Holstein exchange rewarding experience

Holstein exchange rewarding experience for young farmers

ADF News
Aa

A collaboration between Holstein Australia and Holstein UK allows young people from both countries to get a taste of the dairy industry overseas.

Aa
EXCHANGE: Holstein youth exchange scholarship recipients Oakey Henry and Catherine Bunting watching the judging at International Dairy Week in January.}

EXCHANGE: Holstein youth exchange scholarship recipients Oakey Henry and Catherine Bunting watching the judging at International Dairy Week in January.}

A collaboration between Holstein Australia and Holstein UK allows young people from both countries to get a taste of the dairy industry overseas.

The two most recent exchange scholarship recipients attended International Dairy Week in January.

Catherine Bunting, from Derbyshire in the United Kingdom, flew into Australia in early January and was able to visit farms in Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia as part of her exchange, as well as attending IDW.

Ms Bunting graduated from agricultural college in 2017 and has worked on a number of dairy farms since 2015, with herd sizes ranging from 250 to 550 animals. She now works for UK breeder Sterndale and Peak Holsteins, where her role includes calf rearing, milking, artificial insemination, record keeping and drying off procedures, as well as forming part of their prepping and show team.

She said she was really impressed with how Australian cows looked. "They've got good condition, and the feet and legs are brilliant from all the walking they do," she said.

The milk yield from cows raised on predominantly grazing systems was also impressive.

Ms Bunting said the herd sizes were larger in Australia than in the UK.

"With it not being as intensive over here, I think people can have the larger herds, and there can still be only two or three people working on the farm," she said

"You don't need four or five like us over wintertime, when we've got 350 head of cattle inside and we are scraping out every day and things like that."

Oakley Henry, from Tinamba in Gippsland, Vic, visited the UK last year, spending time in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland.

The biggest difference he noticed was the stricter requirements around cattle movement as a result of biosecurity issues experienced in the UK in the past.

Every animal had a passport and farmers needed to submit an application on a centralised system before any animal was moved. "It doesn't matter if it is from farm to farm or wherever it's from or to the show, it has to be recorded and logged," he said.

Mr Henry said the farming systems were more intensive than those in Australia.

"So it's a lot more labour intensive with scraping up after cows, feeding them, scraping up the feed," he said.

"But they have the advantage of the consistency in the feed 365 days of the year.

"Whereas in Australia they are on different grass every 12 hours so it is a lot harder on the cows, they have to adjust all the time.

"But those cows get the same feed all year round so production plateaus a lot longer than what ours does."

Mr Henry said he would encourage anyone given the opportunity to take part in an exchange such as this.

"It's an incredible experience to go and see a totally different system than what we have in Australia," he said.

"Even though we are doing the same job, the day-to-day things are completely different and it is fascinating to see how a different country's dairy industry operates."

Aa

From the front page

Sponsored by