At a time when Australia’s dairy industry has been under unprecedented pressure, dairy farmers of the NSW Mid Coast have rallied with Hunter Local Land Services (Hunter LLS) to start the innovative Mid-Coast Adaptable Dairy Farming Systems Project.
All local farmers will have an opportunity to experience first-hand the foundations that have been laid on November 22.
Aimed at building greater business and physical resilience of a local dairy business, the project is centred on the dairy operation of Pat and Louise Neal.
The Neals own and manage about 400 dairy cows on Oxley Island near Taree, NSW, producing close to 550 kilograms of milk solids per cow annually (about 7000 litres per cow) on a milking platform of about 180 hectares.
Improved business decision-making to drive profit, including greater resource efficiency to produce more milk from less costly inputs, is at the core of the project.
As part of a Strengths-Weaknesses-Opportunitie s-Threats (SWOT) process, the Neals have set themselves a number of production, financial and personal goals they hope to achieve as the farm in focus.
Victorian-based dairy business adviser, Phil Shannon, of Shannon Farm Consulting, has been called upon to facilitate the Adaptable Business Support Group meetings, which are conducted on farm every second month.
Local farmers and service providers, such as the Neals’ vet, accountant and finance advisor make-up the membership of 12.
This group discusses production and economic decisions being made or planned for the business, debating ideas and analysing likely impacts and opportunities.
While the Neals’ farm is the main focal point of the project, the broader farming community has an opportunity to apply similar thinking and learning to their own farm businesses by attending Open Days, the first of which is to be held on Tuesday, November 22, 10am to 2pm.
The meeting point for the day is the dairy, Oxley Island Rd.
As the project delves into the business opportunities and ways to exploit the current strengths, the project will also apply economic analysis process to rigorously explore the potential outcomes of actions identified to combat threats and address business weakness.
These processes will most definitely resonate with any Mid Coast dairyfarming business so it is therefore highly advisable to come along to the Open Days.
The Mid-Coast Adaptable Dairy Farming Systems Project will run for two years and has been funded by the Australian Government’s National Landcare Programme.