AROUND 160 farmers and service providers attended a field day run by Debenham Australia at the Hibma and Vera dairy farm in Denison last Tuesday.
This was the fourth in a series of best practice field days organised by the company in recent years.
The vision of the Hibma and Vera dairy farm which was purchased in 2013 and established from scratch was shared with the attendees on the day.
Andrew Debenham from Debenham Australia said Ronnie and Julia Hibma demonstrated a thorough understanding of the key parameters that drives their dairy business.
“Ronnie indicated over the next two years, he would like to build the dairy pastures to a consumption of 13.5 tonnes per hectare,” he said.
“This would mean less reliance on brought in fodder.”
Ronnie said for each tonne of dry matter consumed, he is achieving 100kg of milk solids. In the last 12 months, the farm has produced around 561kgMS per cow.
Mr Debenham said the Hibmas aim to produce 1.1kgMS per kilogram of live weight.
“They are constantly striving for a 15 per cent return on assets for new investments for the farm,” he said.
“In 2014/15, Ronnie calculated that with 9.5 tonnes per hectare consumed, the all in cost of the pasture was $354 per tonne.”
Similarly the anticipated cost for 2016/17 with 13.5 tonnes consumed is $267 per tonne, which includes wastage and represents a return of six per cent from the investment.
First time sharefarmers Max and Tameeka Vera spoke about their positive relationship with Ronnie and Julia Hibma.
Max Vera said they experienced many challenges in the first two years, including the purchase of 300 autumn calving cows, which had an extremely wide calving interval.
“The cost of feed was also much higher than they anticipated,” he said.
“This year we have the first batch of heifers into the herd, which are well grown out and will really add to the productivity of the herd.”
Ronnie Hibma said they are aiming to have 70 per cent permanent pasture and 30 per cent crop, all under irrigation.
“In addition to the pasture and crops, the cows are fed from a ration in the shed and also via a feed pad,” he said.
Matt Harms from On Farm Consultants spoke about the financial returns on the farm which clearly showed improved returns as development work on the farm is completed and the extra grass on the farm becomes available over the next 2 years.
Helen Quinn from Dairy Australia introduced the new Dairy Australia, Dairy Base Farm Financial Assessment package which is now available for all dairy farmers to use to bench mark their financial performance.
Donna Woerz from Debensam Australia defined the challenges of the very wide calving pattern and how through improved nutrition and other factors, the calving pattern has now been tightened to a split autumn spring calving,” she said.
“Production of 561kgMS per cow has been achieved despite many carry over cows in the herd.”
She also said it is a real credit to the Hibma and Vera families that they have achieved such great results from what was a challenging situation just over two seasons ago when the farm was purchased.
Sean Starling from SCOTT Technology (NZ) also spoke about their retrofit robotic cups on how it is progressing towards possible commercial use in Australian dairying.