Today we started the morning by having breakfast at the local Victorian Hotel. We all got eggs and toast with an option of bacon or sausage. We got the opportunity to try some vegemite, which is an Australian toast spread similar to Nutella. After some of the boys had to be awoken from their beauty sleep, we were on the road and heading to a local dairy farm.
|Bayley taking notes while Glen and Roma talk about artificial insemination.|
Roma and Glenn Britnell have three dairy farms across Victoria and milk 1,000 head, which is quite large for this part of the state. Their farm is family operated and part of a corporation. The farm we visited had 330 head of cows that are milked twice a day in a 24 head swing parlor. It takes about 3 hours to milk the 330 head and can be done by one person. They are milked 300 days a year and produce about 40 liters a day. The cows are synchronized over three days and then released with a bull. They calve at two separate times throughout the year, and once calving season starts, they have 150 calves in seven days. Once the calf is born it is given 2 liters of colostrum within its first 12 hours and 2 liters within the next 24 hours. They are put into 1 of 4 pens with 10-12 calves per pen. Each calf is given 2 liters of milk 2 times a day. The cows are on pasture most of the year, but are also given a partial mixed ration. It is two parts grain, one part hay, one part silage, and three to four tons of grass. Each cow eats about 6-7 tons a year of this mixture along with the rye grass that they have planted in the pasture.
|The SDSU group with Roma and Glen Britnell in front of their hay barn.|
|SDSU students listening to Roma and Glen talk about how they got a start in the Australia dairy industry.|
|Roma speaking to SDSU students about her families operation.|
After visiting Roma and Glen we then loaded up the bus and headed to our next stop, which was about an hour drive to Hopkins River Beef near Dunkeld. Sandy and Claire owners of Hopkins River Beef first welcomed us along with their dog Cruiser into their house for some chips and dip to start off. After having some small talk with them they then fed us lunch. We had Australian hotdogs with tea and coffee to follow. After chatting we then proceeded to take a tour of the vast pasture ground that Hopkins River Beed raises cattle on. They contract about 2,500 steers every year to many food supplying chains in Australia, like Coles a leading super market chain in Australia, also to many leading restaurants and local butcher shops in the area and even to the famous McDonalds. With the very flat pasture land surrounded by the mountain ranges cutting through them it lead for some breathtaking sites. Sandy showed us the TMR that they use at Hopkins River Beef as well as their cattle working barn that was built from the research of Temple Grandin.
|Sandy, owner of Hopkins River Beef, speaking to students about his families Temple Grandin set up.|
|The breathtaking view from Hopkins River Beef farm.|
|More of the breathtaking view from Hopkins River Beef farm.|
|The mixed ration Hopkin River Beef farm uses to feed its cattle.|
After our visit there we then headed to Hamilton which is known as the “Wool Capital of the World” where we would check into our hotel and have the night free to ourselves!
Maggie, Macey and Ben