There was a very good segment on ABC TV’s Landline show last Sunday, How Green Was My Valley, on the challenges faced by dairy farmers as our climate slowly changes. You can watch it online.
The first 10 minutes or so focuses on a Victorian dairy famer, and the problems he faces when water allocations are cut back in dry years.
Then the story moves on to Jamberoo dairy famers Michael and Lynne Strong, from Clover Hill Dairies. They talk about the warming climate trend, and some of the methods they use to maximise milk output when faced with the very high land prices around here ($70,000 per hectare or more!). They are now milking three times a day instead of two, which increases the milk output by 25% – meaning they can produce the same amount of milk on 25% less land than previously. They are also leasing grazing land instead of purchasing.
If you’re interested, it’s worth reading more about the Clover Hill Dairies environmental programs. They were awarded the 2009 Landcare Primary Producers Award, which is great vindication of the work they’re doing.
It’s interesting to hear that the long-term climate forecast for Jamberoo is to get both hotter and wetter. Maybe I won’t need to install that extra water tank I’ve been thinking of!