New Zealand knowledge brought home

Participants from the Gardiner Foundation funded Study Tour to New Zealand (NZ) brought their knowledge and enthusiasm back home, presenting to the industry on Monday 31st March.

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Six highly passionate and dedicated young people were selected to travel to NZ on the study tour which is organised annually by the UDV. The tour is a unique opportunity for young people in the dairy industry to develop knowledge and leadership skills. The tour is underpinned by the National Centre for Dairy Education Australia (NCDEA) nationally accredited unit of study.

Each report was presented to leading industry representatives from key dairy organisations.

Thomas Lindsay (On farm and student from Picola) presented on cow nutrition, supplement feeding and pasture. Thomas noted the high use of Palm Kernel Extract and maize crops for supplement feed on NZ farms. Thomas also discussed ‘milking off the cows back’ to increase efficiency and implementing a system of three milking’s every two days when pasture and feed is down.

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Kallan Young (On farm and student from Leongatha/Inverloch) spoke about stepping stones for moving through the dairy industry. He discussed the clear pathways into the industry that are available in NZ. Kallan left the audience with a motivational take home message of ‘work like your next boss is watching’.

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Bradley Missen (Farm manager from Denison) discussed succession planning and broader dairy industry issues. Brad was overwhelmed by the positivity of farmers in NZ, saying that they were the most enthusiastic he had ever met. Although they are faced with similar issues such as public perception, effluent management and labour shortages, dairy farmers manage to maintain their passion for the industry. Brad said that the level of training held by managers in NZ was well above the level generally found in Australia. He highlighted this as an area to be improved upon back home.

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Katherine Snell (Veterinarian from Maffra) looked at development and retention of young leaders in a sustainable dairy industry. Katherine reported that in NZ there seemed to be a lot of support within the industry, she realised the importance of bringing that back home. Katherine’s message was; ‘Mentors – be one and get one’.

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Chris Potts (Milk Supply Analyst from Darnum) spoke about growth in equity in NZ. Chris noted that there is a better understanding of costs by farmers in NZ, this contributes to a higher level of wealth creation and enables growth in equity and increased investment in the industry. Farmers in NZ see dairy as a profitable industry to be in and this along with a clear business understanding and pathway opportunities creates growth in the industry.

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One of the selected delegates,William Ryan (On farm and student from Flemington/Dumbalk), unfortunately had to withdraw from the trip at the last minute, however he has shown his commitment to the industry by signing up to be a ‘Food and Fibre Champion in Schools’ and presenting at the session with the rest of the selected tour attendees on Monday. He says his application will be on the top of the pile next year.

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Congratulations to Tom, Kallan, Brad, Katherine, Chris and Will. And thank you to the Gardiner Foundation, UDV and NCDEA for providing the opportunity to these young leaders.

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