Newspaper article Daily News (Warwick, Australia)

Dairyfarmers Battle Dry; {lsquo}Enough Rain to Keep Crops Alive, but Not to Grow.'

Newspaper article Daily News (Warwick, Australia)

Dairyfarmers Battle Dry; {lsquo}Enough Rain to Keep Crops Alive, but Not to Grow.'

Article excerpt

Byline: TONI SOMES

CLIFTON dairy farmer Peter Smith rates last year as one of the worst ever.

Rainfall was down, and what fell came at the wrong time for the Central Downs producer who has spent 13 years dairy farming in the region.

"We were about six inches short of our average annual rainfall last year, which made it difficult to grow feed," Mr Smith said.

He and his wife Debbie run an 80-head dairy at their Hurston Downs property.

Their herd is predominately pastured-fed, making the selection of what and when they plant crucial.

"They have cut our irrigating hours down to 40 per fortnight, so we have enough to keep things alive, but not to make them grow," Mr Smith said.

But milk quality is dependent on feed quality, which is why the Smiths have opted to grow Pacific BMR for the past eight years, adding its stablemate Pac 8421 two seasons ago.

"We're milking 80 Brown Swiss cows so we depend on good feed value. The cows milk well on the BMR forage because of its very sweet stems," Mr Smith said. …

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