Murray Muster 2021 wrap up

On Wednesday 26 May, more than 120 dairy farmers and service providers attended the Murray Muster at the RSL in Moama to catch up and hear from speakers on the theme “Digging Deeper.” This topic highlighted the importance of soil management to our long term business success and sustainability. See below for information on the speakers and their presentations from the day. 

Andy McAllister kicked off the day with an enlightening presentation on the changing farming landscape in the Goulburn Valley. We have all witnessed the declining number of dairy farms and the movement of irrigation water away from dairy into other agricultural industries, however it was interesting to see the extent of these changes and the implications for the dairy industry in the future.

  • Andy McAllister PresentationPDF6.41 MB

Dr Cassandra Schefe, a soil scientist with over 20 years of experience in research and working with farmers, spoke to the conference on how to optimise soil health for our farming systems. She highlighted the critical importance that soil pH plays in maintaining a healthy soil and warned of the trending acidity of our soils and the dangers to our future productivity if we continue ignoring this signal.

  • Dr Cassandra Schefe PresentationPDF1.52 MB

Grant Sims is a sixth generation farmer from Pine Grove. He spoke to the conference about how he was able to improve the life and function of his soils through increasing biological activity and how this translated into higher plant yields and increased stock carrying capacity on the family farm.

  • Grant Sims PresentationPDF21.68 MB

Christian Bannan is a soil scientist and consultant based in central Victoria. Christian spoke to the conference on how to maintain a productive soil and a range of soil management tips and tricks to identify soil issues and manage them before they become a problem.

  • Christian Bannan PresentationPDF4.41 MB

Dr David Barber is a well know research scientist from Gatton in Queensland and in collaboration with Shane Byrne from Murray Dairy, presented the preliminary results from the joint project they ran comparing grain sorghum to maize as a potential for silage for dairy cows. They were able to demonstrate that grain sorghum can produce a silage product of similar but slightly lower quality than maize. They also demonstrated that grain sorghum used significantly less water than maize and was tolerant of poorer soil conditions and stress. Grain sorghum yielded lower than maize in Victoria, but was able to out-yield maize in Queensland because of their longer summer and the ability to harvest a second crop from regrowth.

  • Shane Byrne PresentationPDF1.79 MB

Libby Heard spoke to the conference on the new and exciting initiative “Our Farm, Our Plan” coming out of Dairy Australia. Libby explained the advantaged of having clear written goals and plans on the success of dairy businesses. She explained some of the tools that are on offer as part of this new initiative and where people can go to seek further information.

  • Libby Heard PresentationPDF867.92 KB

Andrew Tyler, the current chair of Murray Dairy reminded those at the conference dinner of Jeffs Odgers many achievements during his time as an industry leader, thanked him for his efforts and wished him the best in his future pursuits.The conference concluded with a conference dinner, where Jeff was recognised for his outstanding contribution to the dairy industry both locally, in our region during his time on the board and as chair of Murray Dairy, as well as his contribution to the national dairy industry during his time as chair of Dairy Australia.

The guest speaker at the dinner was VFF president Emma Germano. The recent covid outbreak in Melbourne prevented Emma from appearing in person, however her enthusiasm for sustainable soil management and the importance of strong advocacy for farmers came through clearly in her passionate talk. Emma was able to draw on her own experiences with soil on her organic vegetable and livestock farm in Mirboo North and discussed the challenge of how to pass on the additional costs that are often associated with sustainable soil management.

The PowerPoint presentations and video recordings of these talks will be made available on our website in coming weeks. If you have any specific questions an any of these topics, feel free to get in touch with our team at Murray Dairy.

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