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Tools, resources and seasonal information for dairy farmers in the Murray region

Seasonal Reminders 

Look for opportunities in the feed market

Coming to the end of hay season, there's good quality, affordable feed available. Secure your feed now to take the worry out of summer. As a buyer, follow these three steps to ensure you're getting the best for your herd: 

  1. Feed test
  2. Secure Vendor Declarations - click here to download a template from AFIA
  3. Buy on a dry matter basis

Dairy Australia's Hay & Grain report provides updates on what's selling in your area and how much it's going for. 

Safeguard your feed

Feed that you store now is summer's milk production. There are three practical steps you can take to safeguard it for the season: 

  1. Test it
  2. Store it well
  3. Insure it

For practical advice from the CFA on storing and checking your feed to prevent fires, click here

If you have more feed in storage than you did last year, you may not have it all covered - call your insurer to check. 

Set up for summer

Most farmers in the region will be transitioning their cows onto temporary feed areas or sacrifice paddocks over summer. Getting the set-up right can help to maintain productivity and effectively use the feeds you have on hand. A good set-up also offers enormous benefits to your herd's health and welfare. 

Download the summary from our Transitioning to Temporary Feed Areas events to find out what you can do to prepare. 

Gradually transition cows onto new diets 

Transition your cows on to new diets gradually to maintain good rumen health and production. Hear more from Dairy Nutritionist, Steve Little: 

  • Copy Link Feed and business management tools

    Feed Budgeting Excel Tool 

    Download this feed budgeting tool to help you review your feed supply and demand over a 3, 6, 9 and 12 month period. Click to download

    Murray Dairy Feed and Water Budget Tool 

    This back-of-the-envelope tool is a quick way to plan for feed and water needs for the coming season. Click to download

    Murray Dairy Business Tool  

    Using DairyBase data, this tool can be used for budget development and planning for the coming year. The tool will help you to assess the effect of adjustments to your business under different scenarios. Click to download the Murray Dairy Business Tool and User Manual.


  • Copy Link Feed, fertiliser and water

    Setting up for Summer

    Many farmers in the Murray Dairy region will use temporary feeding areas or sacrifice paddocks this summer. Getting the set-up right can help to maintain productivity and effectively use the feeds you have on hand. A good set up also offers enormous benefits to your herd’s health and welfare.

    A list of considerations, and the must-know standards and regulations, are included in this summary: Transitioning to Temporary Feed Areas

    Summer cropping options

    Check our Summer Cropping factsheets on Sorghum & Millet and Maize for things you should consider when planning for this season. 

    Use our Summer Crops Gross Margins calculator to work out the cost of production and the likely return on your crop (updated version 2018). Calculate the value of these feeds in terms of energy (MJ/$) by using this simple spreadsheet

    Hear from Murray Dairy Extension Officer, Lisa Birrell, and local agronomist, Brad Caldwell with the key messages from our Successful Summer Cropping workshops. 

    Irrigating with groundwater

    Understand the short and long term impacts of groundwater and how to manage them. Download Agriculture Victoria's Groundwater factsheet

    Transitioning to new feeds   

    It's important that cows are transitioned on to new feeds gradually to maintain rumen function and productivity. Hear more from Steve Little:

    Making and feeding canola hay or silage 

    Download a copy of AgVic's factsheet on Cutting Failed Crops for Hay or Silage or hear from Kate Burke about things to consider when cutting, storing and feeding out canola fodder. 

    If you're baling or buying wet hay, review NSW DPI's factsheet on Preventing Hay Fires. It includes some tips for reducing the risk of combustion and for monitoring hay in warm weather. 

  • Copy Link Support and services for dairy farmers

    Assistance for farmers  

    Download this list of funding opportunities and services available to assist dairy farmers across Victoria and NSW. The list includes grants, low-interest loans, financial packages and other assistance available to all farmers, whether they are in drought affected areas or not. 

    Personalised consultations - get a fresh perspective on your options

    All dairy businesses are able to access a free, personalised Taking Stock consultation on offer from Murray Dairy and Dairy Australia. Work with an adviser of your choice to review plans, budgets or options for the coming season or the longer-term. 

    Consultations could include: 

    • Feed or water budgeting (working out how much feed and/or water to buy) 
    • Nutrition planning
    • Evaluating different options for the coming season (irrigate vs. buy in feed?)
    • Herd decisions 
    • Reviewing your financial position, setting up budgets and talking to the bank 
    • Planning for succession or exit 

    Once you've registered with Murray Dairy, the rest is between you and your chosen consultant. These sessions remain confidential. 

    Lachlan Barnes, Murray Dairy
    E: lachlanb@murraydairy.com.au
    P: (03) 5833 5312

  • Copy Link Industry and community events

    Murray Dairy extension services 

    We are partnering with other service providers to deliver programs to help you manage the season. To keep up to date with our upcoming extension delivery, sign up to our eNews or visit our Events Calendar

    Alternatively, contact one of our Extension Officers about specific inquiries across the program areas of: Animal Performance; Feedbase and Animal Nutrition; Land, Water & Climate; Farm Business Management and Animal Performance. 

    Discussion Groups

    Murray Dairy has over 25 Discussion Groups and Dairy Business Network groups, including five specifically for young farmers and newer entrants to the industry. Whilst some are closed groups, others are open to new members. Give us a call to find out what's happening in your area. 

    Dairy Australia also offers funding to new Discussion Groups. You can start one with others who farm locally or who share your business interests. Click here for information. 

    Local community events 

    Local community events are listed in our eNews and Events Calendar

  • Copy Link Taking care of yourself and others

    The Occasional Counsellor for Service Providers

    The Occasional Counsellor workshops are designed for people who are not employed in a counselling role but are called upon to give others emotional support. The focus of the workshops is on teaching participants strategies for assisting individuals who are upset, stressed, angry or confused, whilst clearly remaining within their role. Murray Dairy is running a series of workshops. Check our Events Calendar or get in touch with us to find out more. 

    Mental health resources

  • Copy Link Seasonal updates: climate, commodities and inputs

    Situation Reports 

    Situation Reports are produced regularly to provide up-to-date information about seasonal conditions, markets and other factors impacting on dairy businesses operating in the Murray region. Reports also highlight current and emerging issues for industry. Contact Murray Dairy to subscribe to the Situation Report mailing list.   

    Outlooks & Forecasts 

    Information that may assist you in your business planning. 


    The Bureau of Meteorology's November 2019 to January 2020 Outlook covers rainfall, streamflow and temperature for the next three months. It includes a wrap-up of recent conditions and a look at which drivers are influencing our climate.


    The ABARES June Agricultural Commodities report contains the latest outlook for Australia's key agricultural commodities to 2023–24.

    Farm inputs

    Dairy Australia's Hay & Grain Report is regularly updated to provide an independent and timely assessment of hay and grain markets in each dairying region. 


    The Northern Victorian Resource Manager provides information on: current allocations, Seasonal Water Determinations, inflows and water in accounts.  Agriculture Victoria issues a Weekly Irrigation Requirements email providing local forecasts for evapotranspiration to assist with irrigation scheduling. 


Dairy biosecurity

Dairy biosecurity is vital for protecting your farm. Dairy farmers and their advisors now have access to a new online biosecurity tool to build their skills and adapt their management approach to biosecurity risks.

Hay and grain reports

The hay and grain report is commissioned by Dairy Australia to provide an independent and timely assessment of hay and grain markets in each dairying region. The report is updated 40 weeks per year.

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