Author Archives: milkmaidmarian

About milkmaidmarian

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 our blog, Milk Maid Marian We hope this blog helps other Aussies get a taste of life on the land.

How to grow Aussie dairy: fixed price

The refusal of Australian farmers to saddle up our cows and grow, grow, grow like our wonderful Kiwi cousins has been much lamented. In a recent blog about the subject, I suggested that we simply needed reliable profitability to do the same and followed it up with Ian Macallan’s integration vision.

In this second follow-up post, Fonterra dairy ingredients trader Scott Briggs answered a few questions about its innovative Fixed Base Milk Price, which promises to iron out some of the volatility in the price we get for our milk. Continue reading

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A Landcare foot soldier inspired by a true heroine

Alex's babies need watering twice a day

Alex’s babies need watering twice a day

Alex has 1000 babies that demand his tender ministrations twice a day. There must be scores more trailer-loads of trees like this getting twice-daily dousings across Victoria right now, judging by the frenzied timing of the government’s 2 Million Trees program.

We found out we were getting some trees three weeks ago after the local nursery confirmed it could provide stock that must normally be ordered nine months in advance. It wasn’t until two days before we collected them that we knew when they were coming or how many there would be. Crazy stuff!

Even more remarkable is the generosity of a lady named Kaye from our Landcare group. She raises thousands of seedlings every year for anybody who’s keen to get plants into the ground. Her garden is a wonderland of tubes sprouting everything from exquisitely delicate chocolate lilies through to one-day magnificent mannas. Continue reading

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Turbulence in dairy’s white rivers of gold

Image from viator (see http://bit.ly/1v5FBtb)

Image from viator (see http://bit.ly/1v5FBtb)


Yesterday left many dairy farmers feeling a little seasick. Fonterra NZ announced a drop in the Kiwi farmgate milk price from $6.00 to $5.30 per kg of milk solids.
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New development in Australian dairy makes my stomach churn

Ningbo Dairy Group vice-president Harry Wang, left, and owner Yin Chong Zhang inspect farms near Phillip Island. Picture: Aaron Francis, published in The Weekly Times.

This is the blog post I hesitated to write. Yes, we need foreign investment, absolutely yes, but an article about a particular Chinese investor’s plans written by Sue Neales makes my stomach churn.
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How to grow Aussie dairy: vertical and horizontal integration

In last week’s post about what it will take to encourage dairy farmers to grow, I promised to follow up with some ideas. The first is a guest post from Ian Macallan, a project strategist and business architect who has operated in the Asia Pacific for over 30 years across a number of industries including dairy.

Whilst 97 per cent of Australian dairy farms are family-owned, there are smatterings of “corporate farming” that bring together large parcels of land and cows.

If left unchecked, this type of pure farm aggregation could swing to the extreme of looking like feudal farming, leaving no capacity for family dairy farming. These corporate farms are also still vulnerable to milk price fluctuations.
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What it will take to encourage dairy farmers to grow

The much lamented stagnant Australian milk pond

The much lamented stagnant Australian milk pond

Consider this entreaty from the charming Lino Saputo Jr, who is the newish owner of Warrnambool Cheese & Butter:

“…what will it take for the dairy farmers to be optimistic about the dairy industry and investing in their farms and what kinds of programs can we put in place that will assist them.”

“What we are trying to do in Australia is appeal to the dairy farmers and say, ‘Look, we can be a good home for your milk. If you choose to increase your herd size and you’re producing more milk, we will put on the infrastructure to process that milk’.”

Lino’s not alone. Many of the processors including our own co-op, MG, would like to see Australian dairy farmers arise from our slumber and produce more, more, more. Why, the industry even commissioned the Horizon 2020 Report last year to work out why we are so sluggish.

But even a simple dairy farmer can sum it up in two words: Continue reading

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How an FTA with China will keep fresh milk on Aussie tables

Please, sir, may we have an FTA4dairy?

Please, sir, may we have an FTA4dairy?

If you live in the big Australian states there’s a real chance the milk on your Weeties has to be trucked across the Nullabor or over the Murray. Why? Continue reading

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