When Maleny Dairies milk producers, Keith and Sonya Hopper were first told of a different approach as to how they managed pastures to feed their cows, they were sceptical. Like many other farmers they had heard it all before.
So, when Danny Hood of Global Boss International and John Moor of GrowMoor Biological proposed a radical approach to growing their next crop of grasses they were less than enthusiastic.
Keith Hopper, John Moor and Danny Hood at Maleny Dairies
In an industry where costs are high, profits low and farmers are stressed because there is no room for error, it’s a risk that many simply cannot afford to take.
However, on a warm Summers day, when Keith Hopper was approached, he was prepared to spare an eight-acre paddock and give it a shot.
The paddock was sowed with a variety of grasses and a local bio-fertiliser “Rural Boss” replaced chemicals and forty-five days later the results surprised everyone.
There was more grass than they needed, and each cow was producing, on average, one litre more a day than previously.
So successful has this test pilot been that Keith and Sonya Hopper are now adopting this farming method across their remaining paddocks and the results will continue to be monitored and recorded.
The benefit is not just an increase in milk production but also in being able to harvest excess grasses and store them away as feed store for times of drought or in the winter months.
Danny Hood, CEO of Global Boss International who is a fifth-generation farmer said, “the approach is all about transitioning farmers from traditional agriculture to regenerative biological practices.”
“This approach is not about throwing grass seeds down and using chemical fertilisers to get that grass to grow. We look at the soil health and work on constantly improving biology by planting grasses and plants that will enhance the soil composition,” he said.
John Moor, a local biological consultant who owns and operates a dairy business in South Africa milking 850 cows on biologically grown pastures, believes this approach to farming will change the face of the dairy industry in Australia.
“I know this approach to farming works because I introduced it to my own dairy farm. It took me ten years to fully convert it to a completely biologically focussed operation, but that experience means other farmers can now benefit from that experience and see results quickly as is the case with Maleny Dairies.
“I am excited to be working on this project because it offers hope to an industry where hope was all but gone. Not only will it make our dairy farmers profitable again, it also impacts our environment in a really
positive way – everyone gains from this”.
And Keith Hopper, a milk producer for Maleny Dairies, could not agree more.
“I’ll admit we were not convinced at first. I have to say we are completely blown away at not only the results, but how quickly we achieved them”, he said.
“We have now started to adopt these same principles to our other paddocks and cannot wait to see the results we start to achieve once we are feeding the cows on this improved pasture all of the time.
“For the first time, I feel there is hope for the dairy industry”, he said
Government support is now needed to expand the project regionally which will ultimately see increased farm profitability, encourage farmers to return to the industry, increase regional employment, improve milk quality, mitigate social issues associated with an industry under duress and in decline, improve water quality by limiting sediment runoff, reinforce the regions sustainability credentials and establish change for the national dairy industry.
Global Boss International, GrowMoor Biological and Maleny Dairies are sharing more of their outstanding results from this pilot project, in an invite only field day for key stakeholders on 23rd July 2020.