Dairy farmers on the state’s South Coast have bolstered their feed reserves during recent good seasons, but dry conditions since have farmers worried.
“It’s looking real serious,” says Jim Salway of ‘’Mimosa Banks’’, Cobargo. He and his son Steve run Holsteins and Jerseys dairy cows on two properties.
“We had a flood in June and very little rain since. We need rain.’’
Bega Cheese executive chairman Barry Irvin visited Tatura suppliers to Bega Cheese recently to see how dairy farmers were faring after recent floods in eastern Victoria.
If there is a bad winter next year we have fodder in reserve and that’s a big positive. Tatura farmers are also coming out well from a difficult period.
From what he could see, most dairy farmers around Tatura were getting back on track after the floods. He was confident most dairy farmers associated with Bega in both the Tatura and Bega regions were doing well, with feed storages bulked up.
“This would get them through a bad winter,’’ he said.
But recent conditions have dried out pastures around Bega, and stalled hopes farmers could get a second cut of hay.
Jim Salway retired from hands-on dairying in 2007 and now breeds dairy heifers for his son Steve. “We hope that things will improve before next winter, we usually get good rain in February. But it’s not looking good at the moment. We’ll probably have to buy in.’’
Dairy farmer Rex Coombes of Buckajo Road, near Bega, says the dry turn will stop him getting a second cut of hay. His bale storage was good due to a bumper season last year.
But he said there had “been a turn in the weather and the winds have been relentless”.
“If it doesn’t rain we’ll be feeding over christmas.’’
Bega Cheese shares have rebounded from a earlier in November, soaring almost a dollar in two weeks, investors confident in the company’s long-term strategy. The share price stumbled on Tuesday, falling 10c but then rose again to close at $4.94.
Mr Irvin said although it had been dry in the last few months, “from all reports there are big storages of fodder’’.
‘’If there is a bad winter next year we have fodder in reserve and that’s a big positive. Tatura farmers are also coming out well from a difficult period.’’