value of agriculture to $10 billion by 2050 – and we are on track to achieve that goal,” Mr Rockliff said.

“When dairy is turned into cheeses and other high value products its value rises to some $582 million, of which $156 million is exported around the globe.”

The government is working with farmers, researchers and agribusiness to develop the white paper: Growing Tasmanian Agriculture – Research, Development and Extension for 2050.

“We greatly value our dairy farmers, and all they contribute to Tasmania, and we will continue to work with them to ensure they have a secure future,” Mr Rockliff said.

The conference concluded with the Tasmanian Dairy Awards, which are jointly presented by the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture (TIA) and DairyTas.

Gerard, Ria and Ronnie Mulder were named 2017 Tasmanian Dairy Business of the Year for their Forest farm at the awards.

Dairy Farmer of the Year is Cody and Denieka Korpershoek; Ashgrove Farms won the Dairy Safety Award; the Dairy Environmental Award went to Nigel and Rachael Brock and Nick Midson as joint winners; and the Young Farmer Encouragement Award went to Jeffrey Gijsbers and Marcus Haywood, also joint winners.

DairyTas executive officer Mark Smith was pleased farmers had joined DairyTas programs to help improve their businesses.

“Many farmers, just like Gerard and Ria, are now finding that when they get soil and fertiliser management ‘right’, they can produce more feed at no extra cost, and with careful planning fertiliser becomes a strategic tool to be managed to the farm’s requirements and conditions,” he said.

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