Home' On The Land : November 10th 2011 Contents VICTORIA'S milk production has
remained steady in the early part
of this season, with a lift of 0.2 per
cent across July and August.
However, this raw figure
disguises a significant shift in
regional production figures.
Gippsland production has fallen,
south-west output has increased a
little, while the north has enjoyed
a marked increase.
Figures released by Dairy
Australia show that Gippsland's
production fell by 6.7 per cent in
July and 7.9 per cent in August.
The south-west, which had to
contend with similar wet condi-
tions, saw a drop of 1.5 per cent
in July but bounced back with a
3.3 per cent year-on-year lift in
August, leaving it one per cent
up across the final two months
The northern region lifted 5.3
per cent in July and a hefty 12 per
cent in August for a rise of 8.8 per
cent across the two months.
Jo Bills, manager of strategy and
knowledge at Dairy Australia, said
while Gippsland and the south-
west both had a tough winter,
conditions did not improve in
Gippland as rapidly as they did
in the south-west. "They haven't
had the sunshine and warmth to
help with pasture recovery.
"Conditions seem to have been a
little easier in the south-west."
She said two-thirds of Gippsland
dairy farmers surveyed at the end
of August said conditions were
still too wet.
In the north, 94 per cent said
conditions were ideal.
Ms Bills said the ideal condi-
tions in the north were only
partly responsible for the region's
"There have been 40 to 50 star-
tups or re-starts since the return
of water allocations.
"There's plenty of spare
infrastructure available in the
region, so it's easy for farmers to
Another factor was that the
region's farmers were better
prepared for the turnaround in
conditions this season.
"Last year they were caught on
the hop and didn't have time to re-
act to the improved conditions."
All regions have seen a decline
in the nutritional value of their
milk, with butterfat and protein
content down in all areas.
The south-west's milk had the
lowest butterfat content of 3.96 per
cent, compared to 4.08 per cent for
northern milk and 4.12 per cent
for Gippsland product.
Protein content was also low-
est in the south-west, at 3.29 per
cent, compared to 3.34 per cent
in Gippsland and 3.44 per cent in
Ms Bills said this was largely
due to the low quality of hay and
silage harvested last year.
The south-west produced 42.2
per cent of the state's milk during
July and August, Gippland pro-
duced 30.2 per cent and the north
accounted for 27.6 per cent.
Across the whole of last season,
the south-west, at 35.4 per cent,
was slightly behind Gippsland's'
36.3 per cent, while the north
accounted for 28.3 per cent.
THURSDAY, November 10, 2011 ON THE LAND -- 3
Two die in farm accidents
TWO farmers have died and two farm workers
are in hospital with life-threatening injuries
after a horror week of farm accidents.
Three of the incidents, including one of the
fatalities, involved harvesting or grass-cutting
A 68-year-old man died on Monday when
he was run over by a tractor and slasher he
had been repairing near Elmhurst.
A man was killed at Nagambie the previ-
ous Monday when he was crushed after a
hydraulic failure resulted in a slasher coming
down on him as he removed tangled wire
A contractor working near Yarram in south
Gippsland and another near Violet Town were
badly hurt at the weekend when machinery
re-activated as blockages were cleared.
The spate of accidents takes the number
of deaths on farms this year to nine --- half
of all the workplace fatalities in the state.
The incidents have prompted a warning
from WorkSafe's general manager of pera-
tions, Lisa Sturzenegger.
"It is only the start of the harvest season
and with a bumper crop expected in most
regions, the dangers often seen in farming
will be magnified, particularly if the weather
turns and people rush to get crops in.
"Arguably, harvest time is the most
dangerous time of year," Ms Sturzenegger
Farewell to breeder who
followed highland dream
By STEVE HYNES
Gippsland falls, north rises
ALLISTER Stewart's 85-year life
spanned several careers and many
achievements, but none so unusual
as becoming the world's largest
breeder of Scottish highland cat-
tle --- 20,000 kilometres from their
Mr Stewart, who established the
Ardvorlich cattle enterprise, south
of Mortlake, died at his home on
Throughout the 1960s, Mr Stewart
operated a dairy farm, but during
a trip to Scotland in 1973 with his
second wife, Davina, decided to em-
bark on a childhood dream to breed
highland cattle. He achieved his goal
against considerable odds.
Mr Stewart arranged to import
semen from Scotland. But there
were no viable female highlanders
in Australia and distance and cost
ruled out shipping live animals.
So he drew on his earlier experi-
ence, converting a Jersey dairy herd
to Friesian through successive
He used the highlander semen in
Jersey cows, choosing them because
they were whole coloured, horned,
produced palatable beef and had a
large gene pool in Australia.
After 22 half-crosses, using a new
sire for each generation, he bred
nearly 3000 highland cattle without
one live highland cow or embryo
After the second cross, Mr Stewart
knew he was on a winner as they
were similar to cattle eligible for
appendix B of the highland cattle
Rapid progress through the '80s
saw the cattle sold to most states
and by the time the first Australian
herd book was published, 900 of the
1944 cattle registered had at least
one Ardvorlich parent. Ardvorlich
bulls sired 15 per cent of cattle in
New Zealand's first herd book and
in excess of 25,000 highland cattle
have been born between the two
Mr Stewart was born in Footscray
and was married twice, first to
Margaret Makepeace, with whom he
had three children --- Andrew, Rohan
and Sally. He was widowed and
married Davina Fell and they had
three children Kenneth (deceased),
Heather and David. He is survived
by Davina, five of his six children
and seven grandchildren.
Allister Stewar t with highland cattle at his Mortlake property in 2005.
seem to have
been a little
easier in the
--- Jo Bills, Dairy Australia
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