Web_m023413THE core objective of the South Gippsland Dairy Expo is to put the latest in dairy technology, know-how and information on show for the local industry. And this year’s expo, on Wednesday, September 25 and Thursday, September 26 will be no different with upwards of 120 firms displaying the latest and greatest. But shaping up as a surprise feature of this year’s expo at the Korumburra Showgrounds will be the best from local and regional solar power firms.

A quantum leap forward in the efficiency of some of the higher quality solar panels together with a significant reduction in price means that the solar industry has overcome the hiccup caused by the cut to feed-in tariffs and they’re back in the game. And one of the sectors in line to benefit most is the dairy industry. With dairy farmers drawing most of their power for refrigeration during the day when the power generated from solar panels is going its hardest, solar power sellers say it’s a perfect fit. They’ve already neutralised electricity costs on dozens of dairy farms locally and at this year’s South Gippsland Dairy Expo, those dairy farmers considering a switch to solar will be able to compare the variety of systems on offer. “We were only talking about it today when we had another solar company applying for a stand,” said expo organiser Deanne Kennedy. “We’ll have a record number of solar firms represented this year which is a really interesting development.”

Of course all the usuals will be there too from firms displaying and demonstrating the latest in milk harvesting systems to stock feed firms, pasture improvement experts and all the milk companies. “It’s been a challenging time for dairy farmers in the past year or so but that hasn’t been reflected in the preparations for the expo,” said the expo’s other main organiser, John Hutchinson. “We’ve had a really enthusiastic response from the stallholders and we’ve only got a further four stands to go to reach our target. “There may be some further spots available depending on how the ground dries out but we’ll take a look at that in a week or two.” The Murray Goulburn-Reid Stockfeed Breakfast on Thursday morning will again be one of the drawcards of the expo with its dairy outlook and stockfeed price updates. Those who book early for this event will be in line for prizes in the door prize draw.

Always topical, Matt Harms of On Farm Consulting, will be right on the money again posing the right questions on the subject ‘Better Milk Prices More Profit – Or Is It?’ Farmers from across the region will give their views at 11am on Thursday. There’s been an expansion in the kids’ activity area with the addition of several jumping castles. And this year, the stockfeed companies will be to the fore in the annual hand milking competition. Of course the milk companies will also face off as usual in their annual grudge match. The South Gippsland Dairy Expo, put on by the Strzelecki Lions Club, is an event not to be missed by dairy farmers from Western Port to Won Wron.