About

Welcome to our farm! Our family (me, my husband, little girl and boy) have a medium-sized farm in Gippsland, Victoria. Our farm is rain-fed rather than irrigated and has been in the family for generations. We love our farm and cows. We hope this blog helps other Aussies get a taste of life on the land.

Please let me know what you think and ask as many questions as you like.

Marian Macdonald

(yes, I know, ee-i-ee-i-o)

41 responses to “About

  1. julie moore

    Great work, this should help to dispell some of the myths of us dairfarmers. Keep up the good work, from a wet dorrigo

  2. Lisa Claessen

    Marian,
    just had to post and say thankyou for your fantastic blog. I teach Agriculture and Home Economics in QLD, and your insight into dairy farming is so valuable to help explain why good food should never just be seen as a cheap and readily available right in this country. Keep up the fabulous work – farmers need to tell their story! Thank you again.

    • milkmaidmarian

      I really appreciate that comment, Lisa. It’s hard to know who I’m writing for and what matters to them.

      • Andrew and Jo Theodore

        Milk Maid Marion. As an MG supplier that has received the opening price of $6 M/S. I would like to for you to do an article with an MG farm/s that receives the quoted price that MG announce. As the quoted price is done on a “ghost” farm. We as MG suppliers run a “dairy company business” so we take our industry very seriously. So when a price is quoted, we want to visit the farm that actually receives it to see how they operate to get it. This should be a very easy request. As how can a company that wants to list, trade with a “ghost price”??? As a company we are not able to trade with “ghost figures”. It is very disheartening that our Co-Op trades this way. Thankyou for taking the time to read our message.

        • Thanks for the question, Andrew and Jo, and for reading the blog. You’ve raised an interesting issue.

          I’m actually planning a post on the opening prices and forecast closes, so will include something that I hope addresses your question, too.

  3. Hi Marian. Congratulations on your initiative to try to educate people what you do and how you do things each day. There are many many city dwellers who understand what you and all our other great farmers are doing for us, yet there is the majority that has no idea. Part of this is due to the fact they simply aren’t exposed to anything at all related to farms or farming. And that is why my concept for the home of Australian Agriculture and food in Sydney known as The Australian Farm and Food Experience will be linked to the school curriculum and then children, tourists, and the community will be able to come for excursions and day trips to see the whole production line under one roof for each agricultural enterprise.

  4. Penelope Hastie

    Hi Marion,
    Just needed to say that what your doing is fantastic. I live on a small farm myself and work in the city. So many of the people I work with wouldn’t have the first clue about what actually takes place on a farm and where their food, milk, meat and leather etc comes from.
    I have A sister in the city too and her whole family, even with us up on the farm, are in my opinion dangerously naive about the way it all works.
    As Joel Salatin from “Food Inc” says, something as intimate as what you put in your mouth is becoming so complicated and far removed from the way it should be it’s just wrong.
    Keep up the good work, we’ll educate them one at a time!
    Kindest Regards,
    Penelope

  5. Michael Birt

    Hi Marian, did you see Landline’s story on social media today. Someone’s also set up a new facebook group ‘Farming is the new black’ (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Farming-is-the-New-Black/125826837512511?sk=wall ). Thought you might be interested. PS like the Weekly Times story the other week. Hope yr well. cheers m./

  6. Libby Lambert

    Read about your blog in the Weekly Times and think it is a wonderful initiative. On Landline this week there was a section on a young couple from the US speaking to the live export trade farmers in the Northern Territory (?) abouth the power of social networking as a tool to positively inform city folk about how their food is produced. I do not know how to blog but would like to set one up about how I rear and fatten my beef heifers which are grass fed here near Bena in Gippsland and how I have revegetated all my waterways and steep land etc. Oh, well keep up the good work and I hope the goat found a home. regards Libby

  7. We are farmers/graziers on the Central tablelands NSW and would love your thoughts on our blog http://www.ktsfarmlife.blogspot.com Passion for farming, fuelled the site, target audience is infant/primary age children and is written from a 4year olds perspective of what happens down on the farm and have been emailing intro letter and details of site to Sydney based public schools and have a small contingent of followers.
    Once again love your thoughts?

    KT

  8. Hey Guys/Gals and cows :) My name is Dave Curwain and I worked on dairy farms since coming out of high school. I previously worked for Jack Patton of Berry’s creek in south Gippsland for roughly 2-3 years and before that I worked for a couple of farms just doing either milkings or stayed and went, these were Andrew Lamers of Leongatha South and Garry Pocklingten of Mardan. The first farm I ever worked on was Scott and Suzanne Wightman of Nicholls Rd. in Mardan and that is where i learnt everything I know today. As you may or may not know, they are one of/the biggest producers of organic milk in south Gippsland, their label name is “True Organic”, I must say that I am proud to have know that area and the people there but more so the techniques used in the approach to sustainable and environmentally friendly dairy farming practices. I have, within the last 1.5 years moved out of Vic. and gone to the city life (Canberra A.C.T) pursuing my I.T career. I stumbled across your blog and love hearing of the news that happens down that way! I miss certain aspects of it all and when I hear others’ stories I picture myself in their shoes, looking out towards the unforgettable sunsets of 4:30am-9:45am (Depending on daylight savings or not lol). Cheers guys, hope to hear more soon. Dave.

  9. great site where did you get your troughs made?

    • milkmaidmarian

      Thanks David – we got these fantastically enormous troughs via our local Murray Goulburn trading store but they come from a firm on the Mornington Peninsula.

  10. Thanks for the visit! Great blog you have here. Yes, Gippsland is the best :)

  11. Love seeing rural Australian’s blogging and sharing their stories. Glad to have found your blog. http://www.norrisaroundaustralia.com

  12. L.A. Hadley

    Great blog! very topical in light of the issues with milk prices, but also just a fabulous insight into life on the land.

  13. Richard

    General Comment: Hi Marian, If think you have achieved more for the dairy industry lately than in the previous 10 years (I love thus auto spell check) so keep up the good work.

  14. Hi Marian,

    I stumbled over your blog whilst on Google and I’m so glad I did. I love the way you can communicate the day to day life of a dairy farmer so easily and in such a reader friendly way. It seems to me that a lot of the points of view held in opposition to farming practices by ‘Non-Farm’ people are down to a lack of communication and openness from the farming community. We need more people like yourselves who can articulately and interestingly put across the point of view of farmers to help break down the barriers.

    On a lighter note, as a young person starting off in the Dairy industry it’s brilliant to read and relate to so much that you write about. I have recently started my own blog, to document my thoughts, opinions and experiences on life on and off the farm. I would appreciate it if you wouldn’t mind taking a few minutes to have a look at it.

    http://travellingyoungfarmer.wordpress.com/

    Hope all is well on the farm, let’s hope for some rain soon eh? (I’m currently on a farm in Northern Victoria, and although we’re irrigated, we wouldn’t mind a few mls)

    Take care

    Jake

  15. Hi Marian
    I came across your site while looking for further info on almond hulls. I had to leave a response on your About page after finding you also live in Gippsland and have the same name as my mother (one of those weird coincidences)! We have a small sheep farm in the Bass Coast area and were wondering about the chemical safety of almond hulls and who supplies them in this area.
    Cheers
    Marg

    • Hi Margaret,
      Thanks for your note. There aren’t many Marians around, are there?

      I got my almond hulls from our local feed merchant in Meeniyan. I believe they are quite safe but it’s great you’re doing your homework on them.

      • Dan

        A bit of a side topic but I would be careful trying to do any kind of lead feeding with almond hulls however as their DCAD is through the roof, You’ll need a good lead feed that is extra low in DCAD to combat that and any grass/other byproducts you might try feed this calving.

  16. Peech

    Hi Marian,
    I just started working in the dairy industry this year after moving to regional Victoria from Melbourne. I’m very much a city girl, and I’m finding it a very different (but lovely) kettle of fish! I’d love to read through your blog from the very start, but can’t figure out how to get there. I was wondering – are there archives on the website? I’d love to get stuck into it!
    Cheers,
    Peech.

    • What a great adventure you’re about to have, Peech! Thanks for reading my blog – what a compliment! The very first post was about a little cow who lost her calf. It’s here: You can start there and work your way back.

  17. Jenny

    hello,

    I’m curious to know what you and your husband do in your leisure time as farmers? do you just go to the local pub or into the city? And do you have any other interests that you think you share with other farmers? (this is for a school project) thanks!

    • Thanks for the question, Jenny.

      I don’t think you could say that we share a particular interest with other farmers – we’re all individuals! I love getting out into the bush or feeding the sea gulls and taking photos. Once Alex and Zoe are a little more independent, I’d love to get back on a horse, too. Every now and then, it’s nice to get away to the city for an overnight break.

      Wayne’s a very different animal. His perfect day would be a walk down Acland Street in St Kilda sampling pastries (got to admit, that sounds pretty tempting), followed by a matinee movie or a boys’ day out at the MCG.

      Good luck with your project!

  18. Hi Marian,

    Can you share your thoughts on GM canola crops in Australia? Do you use this to feed your cows on your farm? Are you pro-GM crops or not?

    Thanks & Happy Friday!
    Michelle

    • Hi Michelle,
      Sorry I missed your question until now. No, we are not allowed to use GMO feeds for our cows. I’m embarrassed to say that I am not equipped to comment on the merits of GM – I simply don’t know enough. I can see the merits of using fewer sprays on more resilient GM crops but can also understand people’s concerns about their safety.

  19. Hi Marian,

    My hubby and I are about to enter the world of lease dairy farming. :) hubby is a 4th gen dairy farmer, but after the family farm was sold when he was 16, he has been DYING to get back onto the land.
    I on the other hand am a station hand from way back, working with mostly unruly Brahmans in NT.

    So now we have 2 kiddlies (16m and 2 1/2 yr old) plus I’m pregnant with #3 due in June :) (hoping to either be on the farm by then, or waiting for another month or so after… Depending on sorting out paperwork etc)

    So my q’s are:

    -What’s it like being a dairy farmer’s wife with littlies?
    -what’s it like being a dairy farmer with littlies?
    – any tips/tricks you can suggest as to safety, having the kids around the farm etc???

    Any info would be greatly appreciated as you are the first aus blog that I have found where you are just as much of the farm as ‘the husband’. :)
    Which is what I’m hoping to be :)

    Cheers
    Kirra

  20. Came across your blog while researching ‘dairying’ & I reckon it rocks! Cheers Charles.

  21. Hi There Marian!
    Love your blog! I am a dairy-farmer’s daughter who has just moved back to FNQ from Brisbane (after 15 years away!) with my husband and family to now be Mango, Avo, Lime & Passionfruit farmers. Very scared about our ‘tree-change’ but loving being back in the country! Just wanted to say hi and love reading your blog!!! Just wondering if you know if the Dairy Industry has anything planned to celebrate 2014 being the International Year of Family Farming?? I’ve just written a blog post about it and I’m wondering how to get involved, promote this year – love to hear your thoughts!

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