History of the Farm
The farm is in the Macalister Irrigation District (MID) which is home to 27% of the Gippsland dairy industry. Dairying is the largest agricultural contributor to Gippsland.
The MDF is recognised by funders and dairy industry groups as a credible and reliable organisation that has a strong history of delivering projects that are relevant to local farmers and meeting the expectations of project partners and stakeholders. As part of its philosophy the MDF actively seeks to partner with any reputable organisation or agency in the development and delivery of new projects and resources to advance the skills of MID dairy farmers.
Over 50 years, the MDF has conducted numerous research and demonstration projects dealing with most issues relating to the management and operation of dairy farms in Victoria, but particularly to those dairy farms in the Macalister Irrigation District. Projects range from the demonstration of treated pine posts with high tensile wire, and early chemical weed control in the 1960s to the demonstration of high tech irrigation systems fifty years later.
As part of its philosophy the MDF actively seeks to partner with any reputable organisation or agency in the development and delivery of new projects and resources to advance the skills of MID dairy farmers.
A sample of some of the projects conducted since 2000 are:
- Profitable Dairy Farming Systems Demonstration (High vs Moderate input feeding systems);
- Demonstration of Whole-Farm Irrigation and Nutrient Management and Nutrient Reduction Plan (main site for a national project on nutrient and water movement on and off the farm)
- Demonstration of Fixed Sprinkler Irrigation
- Community Water Grants project to reduce drainage losses from the farm
- Perennial Ryegrass evaluation trial
- Demonstration of Occupational Health and Safety on the farm
- Demonstration of Bovine Johne’s Disease eradication programme
- Production of all farm financial statements for use in benchmarking throughout Australia
- Demonstration of best practice management of dairy effluent ponds and their nutrients, and impact on profitability
- Sub-surface drip irrigation for dairy pastures project.
- Assessment of carbon emissions generated by the farm and an exploration of carbon mitigation and carbon offset options.
- Protection of ancient redgums
The MDF seeks input annually from shareholders and stakeholders about the sorts of programs and projects to be developed. This is overlayed over the strategic direction set by the Board to determine project priorities.
The MDF is recognised by funders and dairy industry groups as a credible and reliable organisation that has a strong history of delivering projects that are relevant to local farmers and meeting the expectations of project partners and stakeholders.
In 2010 the Macalister Demonstration Farm was awarded the inaugural Fonterra Dairy Leadership Award at the Regional Achievement and Community Awards for industry leadership over fifty years.
In 2011 the Macalister Demonstration Farm was a finalist in both the Banksia Environmental Awards and the NAB Agribusiness Awards.
The Board of the Macalister Demonstration Farm is made up of six dairy industry representatives plus the Chairman. Whilst there is no requirement for members to be farmers there is a preference for a strong farmer representation. Board members serve a two year term with half of them either retiring or up for re-election each year to ensure continuity.
Rachael joined the board in 2015. Rachael and her husband, Hayden, are from dairy farming families in New Zealand and moved to Australia about 7 ½ years ago. They own two farms – a 400 cow farm at Denison and a 450 cow farm at Fulham. Rachael has a strong interest in HR and, along with qualifications in Agriculture and Agribusiness Management, has attained a Diploma in HR (Dairy).
Colin joined the MDF Board in October 2010 for his third stint as a Director. He was first appointed in 1996, then served again from 1997 to 2000. Colin is an accountant with Phillipsons in Sale and has had a long interest in Limousin cattle breeding.
Brad White – Deputy Chairman
Brad joined the MDF Board in October 2010 and became Deputy Chairman in October 2011. Brad is a dairy farmer on the family farm at Riverslea.
Mike joined the MDF Board in October 2014. Mike and his wife Sarah are sharefarmers at Denison.
Mark joined the MDF Board in October 2008, serving as Chairman from 2010 to 2015. Mark is a veterinary consultant and has been leading DA’s Countdown 2020 Project since 2013.
Neil Baker – Chairman
Neil was appointed to the MDF Board in October 2013, and became Chairman in 2015. Neil is trained in Agricultural Science and lived in the MID for more than 30 years before retiring to Lakes Entrance in 2012. Neil is no newcomer to the MDF having been employed as the MDF’s Cooperative Manager prior to his retirement.
Bill joined the MDF Board in October 2008. Bill is a trainer of farm apprentices and operates a Hereford cattle stud. He has had a long interest in cattle breeding.
Second in Charge (2-i-C)
Co-op Rules and Policies