It gives me great pleasure to introduce you to the second on our Young Dairy Farming Champions for 2013. We previously profiled Cassie McDonald here
My name is Andrew D’Arcy and I am a 5th generation dairy farmer from the Bega Valley.
I am passionate about the future of agriculture and believe that there are endless opportunities in this industry.I was born in Bega, a beautiful coastal region located on the far south coast of New South Wales.
Bega is a great place to live as it is in close proximity to untouched, pristine beaches, situated a few mere hours away from the capital city and the snow fields, and is surrounded by a vast valley of hills to occupy my leisure time with motorbike riding, surfing, snowboarding, fishing, and wake boarding.
Cow painted by Bega Primary School students in 2007
I was educated at the local primary and secondary schools before I was fortunate enough to be able to pursue further education in agriculture at the University of Melbourne (Dookie campus). Over a period of four years I obtained a Bachelor of Rural Business. During this time I worked in different fields of agriculture such as beef cattle, sheep, horticulture, and dry and irrigated cropping. I believe that this experience allowed me to gain an understanding of how other agricultural enterprises work as well as obtain valuable knowledge that I have bought back to my own property. In 2007, I came back to Bega to work alongside my father, who also was born, raised and worked on the property for over 35 years.
My dad Tom D’Arcy
Currently, together we are both able to work and manage the family owned dairy farm, ‘Daisy Bank’ which consists of a milking herd of 420 cows. We are proud supplier to the iconic Australian brand Bega Cheese.
Recently in mid-2012, after many years of research our family decided to install a Lely robotic milking system. See the robotic dairy working at the Dornuaf farm in Tasmanian here
Currently we are operating a six unit system which operates on a pasture based voluntary milking system. This means the herd are able to move around the farm in a relaxed manner and come into the milking shed based off the desire to be milked, stimulation (cow brush) and feed incentives. The benefits of this innovative system include improved cow well-being, udder health, quicker mastitis and sick cow/illness detection, increased milk production and the opportunity to feed the cattle according to production thus an increased feed efficiency. Additionally, they provide the opportunity for a more flexible daily routine to allow more time to be spent on pasture development, environmental care, and calf and heifer rearing and training. Most importantly, the robotic milking system has allowed for an improved lifestyle, reducing the usual 7 day a week, 365 days of the year, early morning starts required for milking in a conventional herringbone or rotary dairy.
Over the years the dairy industry has created many great opportunities for me. I have been fortunate enough to travel throughout Australia & New Zealand on several different educational tours and conferences which has allowed me to gain a broader perspective on all different aspects involved in the dairy industry. These experiences have allowed me to view how far the Australian dairy industry has come over the past 100 years as well as highlighted the potential for the future of dairy and Australian agriculture.
With an ever increasing world population, the importance and need for agriculture is going to strengthen. This necessary demand will generate more career opportunities with boundless positions within the industry, not limited to farming alone but incorporating other fields such as agronomy, nutrition, marketing, engineering, research, science, accounting, veterinary, mechanical – the list is endless. Currently only 3% of Australians are working within agriculture which has decreased by 20% in the past decade. Additionally, at present Australian agriculture requires at least 6000 tertiary qualified graduates per year however there are only 800 students graduating annually in agriculturally associated degrees. These statistics alone highlight the importance of encouraging new people to get involved in agriculture.
We, the next generation need to be the driving force behind this positive change for the future of Australian agriculture.