As a farmer sometimes it feels like non farmers think of us as slow country folk who still farm as our forefathers did or profit driven, chemical lovin, nutters who care for nothing but our back pocket.
The reality for us at Montrose Dairy is we are somewhere in between. Yep I’m still producing food on this same piece of land my great grandfather produced food on in the 120 years ago and I am profit focused, we have to be if this land is to produce food for another 120 years. The way we farm is always changing as is the way we manage pastures and feed our cattle. Our dairy herd has been selectively bred to elite sires by artificial insemination for 60 years.
What is the effect of these types of changes? These sorts of changes are happening industry wide on Australian dairy farms. Through changes in practice Australian dairy farmers have achieved a 28 per cent reduction in methane emissions per litre of milk.
Research by Peter Moate and his team at DPI shows change in farm practice has had a significant positive impacts on the methane emisions from dairy farms. ‘We calculate, therefore, that in 1980 an Australian dairy cow emitted approximately 33 gm of methane for each litre of milk produced. But, in 2010, because of better feeding practices, genetic improvements, higher per cow milk production, and efficiency improvements adopted by the Australian dairy industry, this number has fallen to approximately 24 gm of methane per litre of milk produced.’