Situated in North Dandalup, Gilbert Guernseys is the only Guernsey herd in Western Australia, and a stud herd at that. Colin and Elda Gilbert began dairy farming in 1987 supplying local cheese factory Rose Valley, from their then Holstein herd, while also supplying one of the large milk processors in WA.
Since then, the herd and business have undergone some significant changes, including the dispersal of the Holstein herd and rebuilding as a solely Guernsey herd. The business also shifted from supplying the main processors in WA to selling into alternative markets, which they have sourced themselves.
The now entirely Guernsey herd has a year-round calving system with a focus on genetics and nutrition, and their milk is sold into various niche markets. For the Gilberts, the decision to seek alternative outlets for their milk was made in order to remain in the dairy industry, as the price they were receiving in the general market was not sustainable.
The Gilberts supply milk to three family businesses: the DeJaxso artisan bakery and café, who use it in their coffees, gelato, yoghurt, bakery products and also retail fresh milk in reusable glass bottles; The Grumpy Farmer milk label, which is available from selected retail stores in full cream milk, lactose-free milk, skim milk, flavoured milk and pouring cream; and lastly, Rose Valley Cheese, who use the Guernsey milk in their Italian style cheeses including mozzarella, romano, and bocconcini.
Colin says, “the milk sells itself’. It is highly sought after for its superior components and great frothing ability, a characteristic of Guernsey milk. The quality of the milk produced is a result of Colin and Elda’s focus on careful herd management and balanced nutrition.
Gilbert Guernseys cows are fed on Milne Feeds pellets and receive nutritional support from Jess Andony. Jess says that finding the right balance of protein, energy and fibre, and fine-tuning the feed blend to accommodate seasonal changes, is key to ensuring the cows produce the optimum milk quality all year round.
Next time you stop for your morning coffee it might just be made with Gilbert Guernsey Milk!