Colac farmers think pink for a cause

Sam Simpson and Mark Billing use pink silage wrap at Colac

Dairy
FAMILY SUPPORT: Larpent, Vic, dairy farmers Sam Simpson and Mark Billing with their children Bella, Biddy, Tom and Henry (at front).

FAMILY SUPPORT: Larpent, Vic, dairy farmers Sam Simpson and Mark Billing with their children Bella, Biddy, Tom and Henry (at front).

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A Victorian dairy farming family uses pink silage wrap to raise funds for and awareness of breast cancer.

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Every season, the pink silage bales on the outskirts of Colac in western Victoria are hard to miss. Plump and round, they are evenly placed throughout the green ryegrass paddocks that run adjacent to the Princes Highway, heading west.

The bales stand-out - and that's exactly what Sam Simpson wants.

"We've had a lot of people contact us when they see us doing the pink bales, because they are always in the paddocks that are right against the road," the dairy farmer said.

"It shows people that we support, well one - the charity and two - the other people fighting the disease themselves. We also post on social media so people who might want to come and see the pink bales, they have the opportunity to do so."

There are plenty of people who take-up Sam and her husband Mark Billing's offer to watch baling and wrapping.

PINK BALES: The pink silage bales on the farm outside of Colac, Vic.

PINK BALES: The pink silage bales on the farm outside of Colac, Vic.

But using pink silage wrap is not just about spreading breast cancer awareness, the couple like that the wrap supports a charity that returns money into the community.

In addition, as Ms Simpson explained, they need to buy silage wrap annually anyway.

"It is handy to have charitable organisations work in with goods that you ordinarily have to buy anyway, and it is not continually asking you to put your hand in your pocket to give extra money to charity," she said.

"Given we always need to buy silage wrap and somebody has partnered with a charity organisation to donate a portion of the silage wrap, it makes sense that it's one of the ways we do our corporate good or social licence. We treat it as our yearly donation."

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The couple milks 430 Holsteins at Larpent, Vic, and last year made about 5000 round bales of silage across their home farm and at a Gellibrand, Vic, out-paddock.

This silage provides about 95 per cent of the forage requirements for all the animals on farm, the exception could be a bit of bought-in hay for some calves or dry cows.

The link with the McGrath Foundation was a driving force behind their decision to use pink silage wrap.

"It is a fantastic charity because it funds the breast cancer nurses that are in our communities," Ms Simpson said. "We are not donating money that is going into some enormous pool for research, we are seeing the results ourselves. We are seeing Michelle - the breast cancer nurse here - in our own community helping people we know, and that's why we do the pink bales."

Article supplied by Tama Australia, website www.tama-australia.com.au.

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