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.

In the height of Sprummer

Sprummer's fading good looks

Sprummer’s fading good looks

The season’s first stuttering “skeet, sekeet, sekeee” of a cicada this afternoon confirms it all: Sprummer has peaked.

This is the time of year that makes callow dryland dairy farmers like me uneasy. Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under Climate

Isn’t doing the right thing good enough?

I am itching to watch an industry sustainability promo that stands apart courtesy of three missing words: “billion”, “economy” and “jobs”. Continue reading

10 Comments

Filed under Community, Environment, Farm

From family farm to corporate farming in Australia

I am not Farmer of the Year, just Ms Average Australian Dairy Farmer, with around 260 milkers doing a respectable 7000 litres each on 500 rain-fed acres. But the ground is shifting beneath my feet. Although family farms make up 98% of Australian dairy right now, the big corporates are moving in and moving people like me on. Continue reading

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Filed under Community, Farm

Living with the Animal Liberationists and the hunters

Living with the Enemy: hunter vs animal liberationist

Living with the Enemy: Steve the hunter vs Felicity the animal liberationist

Felicity is one of the reasons few farmers write blogs. On the whole, we’re terrified of Animal Liberation activists and tonight’s episode of Living with the Enemy was an excruciating reminder of some of the rare but outlandish comments I’ve refused to post on Milk Maid Marian. Continue reading

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Filed under Animal Health and Welfare

Soaking up smarts for summer from Mr Silage

DEPI's "Mr Silage", Frank Mickan

DEPI’s “Mr Silage”, Frank Mickan

Chomping on a rye grass stalk with rain trickling down his face, Mr Silage gave it a nod of approval: “Still tastes sweet!”.

Mr Silage, as DEPI’s Frank Mickan is colloquially known, is a living legend. Continue reading

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Filed under Farm, Research

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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Filed under Farm

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

6 Comments

Filed under Environment, Farm