Home' The Great Southern Star : November 22nd 2016 Contents “THE STAR” Tuesday, November 22, 2016 - PAGE 33
ing and what’s happening,” Simon said.
“The question everyone asks about once a day milk-
ing is can you make a dollar doing it?”
For Simon, the answer is yes, but it’s a different way
of making money than most dairy farmers are used to.
“You can get more cows in calf, so what’s the cost
of not having to have so many replacements? 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,” Simon said.
“We had heard that you might drop 30 percent in
milk and about 20 percent in solids but I would say its
more towards the 30 percent 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
“You also have to remember that with once a day
you don’t have the same level of inputs. With twice a
day were 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
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,”
“I’m there at dinner time every night. And even not
having to manage so many people reduces time and
“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 chil-
dren and have an assessment of where we want to go.”
The interest in the topic was best illustrated by dairy
farmers Matt and Mario Demase, who travelled 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
“It sounds a lot better than twice a day,” he said.
Opening doors: GippsDairy regional
extension officer Louise Sundermann (right)
speaks to the big crowd at the Yannathan
Once a day milking sparks interest
Learning lots: Ranceby dairy farmers Fabian
and Rachael Apps were among the many
people who wanted to find out more about
once a day milking at the Yannathan event.
THE opportunity for a close-up look at
a once a day milking operation attracted
farmers from across Gippsland and Vic-
toria to Yannathan last Thursday.
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.
Around 40 people turned out in bright sunshine to
delve into the finances of a business model that had
obvious attractions to every farmer who spends every
morning and evening in the dairy shed.
With around 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 do-
By Dr Jeff Cave,
district veterinary officer
DO you have a farm rubbish tip or a shed
with forgotten unlabelled products?
Land managers need to be aware this forgotten rub-
bish could be toxic to their livestock.
Something as simple as a discarded lead battery
could lead to the death of livestock and the contamina-
tion of others.
Cattle in particular are skilful at discovering rubbish
that can result in lead poisoning, so always check before
releasing stock into new areas. Prevent situations that
permit cattle to lick or digest material such as old batter-
ies, flaking lead paint or sump oil.
Often the first sign of lead poisoning is finding dead
livestock. When lead affected animals are observed they
show signs of central nervous system damage such as
blindness and unresponsiveness.
Prevention is always better than cure, therefore the
removal of all possible sources of lead is essential. How-
ever, this doesn’t help livestock that are clinically af-
fected, for whom the prognosis is dire.
Livestock that have been exposed to lead must not
be slaughtered for human consumption until it is con-
firmed they comply with meat food standards.
This can involve costly testing and a considerable
period of slaughter restrictions as unacceptable lead lev-
els can persist for many months.
While checking for lead poisoning hazards, consider
other potential livestock poisoning risks.
Ensuring that stock remain isolated from these haz-
ards will reduce the risk of loss from accidental poison-
ings as well as keeping them contaminant free.
For further advice contact your local veterinarian or
Agriculture Victoria veterinary or animal health officer.
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