AS MUCH a part of the end of each year in South Gippsland as Christmas, Mark Dowling’s famous wall of silage has gone up at Berrys Creek in the past few weeks.
And all that remains now is for this year’s theme.
As you might expect, with many of the nation’s farmers facing their worst drought in decades, Mark’ message comes from close to home.
“We’ve been pretty lucky with the weather down here. We look like we’ll get our 2000 bales of silage,” he said.
“Four per cow is our benchmark, but there are plenty of other areas where they’re really doing it tough.
“I’m thinking of putting up something like: ‘Without farmers, you’d be hungry, naked and sober!” That should do the trick.”
There might be a surprise message or two with both sides of the huge black wall to be painted.
One year Mark even pitched for a girlfriend but the b-side this year might simply be something festive.
“We start feeding the silage out when all the green grass is gone and it really helps extend the milk production. It’s sweet tasting and the cows really go for it.”
The Dowling family milk 500 cows at their rotary dairy right on the Strzelecki Highway at Berrys Creek and so far, production levels have been good.
Industry sources say income from improved milk prices and good seasonal conditions in South Gippsland has been good but after three to four difficult years, many are simply using the improved income to pay down debt and compensate for what have been a number of seasons in the red.
“We’ve still got 30 or so bales to put in the stack but it’s basically finished,” said Mark.
“It’s a bit of fun and everyone talks to me about it which is good.”
Take a look as you drive between Leongatha and Mirboo North this year and while you’re doing it, give a bit of credit to the farmers who feed us, cloth us and, yes, quench our thirst.
Great Berrys Creek Wall brings good tidings