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

Seasonal update - July/August  

Hay and Grain

Hear from Kate Bourke about the start to the cropping season and the outlook for hay and grain. 

Rainfall and soil moisture 

Hear from Dale Grey with the Dairy Seasonal Update from our July events 

August Action Plan

Presenters at our Seasonal Update events suggested you focus on the following three actions to set up for the season: 

1. Budgets

  • Start by reviewing your current position and identifying any feed and water gaps.
  • Test your budget for different scenarios including average and dry conditions. The Murray Dairy Feed and Water Budget tool might be helpful (see below). 
  • Get an income estimate from your processor, rather than working on "announced prices"
  • Focus on the marginal, rather than the average. With your DairyBase data, you can use the Murray Dairy Business Tool (below) to test the impact of small adjustments (such as cow numbers and feed production) to your business under different scenarios.

2. Contact growers about your feed requirements

  • Good relationships are key, especially in the face of competition. Growers are looking for clear market signals.
  • Formalise your commitments. AFIA has contract information for growers and buyers. 
  • A number of growers have increased their storage on farm to preserve quality feed. This could provide opportunities to secure feed now, for delivery later in the season.
  • Hay and grain prices are likely to come down between now and harvest. Look for opportunities to secure cheaper feeds (without compromising on quality).
  • Purchase feed on a dry matter basis.

3. Sort out finance

  • Lenders will be looking to see that businesses have strategies to manage a range of scenarios this season.
  • From what we’re hearing, there can be frustrating delays on securing finance so the sooner you can have these discussions the better.
  • Make the most of a free one-to-one Taking Stock consultation to review your budgets. Work with an advisor of your choice, looking at any aspect of your business management, from feed plans and water budgeting to herd decisions and next steps. 
  • Copy Link Feed and business management tools

    Dairy Feed Tools

    This complete feed management tool set has data from your region and helps with on-farm tasks including creating feed plans and setting up inventories. Sign up here.

    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

    Autumn and Winter

    Missed our Advance your Autumn events? Catch up on the key messages, covering the water outlook, global and domestic market trends, feed prices and tips for managing cereals and pastures in dry conditions. 

    Use the Accelerating Change Winter Cereals Timeline and Agriculture Victoria's Forage Cereal Guide to help select, prepare for and manage your cereals this autumn. 

    Check out Dairy Australia's Feed Planning website for factsheets on pasture renovation, cultivar selection and agronomic management. 

    Irrigating with groundwater

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

    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. 

    Conserving spring feed  

    Review our the Quality Pasture Silage - Five Easy Steps manual, outlining: 1) Cut early in the season; 2) Wilt quickly and harvest ASAP; 3) Compact as densely as possible; 4) Seal quickly and well; 5) Repair holes immediately. 

    Hear from silage expert, David Lewis, and Riverina farmer, Lachlan Marshall, about optimising this season's fodder through good management around harvest and conservation. 

    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 

    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 August to October Outlook 2019 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.  


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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