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NZ dairy tour opens Rhiannon’s eyes

THE Australian dairy industry could benefit from the management structures employed by dairy farms in New Zealand, according to a young South Gippslander.
Rhiannon Parry of Wonthaggi North took part in a New Zealand Study Tour organised by the United Dairyfarmers of Victoria (UDV) and funded by the Gardiner Dairy Foundation.
The dairy farmer was impressed by the management structures on Kiwi farms that gives a defined pathway from entry level to management positions.
“School leavers start as apprentices and then move up to general farm hand, then second in charge and then manager, and then you can own your own farm,” Ms Parry said.
“It’s something that should be in place here because I find the younger generation here think they can go straight out of school and into management. Some farms do it (ladder structure) but it’s more of the corporate farms.”
Ms Parry found Kiwis do not focus on genetics as much as Australians think they do, but noted the New Zealand farmers concentrate on milk solids instead of volume, as is typically the way in Australia.
“It’s the quality they focus on, rather than the quantity of it,” she said.
“They’re a lot more technologically advanced than we are here. Their dairy farms are relatively new because it was all sheep grazing in previous years. They do like their robotics and they like to have large scale dairies.”
Ms Parry said the tour provided into insight into where the Australian industry could be headed, with more technology, large scale operations and even greater concern for biosecurity.
Corporate farms are more prolific in New Zealand given land is expensive. The country’s consistently high rainfall enables grass to be produced year round to give reliable milk production.
The tour took in the South Island of New Zealand, starting at Christchurch and moving to Dunedin, Invercargill and Queenstown.
Participants inspected farms from family operations to corporations and an organic property, and met sheep and beef farmers, and representatives from Dairy New Zealand and the Federated Farmers of New Zealand.
Ms Parry and her partner Cameron Schellekens run his family’s dairy farm.
“When we took over the farm, I did not know a lot about the industry. I wanted to learn as much as I could as quickly as possible,” Ms Parry said.
“I also wanted to try to bring home new farm practices we might be able to implement.”
Ms Parry also works part-time with herd recording and genetics cooperative HICO in customer service.

Educational trip: Rhiannon Parry of Wonthaggi North inspects dairy cattle feeding outside Invercargill, New Zealand, during the international tour.

Short URL: http://thestar.com.au/?p=24954

Posted by on May 22 2018. Filed under Rural News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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