FutureDairy expands into South Australia

Sep 17, 2006

Darren and Stephen Berkefeld in the dairy

FutureDairy – the project providing dairy farmers with practical innovations to address tomorrow’s challenges – is establishing a Partner Farm and trials in South Australia. Darren and Stephen Berkefeld from Mt Gambier will join three dairy farmers in Victoria as FutureDairy Partner Farms. Most of FutureDairy’s trials are conducted at the Elizabeth Macarthur Agricultural Institute (EMAI), at Camden, NSW. To find out how the findings can be applied on-farm, Partner Farmers implement FutureDairy’s technical recommendations under commercial conditions. Partner Farms are monitored closely so that FutureDairy can focus its research in a more appropriate direction and modify its recommendations and develop practical guidelines for farmers. As FutureDairy Partner Farmers, the Berkefelds will be implementing a Complementary Forage Rotation (CFR) with the aim of producing 40t DM/ha from a 28ha trial site under centre pivot irrigation. The rotation will include maize, Persian clover and brassica, all grown within the one year. FutureDairy Project Leader, Professor Bill Fulkerson, said the addition of a South Australian Partner Farm is an exciting development for the project. “Our research has already benefited enormously from the practical insights provided by our existing Partner Farms. Having a South Australian Partner Farm will enable us to develop guidelines for a wider range of dairying conditions,” he said. Professor Fulkerson said that the enthusiasm and initiative taken by the SA dairy industry through DairySA was a key factor in the decision to establish a Partner Farm in the State. “Being a Partner Farmer involves considerable work including collecting data and making farm records available to the FutureDairy team. Testing research findings is also a risky business. So it’s very important the farmer has support from the local industry,” he said. The Berkefeld’s will be supported by a local group of dairy farmers, advisors and Horizon Consultancy who would meet regularly to discuss management options and review progress. “This is a very important opportunity for our farm, and also for the South Australian dairy industry,” said Darren. “It will enable us to develop a highly productive forage system suited to our region.” FutureDairy’s trials, including the automatic milking system, will be on display at the Dairy Research Foundation’s annual symposium, to be held at Camden 2-3 November.

To register, phone Sherry Catt on (02) 9351- 1631. For more information contact about FutureDairy’s South Australian work, contact Professor Bill Fulkerson or Verity Ingham (08) 8766-0127.