Dairyfarmer praises rain


Numurkah dairy farmer is looking forward to this season.

If Danny Bergamin wrote a list requesting seasonal conditions, he would have asked for things to be exactly as they have been this year.
"This is the best season we have had in ages - it is just terrific," Danny said.
Good rain and water allocations have meant there is grass in the paddocks and the possibility of a very good hay and silage season.
Danny has been dairy farming at Numurkah since he was 16. With his wife Donna, he milks 260 Friesian cows on 300 acres. He also has a 300 acre run off block.
Tough conditions over the years , combined with labor issues caused Danny to look at different ways of growing fodder and in the 2006-07 season, he decided to install sub surface drip irrigation. Today he has around 55 acres of his farm under this irrigation method.
"Sub surface is an easy way to irrigate. It uses less water and allows you to grow better quality feed and more tonnage. I have done very well out my system. Sorghum and lucerne have done well but I have made a few mistakes and I am still learning.
"Subsurface is an expensive system to put in and I want to maximise as much feed as I can from it. It really has opened my eyes up to some different options."
This season Danny is growing wheat and he has plans to try corn over the summer. Since the drought, Danny has changed his pasture growth and he now grows all annuals. Carryover water and an allocation this season have meant he will be looking to grow some summer crops.
"I want to grow 2-3 crops a year using the sub surface. Crops like corn, shaftal and rye allow me to get greater tonnage. It is the way to go. I think tonnage per megalitre is very important and growing quality fed is the only way forward.
"If we can grow more feed using less water then there are savings all round. We have overused water in the past and it has been to our detriment."
Danny finds running a dairy farm rewarding but he said one of the main challenges he faced moving forward, was commodity prices.
"The main thing we need is a sustainable milk price, if we get paid less for our product then what it costs us to manufacture, we are in trouble. Water availability is up there with our challenges for sure, but the main thing is the price we get paid for our product.
"I have a desire to try and achieve. There are always challenges and things are always changing in the dairy industry. As different situations come up, you just deal with them."
Danny currently calves twice a year, the majority of his herd calve in spring. He is hoping to change  to a more 50-50 split, but he has to build some infrastructure to enable him to cope with that elusive wet winter.
"We spend a lot of money on seed and 300 cows on a wet paddock mean 1200 legs chopping it up. I have a couple of sacrifice paddocks where I feed out silage which helps keep my other paddocks in good condition."


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