By Kirra Grimes
THE future of South Gippsland’s dairy industry is looking bright, with the next generation of farmers embracing opportunities to boost their knowledge with the help of industry experts.
A large group of young farmers met with local industry leaders and service providers at Fish Creek recently for a timely discussion on all things heat detection, with Tarwin Veterinary Group’s Peter DeGaris detailing how to spot the signs to maximise conception rates, HiCo’s Rhiannon Parry breaking down the benefits of heat detection aids, and Bena-based dairy farmer Bruce Glasgow explaining his successful implementation an automated system.
The event was organised by Dairy Australia as part of its Young Dairy Network (YDN) initiative, which aims to develop young farmers’ knowledge and skills, provide leadership opportunities and build networks.
Greg Pate of Mirboo North, Kal Young of Leongatha and Danielle Tiziani of Toora regularly attend YDN events in Gippsland, and said they appreciated the social aspect as much as the information shared.
“It’s good to meet with like-minded people that have the same questions or problems or answers. We’re all in the same generation too, so whether you’re a uni student or an apprentice, you’re all in the same boat,” said Kal.
Danielle, a 20-year-old share farmer with ambitions to own her own farm one day said the events were always “eye opening” experiences.
“They’re awesome for young farmers because we need to know all these things before we move on and get more into the farming industry.
“I grew up on a farm but heat detection, for example, has changed so much in the past 20 years, so you can learn a lot at these sorts of events.”
Despite being well-versed in its many challenges, including feed shortages and inconsistent milk pricing, there was no shortage of passion for the dairy industry among the young group, with the lifestyle being the number one attraction, and one they hoped would entice more young people to consider careers in agriculture.
“Every day, you’re outside. If I was stuck in an office, I would hate life!” said Danielle.
“And we all have a passion for animals, so getting a calf and then seeing it come through and being in a herd and going through that journey and seeing that cow being productive, it’s certainly rewarding seeing that side of it,” said Greg.
“And then just seeing the growth side of the business too. If you’re trying to go out there by yourself share farming, getting assets behind you, it’s certainly a long journey, but being able to build and improve year on year, that side of it is a great bonus.”
Bruce Glasgow was happy to contribute to the heat detection event, praising the Young Dairy Network for providing opportunities for young farmers to upskill themselves on topics that might not be covered in other training courses such as at TAFE.
“Being young farmers, I almost feel obligated to share my knowledge and experiences because without them, there’s not much future for the industry,” he said.
Anyone involved in the dairy industry and aged 18 to 40 is encouraged to join the Young Dairy Network. Keep an eye on the Facebook page ‘YDN Gippsland’ for details of upcoming events.