Self-sustaining dairy businesses are the key to a thriving industry, says DFMC Director Adrian Dauk.

Blinkbonnie Dairy on South Australia’s stunning Fleurieu Peninsula is home to Adrian, his wife and business partner Holly and their four young children. In the pursuit of increasing their dairy’s profitability and strengthening efficiencies, Adrian and Holly have been gradually introducing automation into the business.

“We’ve increased the herd from 180 cows to over 250 in the past three years,” said Adrian.  “The more you improve your efficiencies, the more scope you have to make those kinds of decisions.

“Profitability in business is directly linked to efficiencies.”

Adrian and Holly have introduced automated feeding and an automatic draft to improve cow flow, boost cow comfort and allow staff to work more efficiently. Automatic calf feeders have resulted in consistent growth rates and calmer calves. In the long term, Adrian and Holly would like to investigate smart collars and milk meters.

“There’s a big role in the industry for young people, especially in automation because you need to be tech savvy and interested in automation,” Adrian said.

“We know time on-farm isn’t free, so an efficiency gain of 1 to 2 percent is going to help businesses be self-sustaining, which means we won’t be as susceptible to outside pressures like the price of grain, hay or water.

“I think the more self-sustaining we can be, the brighter the future will be.”

Adrian began dairy farming in 2007. His passion for the industry meant that by 2016, he had joined DFMC’s board as a Director.

“I felt that particularly in my region, people are very busy, and I had the time and support that allowed me to put my hand up,” Adrian said. “You can’t have an impact on the industry if you’re not involved and I like being able to help other farmers who don’t have time to commit outside of their business.

“I think being younger, it’s almost my job to keep everyone on their toes and enthused,” Adrian joked.

“I enjoy being able to help make decisions that keep DFMC moving forward.”