As part of its work to support the development of excellence in young dairy farmers, Dairy Farmers Milk Co-operative helped sponsor the Young Dairy Networks tour of New Zealand in June 2017.

Around 28 young Australian dairy farmers ranging in age from 18 to their early 30s attended the tour including Assistant Dairy Herd Manager Georgia Sherborne who works on her family dairy in the Southern Highlands region south of Sydney in NSW.  The family are members of DFMC.

For Georgia, one of the standouts from the trip that took them to eight dairy farms across New Zealand as well as to research and other dairy hubs, was the visit to Philmara Farm. Located on the North Island just a few hours south of Auckland, Philmara is owned by Philip and Maree White with their son Mike moving back to the dairy to help manage it after five years in rural banking.

“Philmara was interesting because they have some good lessons around succession planning that made a lot of sense,” explains Georgia. “Mike is a young farmer whose background in rural banking has also given him a lot of useful and different knowledge and experience that he brings to the dairy business.”

After starting work on the dairy after completing school, Georgia, 22, now says she might be interested in studying some financial business management.

Other aspects of the trip highlighted the differences between the Sherborne’s dairy, which comprises 270-300 milking cows, mostly Holstien, and the typical New Zealand dairies they saw.

“In New Zealand it seems they want to produce as much of their own feed as they can themselves – some wouldn’t buy anything in, and they are seasonal,” says Georgia. “For us, and for many dairy farmers here, we calve all year round, and we do in-shed feeding and have a feed pad.

“They keep their dairies basic, but I’m actually pretty excited about some of the new technology that is coming – especially around animal health.”

Georgia says the trip was amazing and that she loved every minute of it – some encouraging feedback from the next generation of dairy farmers learning how they can step up to lead the industry into the future.

The Young Dairy Network tour of New Zealand was managed by DairyTas and DairyNSW Young Dairy Network and ran from 18 to 26 June.