Michael and Dawn Waite - Ecklin, Victoria, Australia
|Source : Dairy Australia - Landcare|
Enhancing biodiversity and productivity through:
- Fencing off remanent vegetation
- Rehabilitating and protecting waterways
- Planting shelterbelts
- Planting new pastures
- Capturing nutrients from dairy effluent
- Developing soil nutrient maps
New pastures using much more productive and sustainable perennial species has resulted in a significant lift in total ‘home grown feed’ which has allowed the milking herd to be raised from 200 cows in 2005 to over 300 cows in 2009.
Mike and Dawn Waite are only newcomers to dairy farming in Australia. They purchased their 121.4.ha farm in the Ecklin South area of South West Victoria in April 2005. The dairy farm they purchased had lots of production potential being in a very secure rainfall area of Victoria but presented the new owners with many challenges as a number of farm aspects were not previously managed in a very environmentally friendly manner.
Soil nutrient maps were non existent, stock shelter was very poor, effluent overflow found its way into a major waterway, paddocks were not fenced to land capability and pasture productivity was lees than satisfactory.
In the last 3 years, the Waite family has totally transformed the farm into a showcase of environmental best practice management.
The major waterway (Deep Creek) has been fenced out and revegetated with over 6000 trees. In addition, over 3ha of direct seeded plantations has been established along boundaries of newly subdivided paddocks which address better land use capability. The new shelterbelts are already providing good results with better shelter, increased biodiversity and landscape improvement.
Dairy effluent is now captured in 3 new ponds and is reticulated over the farm with new spray irrigation system capable of reaching paddocks up to i.5km from the dairy. The use of nutrient in the affluent will substantially reduce dependency of bought in fertiliser and quality of water in local waterways greatly improved by managing effluent to a industry best practice standard.
New pastures using much more productive and sustainable perennial species has resulted in a significant lift in total ‘home grown feed’ which has allowed the milking herd to be raised from 200 cows in 2005 to over 300 cows in 2009. All young and replacement stock are carried on the farm and productivity increases have meant little off farm feed is required to sustain production.
The rapid change to farm layout and environmental best practice management has resulted in much interest by local farmers and education groups to visit the farm to see how such effective changes and improvements have been achieved in such a short time frame. Mike and Dawn have been very proactive in engaging with the local community and service providers both offering their own support and networking with the farming public. Mike is currently the secretary of the Brucknell Creek Landcare Group and it also on the advisory board of Land Health Committees of the Glenelg Hopkins CMA.