By Shelby Brooks
SOUTH Gippsland Dairy has been nominated for two 2020 Excellence in Agribusiness Awards.
Based in Korumburra, the business is run by husband and wife team Neil and Shelley Walker who produce premium colostrum products for human consumption.
As one of 34 finalists in the Food and Fibre Gippsland-run awards, South Gippsland Dairy has been nominated in the Excellence in Research and Development and Excellence in Entrepreneurship categories.
Three other Gippsland entrepreneurs were shortlisted as finalists in the 2020 Excellence in Agribusiness Awards: Berry Sensation in Shady Creek, Burra Brewing in Korumburra, and Little Bumble Wraps in Warragul.
“It’s a good achievement to be nominated as a finalist in two categories,” Shelley said.
They’ve been working hard for three years.
“At times we’ve thought ‘what the hell are we doing?’ but we think it’s worth it now.”
In 2016, Neil and Shelley were looking to venture into starting their own milk label, but with the help of Campbell Evans, they decided to fill a different space in the market.
“Colostrum is produced at a low volume and is high value. It’s less work than starting your own milk label,” Shelley said.
Campbell, who has 25 years’ experience as a dairy process engineer, and his wife Krista were onboard, and the company had their first product by September 2019.
“We’re different from what other colostrum producers are doing in the world,” Shelley said.
Cows are milked at the home farm in Korumburra, the milk is then sent to the processing plant in Leongatha.
“The main role of colostrum is to provide immunity – that’s the purpose of the cow grazing, to pick up bugs when pregnant,” Shelley said.
“Therefore, the calf gets that immune boosting elements when they drink.”
South Gippsland Dairy sell colostrum capsules, chewable tablets, powder and soap online from their website and local health food stores.
They also produce low lactose powder and tablets, which is only done here and in Switzerland.
“At the moment, we’re only delivering reasonably small runs at a time,” Shelley said.
“Hopefully one day we will grow but baby steps.
“We don’t want to run out of supply. We have to keep ahead of the game- colostrum is seasonal so we always need some in frozen storage.”