Home' The Great Southern Star : May 31st 2016 Contents “THE STAR”, Tuesday, May 31, 2016 - PAGE 37
By Stuart Biggins
GIPPSDAIRY regional manager Allan
Cameron spoke to a large gathering of
farmers at the Meeniyan Bowling Club
last Thursday in the wake of the milk
Farmers received practical advice to prepare
for tough times, at the Dairy Australia Tactics for
Tight Times event.
Mr Cameron said for every million dollars
that passes through the farm gate, five jobs were
Gippsland based John Mulvany from Onfarm
Consulting said he has been obsessed with fore-
casting the price of milk since April 27 but said,
“It is hot air to think that you will know the price
of milk in 12 months’ time.”
He spoke of there being significant pasture
deficiencies across South Gippsland and reported
many farms struggling to grow grass with soil
suffering from a hot and dry summer. Mr Mul-
vany said this was despite the rain in the last few
weeks and the warmth leading grass to grow at
Given many farms are struggling to grow
grass, Mr Mulvany said this is the year for farm-
ers to really hone their pasture skills.
“Review herbicides and look for cheaper op-
tions,” he said.
NAB agribusiness consultant Brian Gannon
said farmers were finding it hard to plan finan-
cially beyond the next season because banks do
not know what the price of milk will be.
He said farmers need to be well prepared and
the two most important steps they can take are to
have a plan, and to come forward and ask for as-
sistance and advice.
“It is all about decision making and coming
up with a plan for your farm for the bank to sup-
port,” Mr Gannon said.
“It is crucial that people communicate with
their banks about what is happening on the
Mr Gannon said cash flow can be generated
by clearing out machinery that hasn’t been used
“Farmers need to ask themselves if the asset is
really needed,” Mr Gannon said.
“It is surprising how much cash can be gener-
The audience was also told to thoroughly re-
view their insurance cover and Mr Gannon said
savings can often be found there too, including
equipment and machinery that is no longer used,
yet still insured.
In an attempt to shed some light on grain
prices softening, David Huggins, an agent with
Ridley, in Warragul said, “The world is flush with
cereal and corn. Normally China takes our sor-
ghum but they have pulled out, making a soften-
ing of prices a certainty.”
Cost savings can be found all over the farm
and veterinary surgeon Peter De Garis said, “It is
surprising how many cows are treated for mastitis
which don’t need treating. It can be a complete
waste of time.”
He pressed farmers to make informed deci-
sions and potentially save thousands of dollars.
Damian Murphy from the UDV, who hosted
the Look Over the Farm Gate program, spoke
about farmers’ mental health.
He said the object of Look Over the Farm
Gate was, “to get people off their farms into a
social occasion where they chat and share infor-
He said a lot of farms were struggling and
there is a tendency for a given farmer to think he
was the only one facing a tough time.
“There are always options,” he said.
Rural Financial Counselling Service counsel-
lor Anne Gilligan said, “We are going into a lot
harder years and farmers need to really focus on
Concern: GippsDairy regional manager Al-
lan Cameron assembled a range of experts
with information to help dairy farmers facing
a tough period ahead, at an informal dinner at
the Meeniyan Bowling Club last Thursday.
Offering direction: from left, GippsDairy chairman Graeme Nicoll at the Meeniyan Tight
Times event with Ridley’s David Huggins and Korumburra dairy farmer Michelle Axford.
Farmers prepare for hard times
how they will get through.”
South Gippsland Shire Council community
strengthening coordinator Ned Dennis told the
gathering farmers were not alone.
“Every day the shire receives calls from people
wanting to know how they can help,” he said.
He said council would act as a coordinator
for community activities happening to support
Mr Dennis asked people with ideas to contact
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