Dairy Innovation Day 2022 Wrap Up

May 25, 2022

Recently, Milne team member, Amanda Ortiz, attended the Dairy Innovation Day in Dardanup.  As a recent Murdoch University Animal Science graduate, Amanda is passionate about all areas of the agricultural industry, and is particularly interested in continuing education and industry innovation. She shares her wrap-up of the day:

'This year I had the pleasure of attending Western Dairy’s ‘Dairy Innovation Day 2022’ along with colleague Sarah Perkins (Milne Feeds Business Development Manager). The first half of the day consisted of panel talks and presentations. The initial panel talk was facilitated by Agribusiness consultant Kirk Reynolds, who discussed the ‘Dairy Farm Monitor Project’ with farmers Warrick Tyrell and Michael Twomey.  Both commented that their involvement in the project had enabled them to make informed business decisions going forward.  It was interesting to hear that, while participating in the project, they identified weaknesses, as well as re-assuring their strengths, within their businesses.  The importance of reviewing relevant data and history collectively to make such decisions was a key point highlighted.  The take home message from this panel: the new participants were encouraged to join the project so that they might all utilize the data and follow ups.

The session was followed by a Zoom presentation from Michael Harvey of Rabobank in Melbourne.  He presented on the latest in market research, the global pandemic, China’s Covid policy, the war in Ukraine, inflation and the supply chain bottlenecks. His message to the dairy industry is to “be confidant but be aware”.  It was interesting to appreciate how these seemingly-distant foreign relations matters were affecting the Ag industry in our own backyard.   Following a presentation by Zoetis on the importance of parasite control on dairy farms, Mandy Curnow, from DPIRD, led a discussion on ‘The Pathway to Carbon Accounting and What it Takes’.  Co-panelists included Dr Scott Strachan, from Harvest Road Sustainability Lead, Paul Omodei Jnr, from Planfarm Financial and Business Consultancy, and Lyn Abbot, the Head of Soil Biology at the University of Western Australia (UWA).  This diverse group discussed the future challenges of navigating the emerging carbon economy.

In the afternoon attendees were able to get out on farm.  The first visit was to Phil and Kevin Depiazzi’s farm, which consists of ~300 milking cows. We were welcomed by the Depiazzi brothers and agronomist Neil Olsen, founder of Soilkee Renovator. The three discussed effluent management and the benefits of re-use over summer, multi-species summer sowing and improving soil health and biology. We then visited Michael Twomey’s farm, known as Peninsula Downs, Dardanup.  He and his family took over the greenfield site in 2015 and transformed it into an efficient and progressive dairy farm. Michael’s focus has been on building a business that puts his cows first, whilst maximizing all the farm activities, including irrigation. The day was capped off with a gala dinner that evening, where participants enjoyed a chance to chat informally.'

The day was a great success. It provided a excellent opportunity for industry participants to meet other farmers and share their dairy business experiences.  Milne Feeds dairy specialist, Jess Andony, was unable to take part in the event, as she was visiting cattle producers in the northwest, and looks forward to attending next year. Thanks to Western Dairy for hosting another wonderful industry event.