Rather than learning to simply cope with climate change, dairy farmers will come together next week in an effort to capitalise on the opportunities it presents.
Chris Hibburt from The Vet Group said farmers were clever, resourceful people. He said farming practices had always adapted to change and climate change was no different.
“We want to help dairy farmers understand that the variable climate we live in will continue to give us challenges and impact on cow performance and farm profitability,” he said.
“With predictions for increased variability of the climate, we’re really keen to focus positively on what opportunities that presents for farmers.”
The Vet Group, in conjunction with Notman Pasture Seeds, will host a ‘Dairying in a changing climate’ field day at John and Kathy Dalton’s farm in Naringal.
“Our key resources for farming are our soils and moisture. Part of the day will be about how we could use these resources differently to manage our vulnerability,” he said.
“If we’re looking at more dry winters for example, then it’s about seeing that as an opportunity to grow some spring forage crops like cereals and knowing we can get through winter without damaging our pastures.
“Living with increased vulnerability due to the climate could also mean reconsidering things like the time of year we calve our cows, or switching to multiple calving periods. Late autumn, early winter calvings might just become too tough.”
Dr Hibburt said the day would feature researchers from the Dairy Businesses For Future Climates project who would share some revealing research.
“They’ve modelled different strategies like intensifying or deintensifying dairy farming systems to assess the impact on pasture growth and animal performance,” he said.
“The team from Notman Pasture Seeds will also share their experience in terms of optimising winter and spring soil moisture to grow more feed and the advancements that have been made over 15 years to improve pasture and crop yields.
“We also want our district farmers to share their experiences and knowledge as part of a broader panel discussion.”
The field day will be held at the Dalton’s farm in Rae’s Road Naringal from 10.30am to 2pm on Thursday, March 17. Lunch will be provided by CommBank. For more information please call The Vet Group on 1300 838 700.