Grant helps business

By Rodney Woods

A Lancaster dairy farmer has taken up the offer for a Victorian Government grant to help improve his business while struggling through drought-like conditions.

Nick Ryan, who trades under the name Woodbine Holdings with his wife Nicole and brother and sister-in-law Terry and Sandy Ryan, has taken up a $5000 infrastructure fund to upgrade the feeding operation for the 880 cows they are milking.

‘‘We are in the process of utilising that to upgrade our feedpad for some brought-in silage,’’ he said.

Mr Ryan said they had a plan in place to prepare for the conditions they faced this season but because it was a short-term plan it had not covered them completely.

‘‘We installed a plan early in the year,’’ he said.

‘‘We did the numbers on what hay, grain and water we required to see the year out with the desire to keep our herd numbers intact and our staff numbers in intact.

‘‘We’ve made our plan through to October, which is essentially a new harvest season for grain and fodder and we are hoping there is some reprieve after that, and that will make decisions easier again.

‘‘We had a 15-month plan so we are still in the lap of the gods a little bit with what happens next.’’

Victorian Agriculture Minister Jaclyn Symes was hosted by the Ryans as part of a tour to discuss the issues dairy farmers are facing and to see what farming systems they are using.

‘‘I just wanted to come up and see some of the approaches that dairy farmers are taking and I’ve seen two really innovative farms today (April 5),’’ she said.

‘‘One that’s employed a feedlot-type arrangement ... just out of Rochy (Rochester) as opposed to the partial pasture-based system here.’’

Ms Symes advised farmers to check out the Agriculture Victoria website for the help that was available, whether that be financial or informational.