Introducing Miranda Knight

5. Miranda Knight

Miranda Knight will be joining us on the 2020 Gardiner Dairy Foundation UDV New Zealand Study Tour as we travel through the South Island of New Zealand.

Since finishing high school Miranda has been employed as a trainee on a dairy farm in Jindivick. While working full time on farm Miranda is completing her certificate 3 in Agriculture focusing on dairy production.

Throughout her employment Miranda has had the opportunity to learn about the industry and be involved in all aspects of work on farm including artificial insemination, calf rearing, general herd health and pasture management.

Having recently entered the dairy industry Miranda has come to realise the importance and value of learning from different people and their experiences and hopes to be able to use these networks to develop her career moving forward.

We can’t wait to have Miranda along for the study tour in 2020 and look forward to seeing what skills she brings back from New Zealand.

Introducing Callum Moscript

5. Callum Moscript

Callum Moscript will be joining us in February for the 2020 Gardiner Dairy Foundation UDV New Zealand Study Tour as we look at the best the South Island has to offer.

Callum grew up on a multi generational dairy and beef operation outside Leongatha. From an early age he was interested in breeding cows and genetics. This passion has created opportunities to work and travel as well as spend time with many industry professionals.

After five years working in the artificial insemination industry throughout Gippsland and Tasmania Callum returned to his family business looking for opportunities to invest and develop the operation for the next generation. Callum is looking forward to visiting New Zealand to learn strategies and gain knowledge from his fellow participants as well as the farmers he visits on the way.

We look forward to have Callum along in 2020 to bring back learning’s from the New Zealand dairy industry to Victoria.



Introducing Marc Johnston

5. Marc Johnston

Marc Johnston will be joining us in February for the 2020 Gardiner Dairy Foundation UDV New Zealand Study Tour as we travel through the South Island of New Zealand.

Originally from Ireland Marc is currently based in Larpent where he works as a herd manager on a 650 cow dairy. While being more involved in beef farming in Ireland Marc always had an ambition to move to dairy farming and moving to Australia has aided this transition.

Herd health, nutrition and being involved in the breeding programs are some of Marc’s favourite aspects of working on farm. Marc hopes to one day share farm and, like many around him, become an inspiring young person within the dairy industry. Marc considers himself a passionate cow person and hopes to further his knowledge in all aspects of dairy farming over the coming years.

We look forward to having Marc along to the 2020 Gardiner Dairy Foundation UDV New Zealand Study Tour and seeing what finding he will bring back to the Victorian dairy industry.

Thanks for following along!


Thank you to everyone who followed along with the tour on the blog!

A big thanks must also go to UDV Policy Councillor Lauren Peterson for taking the time off farm to help guide and lead the group in discussions to ensure these young farmers got the most from their visit.

Special thanks must also go to Gardiner Dairy Foundation for funding the initiative, and for continuing to invest in the next generation of young dairy leaders.

You can hear more from the 2019 study tour group when they present at the Young Farmers Breakfast, held before this years 2019 UDV Annual Meeting and Conference.

The breakfast will be held at 7:30am on May 10th at the Melbourne Cricket Ground 

To register and for more information go to

Attendance is free for farmers, so sign up and come along to meet with other like minded dairy farmers to discuss the issues affecting Victoria’s dairy industry.

18987 - UDV conference banners 2019 - MailChimp banner Option 3

Day 7 – Support for people on-farm and in the community

Wednesday started with a drive to Dipton where we were able to find out about the organic farming in New Zealand at Glencairn. We stepped on farm to meet Strahan, the operations manager and Jess and Sean from Aquila sustainable farming where they gave an insight in to the operations and management systems of running Glencairn where they have three dairies and a total of 2750 cows spread between them. Since first registration it took two years to gain full organic certification. Glencairn is a dry farm with 91ha irrigated, cows are wintered on farm and sent away for winter grazing. Calving is managed on farm and sent away between December and January once they have hit target weight. When going in to their offices it was great to see all the information on the walls from how to weigh crops and how to dry off cows to how to treat a bee sting and responsibilities of your rolls on farm.

Aquila Sustainable Farming (ASF) is an asset management company responsible for the management of six dairy farms and two support blocks in New Zealand. ASF focuses on the management of crops and pasture, livestock health, milk production, staff performance and retention, organic compliance, environment compliance, health and safety and financial performance. Sean is the general manager of the business and Jess is in control of producing management plans and keeping track of stock numbers, classes of stock, crop details, emergency treatments, send in an extract monthly of cows that have been treated and inputs to the farm, for example, fertilisers, pest treatments and weed treatments.


Strahan explained his approach to keeping his staff informed and productive

We then set off to Winton for lunch with Lindsey Wright from Farm Strong, Good Yarn and Rural Support for the help and support for mental health and awareness for farmers in New Zealand. From my own personal experiences with trying to help my friends and family with mental health I found this meeting with Lindsey invaluable. Lindsey spoke of what made him start looking in to mental health and the avenues to take to be able to get counselling and how difficult it was. The story he told was hard to hear and a bit upsetting but hearing how he has managed to get himself going by seeking help was great to hear, a lot of farmers won’t do that. Through his Farm strong and Rural Support programs through major, local and personal events they are utilised as being a contact, facilitator and an ear to listen. I really enjoyed this chat with Lindsey and I believe we should incorporate more systems like these in to our own mental health programs for farmers.


An inspiring individual, Lindsay dedicates his time to providing support for those that might be struggling

The next farm we were off to was Stefan du Plesis where he is a 50/50 sharefarmer with his 3 daughters and been on this farm for 11 years. Stefan and his family arrived to NZ in 2001 where they climbed up the sharemilking ladder and now milk peak 660 cows through a 46 bale rotaflow which was very interested to see as I had never even heard of one.

Stefan explained the return to clover based pastures as environmental pressures impacted on nitrogen usage

They have heavier soil where they are and lose 4-6 paddocks to flooding from the waterway nearby. Stefan uses the wintering barn for his herd and even has waterbeds for his cows. Stefan has 3 fulltime staff that are all Filipinos. They try to run a low cost, high performing system. I quite enjoyed Stefan’s farm where he showed us a lot over the farm and was full of information.


Water beds in Stefan’s barn had the group weighing up whether to stay the night

The last meeting of the day was meeting Katrina from the Women’s Dairy Network, she was a fun and vibrant lady and great to listen to. WDN is a not-for-profit organisation. Their primary focus is to create occasions for women and men to get off farm and connect with others, they do this in a number of ways that have been developed by women in the industry to suit busy lifestyles. DWN network develop, facilitate and promote events and initiatives. They will be hosting a DWN conference in April that I would love to go to with workshops and speakers over two days, it looks very informative but I will have to check with the bosses.


Katrina filled the group in of the approach to pushing young representatives to get involved

After a day full of information we were happy to get to back on the bus, sing some songs and head to Queenstown in a lovely house up a very steep hill, fair to say some of us have sore muscles now.

– Rachael McGrath

Day 6 – Innovation for profitable cows and pasture

This morning we woke in the town famous for ‘The World’s Fastest Indian’, Invercargill. It is the commercial mecca of the Southland region and is surrounded by some of the most picturesque farmland we have seen too date.

We were lucky enough to enjoy a later start as our first stop was not far from us at LIC. We spoke with Joyce and Charlotte via video link in their Hamilton office and they had a captivated audience from the beginning.

Joyce and Charlotte explained the degree to which technology was utilised in the NZ breeding game

They started with discussing the business structure, the vast amount of services and programs they offer and their predictions looking forward. We then went onto discuss the NZ and International markets and some of the differences between the desires of the NZ and Australian farmers. Lastly we finished with a bit of where to from here and how they think the upswing in fat prices will affect the style of cow or type of cross the will be supplying to farmers in the future.

After a quick bite to eat at The delicious in name and nature, Seriously Good Chocolate Shop we headed just out of town to the Southern Dairy Hub which was quite a phenomenal place and with a backstory to match.

The Southern Dairy Hub herd test set up was a point of interest for the group

This dairy hub from the outside looking in functioned just like any other farm we had been to on our trip however this dairy hub was ran with science and testing at the forefront. The herds were split into four and were ran across two farms which joined in at the dairy.

The dairy hub had three focus’s;

1-The Short and Long Term issues with fodderbeat.

2-Cost affective ways to reduce Nitrogen loses.

3-Wintering of cows.

Amabel decided to see what kiwi cows thought of fodder beet first hand

Fooderbeat use was definitely their highest focus of the dairy hub and due to the farm being split into four they were able to measure the affects of fodder beat in the cows diet. The farm grew two crops, fodderbeet and kale of which they then split into high and low input and were able to directly see the effects of each of the four diets in real time and lab testing.

We all piled back onto the bus escaping the “heat” and headed a few farms over where we were met by Michael Farmer. Michael along with his wife and daughter farm on a 50:50 sharemilking agreement. With a background in business and banking his philosophies on farming were slightly different from others we had seen and was more focused on debt reduction and capital gains within his business. This was the place where we excitedly busted into our first wintering barn, and by barn we mean cow palace.

Michael discussed the challenges of trying to balance young farmer group responsibilities with family and business

Individual mattresses in stalls, back scratches at the walkways and a robot pushing up feed this place was definitely an amazing sight. We heard about his utilisation of by products collected from the barn and his ability to use the barn to benefit his pasture growth. This was a fantastic place to see and getting to see it in action was something we were all thrilled about.

The group were impressed with Michaels ‘bells and whistles’ barn, and were delighted to meet ‘Lily’ the feed pusher robot.

Dinner that night was slightly quieter then the last but the chatter around the table about the days prior and our ability to utilise things we have seen and heard was fantastic.

– Danielle Wright

Day 5 – A look behind the scenes and different ways of doing business

We woke up in Dunedin which is the worlds 5th largest city, based on Geographical area. After a cooked breakfasts we all jumped into the bus and headed of to one of the famous lookouts in Dunedin.

A short drive down the road we where greeted by Wayne Nicol from PGG Wrightsons Seeds Agronomics Services. In the south the main pasture variety they use is white clover and rye grass mix. Studies have shown that on average the south grow 18-20t dry matter a year. Across the whole of NZ there is 12,000 dairy herds with just a bit over 5 million cows. One of the current pests that is different to Australia is the Argentine stem weevil. (ASW) is a pest of short term ryegrass without endophyte throughout NZ.

Wayne filled the group in on the changing attitudes toward fodderbeet

After a short walk across the road we sat down and had a chat with Dunedin’s Rabobank branch manager Ryan Frew. Over the last ten years Rabobanks easset has grown by 300% with 60% of there clientele come from dairy. In 1999/2000 there was 1,764 workers in dairy and in 2017/18 there has been an increase to 3,519. With the increase by near double it the industry is having troubles getting NZ staff and have turned to interntaional contracts to fill the increase in jobs. One of the main problems they are facing is the dairy industry is very hard for young farmers to purchase their own farm.

The group discussed lending criteria with Ryan from Rabobank

Glenn and Lynne where our next stop of the day on our way to Invercargill. Circle Hill Limited was formed in 2014 and is now a 560 cows farm, made up of eight shareholders. We had a walk through their 40 a side herringbone where he milks a mixed breed of cows. Glen is a very good person to learn from as he has built up the farm and is now going to go out and start selling tools for Snaptools.

Glenn and Lynne hold seperate Farm manager and Board member roles, which can lead to some robust discussions at home

On our way to Invercargill we stopped at a Raw milk dairy. Logan, the owner, was kind enough to come out and have a chat. They milk 22 cows all year round and sell fresh milk to their loyal customers and out of a vending machine. The milk is sold at $3.00 a litre and is only kept fresh in the vat for 24 hours. Testing costs for Logan ran at $50,000 per year, but he explained that he wanted to try and keep the price of the product down to make sure it is accessible for his customers.

Logan explained his testing and compliance regime

Once we arrived in Invercargill we had our dinner with the young farmers. We had a chat over tea as to what happens with their young leaders and how to keep young people engaged. I personally learnt a lot from this night.

– Tom Stuart