Support Saved Dairy Farmers in South East

Brian and Lorraine’s dairy farm in the South East was hit hard by the Fonterra price crash in 2016 and the hard-working couple didn’t see a milk cheque for seven months as equity in their business dropped by $200k.

The couple participated in the Rural Business Support Dairy Farm Business Strategic Review not long after the price drop and say the review helped them to change their outlook and diversify their business:

“Working with RBS meant we were able to demonstrate what our financial position had been and what it could be. We ran through all of the different possibilities and strategies and used them as a sounding board to work through the options.

“I would recommend the program to any dairyfarmer. There are so many benefits whether you’re looking at succession, expanding or upgrading. It was well worthwhile to be able to monitor and know exactly where your business is, and where you want it to be. It’s an amazing opportunity for people, especially as the program is also free.”

The family leased a centre pivot and water to a sharefarmer to grow seed potatoes, sold beef-cross calves and halved their herd of dairy cattle to 150 milkers, retaining the Normande portion of their herd and selling their Swiss Brown cows.

Leasing the centre pivot which was the farthest from the dairy had flow-on benefits as cows no longer had to walk as far to the dairy, which maximised milk productivity.

“It was very hard to part with them,” Lorraine said. “But, many people knew we were going to be selling them through the Warrnambool Livestock Auction, and as people don’t often sell Swiss Browns, there were a lot of people after them. After the sale, a lot of people who had bought them got in touch through Facebook, so we were able to see they had gone on and done well, which made us happy.”

A relatively rare breed of dairy cattle in Australia, the Normande produces high protein A2 milk and BB Kappa-casein, which is sought after in cheesemaking. The Robertsons have spent many years building up their herd of Normandes and will look to show stud cattle and sell embryos in future.

Registrations are open for SE dairy farmers to participate in the program: SA Dairy Rollout Registration Form