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NSW young farmers unite to improve proficiency

Young dairy farmers from across the NSW Mid North Coast have been broadening their horizons to improve their farm business skills and spread the Legendairy message to the city.

The 40 farmers, service providers and young farmers came together to participate in a Dairy Discussion Group tour to the South Coast of NSW. The group visited 10 dairy farms, ranging from large scale total mixed ration systems and pasture based systems to a robotic milking system.

The tour originated from the Taree Dairy Discussion Group, which had successfully connected more than 80 farmers for bimonthly meetings to discuss seasonal conditions and topics they choose themselves. 

The NSW Young Dairy Network had a strong presence on the tour with Hunter Local Land Services sponsoring seven young farmers; Abbey Smeets, Sophie Burns, Adam Cooke, Kate Forbes, Tim Wilson, David Brown and Brendon Pearce. 

“It was a great opportunity to broaden horizons and improve farm business management skills by seeing how differently each farm operates and learning from one another,” NSW Young Dairy Network Coordinator Sam Nicholson said.

“Having local groups where ideas, experience and knowledge is shared is a fantastic way of driving change,” he said.

The group also got to fly the Legendairy banner with the Sydney Harbour Bridge in the backdrop to raise the profile of the industry.

“It was great to see the group fly the Legendairy flag in the city as this is where much of our milk is consumed,” Sam said.

“It’s important that we continue to educate consumers about the amount of dedication and passion that goes into every litre of fresh milk that leaves the farm so Australians will continue to encourage people to buy dairy and support their local dairy farming families.”

There are a wide range of technologies available to dairy farmers and the tour was a great way for farmers to learn about them. Farm employee Kate Forbes from Gloucester said she really enjoyed visiting the different farms. 

“Listening to the farmer talk about how he got to where he is today, and the day-to-day farming practices he implements, in particular, calf rearing and staff management was great,” Kate said.

“Robotic milking, automatic teat sprayers and monitors for heat detection; these technologies will only improve over time and are definitely something to consider for the future.”

Sophie Burns, who farms with her partner Adam Cooke at Pampoolah, said: “It’s given me some good ideas to apply to our farm. One of our main goals is to build a calf shed to give our calves the best possible start. We’ll also be focusing more on breeding lines and breeding better cows. 

“We’ve already done a succession plan for the next three years and five to 10 years,” she said.

The NSW Young Dairy Network hopes to seek more funding and support for young people to enter the industry as the capital costs can be a significant barrier. 

“There are a great number of young people working in the industry or wanting to get into the industry, which inspires me to connect with them and provide them with opportunities like this tour, and other workshops and networks,” Sam Nicholson said. 

For more information about up and coming YDN events in the NSW Mid Coast region and how to be involved contact YDN coordinator Sam Nicholson on 0427666709 or go to the Facebook page