A prominent northern Victorian dairy farmer and a passionate industry advocate has decided to depart the region as a result of high water prices and changing climate.
Katunga dairy farmer Daryl Hoey said he had struggled to come to terms with the changes that had occurred in the region during recent years as climate change took hold.
After making the decision to sell his property in December, Mr Hoey will relocate to south Gippsland at the start of next month after more than 25 years in the Goulburn Valley.
‘‘The main issue was the way in which this region has changed over the years, both in terms of water and climate. I’m a strong climate change believer,’’ he said.
‘‘With the rainfall and allocation and the extreme heat we’ve been experiencing, it just concerned me.
‘‘I knew it would just get more and more difficult and I didn’t want to go down the path of sheds or adding more infrastructure ... that’s not me. That’s not where I’m comfortable and that’s not where my skill set is.’’
The continued seasonal uncertainty and high cost of production was compounded by water prices that began to climb well over $400/Ml in December.
‘‘I did the budget and and we were looking at well over $200000 just to ensure we got a decent start. I just couldn’t see the sense in paying that. That was the final straw,’’ Mr Hoey said.
‘‘I felt like it was going to be more of a frequent occurrence rather than a rarity.’’
Mr Hoey’s departure comes on the back of a spate of other departures from the area and industry.
But he said the dairy industry would continue in northern Victoria — it would simply look vastly different.
‘‘There is a future in the region, but it’s going to come at a price. The ones that stay in it will be considerably bigger and a lot more reliant on feeding out, feedpads and shedding,’’ he said.
A passionate advocate for the region and industry through the UDV and Murray Dairy, Mr Hoey has made the decision to step back from some of his roles ahead of his move.
‘‘It’s been a hell of a rocky ride,’’ he said.
‘‘I’m just going to continue to try and make a profitable and prosperous industry, however that is.’’
Mr Hoey has long tasted success in the region with his 300-strong herd of predominately Jerseys and a number of Holsteins and Aussie Reds.
In December he achieved the top Holstein, Jersey and Australian Red Breed in the Australian Breeding Values, a never before achieved feat.
But, after living in the Goulburn Valley since 1993, Mr Hoey will depart his Katunga property for the last time on May 1 and seven trucks of cattle, three trucks of machinery and a number of removal trucks will make their way down South Gippsland Hwy towards a new challenge.