The seasoned crew of devoted post-conference tourers enjoyed a two-day trip around central SA with day one seeing visits to two very innovative dairy farms.
Glen Dohnt’s new state-of-the-art rotary dairy at Monteith was certainly an eye opener for all especially those amongst the group considering any sort of dairy upgrade. No expense or idea was overlooked in the building of the 60-stand rotary with Glen answering plenty of questions from the group.
A quick ferry ride across the mighty Murray River then lunch at the Wellington Hotel capped off the morning session.
David Altman’s dairy at Murray Bridge was the next stop and was eventually reached after some navigational issues that involved a couple of u-turns from the lead vehicle.
As at the Dohnt operation, this was a Total Mixed Ration (TMR) farm that achieved high production with cows housed in a compost barn as well as having an adjacent feed barn. David and nutritionist Fiona McDonald described the operation’s development and goals and how it is monitored and evaluated.
From Altman’s the tour found its way to Langhorne Creek for some wine, beer and cider tasting before enjoying dinner at the Bridge Hotel where Nuffield scholar and former DFMC supplier James Stacey gave a short talk on his recent experiences after receiving the scholarship.
We got on the road early the next morning and the tour landed at the Mulhearn family farm perched high in Back Valley where owner Tristan gave an insight into the operation of his self-propelled feed mixer. Again, another farm pushing production with a TMR and feed-pad system aided by the latest in mixing machinery.
Next on the agenda was the Yankalilla farm of suppliers Ian and Nikki Willcox who gave an insight into the challenges of farming on the edge of an urban area. This was a change in operation type as the Willcox’s enterprise is mainly pasture based although technology adaptations were evident with auto gate releases in paddocks and auto calf rearing as well.
Last stop before heading for the airport was at Jared and Megan King’s dairy.
Jared and Megan are leasing the farm between Yankallila and Myponga after share-farming for a number of seasons and are another high-production pasture-based operation. Visitors were impressed with the neat dairy and surrounds and enjoyed lunch from the Yankallila bakery.
Thanks to all on tour and to Bec Burgess from Dairy S.A. and Greg Gilbert and Adrian Dauk for their input into the smooth running of the tour.