Coronavirus forces postponement of genetics forum

Coronavirus forces postponement of dairy genetics forum but farm tours will go ahead

Business Management
ROBOTS: Evan Williams's robotic dairy will feature in farm tours as part of a genetics conference next week.

ROBOTS: Evan Williams's robotic dairy will feature in farm tours as part of a genetics conference next week.

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Genetics Australia has been forced to postpone a forum planned as part of its GA2020 conference because of the coronavirus, but a farm tour will continue as planned.

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Genetics Australia has been forced to postpone a forum planned as part of its GA2020 conference because of the coronavirus, but a farm tour will continue as planned.

The GA2020 conference forum was due to be held on Wednesday, March 18, at Tabcorp Park Melton but a number of key speakers are unable to attend because of travel difficulties caused by the virus.

Genetics Australia CEO Anthony Shelly said the decision to postpone was unfortunate but unavoidable.

"The forum has been postponed until a date to be advised but the Thursday and Friday tour of farms in Gippsland will proceed as planned," he said.

"We apologise for this inconvenience but I'm sure people will appreciate that it's beyond our control."

Event organisers are adjusting the tour to add further value to delegates including a presentation by Vetoquinol's Sophia Edwards regarding fixed time artificial insemination.

A Gippsland dairy farm will open its robotic dairy and showcase some of its finest cows as part of the farm tour.

The tour will visit the Williams family farm at Yannathan, Vic, on Friday to see the robotic dairy in action and the successful results of their progressive breeding program with Genetics Australia.

Evan Williams and his wife Sheriden run the farm with their daughter Georgi and son-in-law Graeme.

The robotic dairy started in November 2018 and while it hasn't revolutionised the farm, it has been a success.

"It's all coming together nicely, and it has been good for us as a family," Mr Williams said.

"It doesn't necessarily mean more time but it's a different lifestyle which we're enjoying."

Whilst there hasn't been a noticeable improvement in production, Mr Williams remains happy with his herd's performance.

"We're pretty much the same production level as before the new dairy but that's a bit seasonal as well.

"We're producing about 9000 litres and we're happy with that. More is always better but it's about efficiency and making a dollar at the end of the day."

The robotic milkers were installed by GEA, which is sponsoring the tour.

The tour participants will also see a selection of the 120-hectare farm's best cows from Evansher Holsteins, developed in conjunction with Genetics Australia.

"That has been part of stepping up the herd," Mr Williams said.

"It's a good herd and we'll select half a dozen cows related to Genetics Australia which will be good to show people."

The conference aimed to examine future directions in genetics with a horizon of 2030.

People who registered for the Wednesday forum will be refunded.

People wanting to attend the farm tours can register via the Genetics Australia website: genaust.com.au.

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