THE Macalister Demonstration Farm at Riverslea recently hosted two delegations of high ranking government agricultural officials, development officers, livestock specialists and farm extension officers from Nepal.
Their goal was to gather information about farming for food and nutrition through good agricultural practices as part of a food and nutrition security project, and to be exposed to the people who are involved in farming programs.
The delegation met those involved in dairy farming, goat farming, cropping and vegetable farming so they could see Australian farm practices and discuss and ask questions about the industry, including animal health, government regulations, production issues, technologies generated, pasture development and management, marketing of products and future directions.
Organiser Carole Axton of Cadenza Boers in Stratford included the Macalister Demonstration Farm in the itinerary as an ideal place for such discussions.
The group was particularly surprised to find a crossbred herd, expecting to see many more Holsteins.
“In Nepal, commercial farmers have a very strong belief that the milk production of Holstein cows is so high and they are gradually shifting to raise this breed without considering the environmental factors,” Ms Axton said.
“When the delegation came to the demonstration farm they were very surprised to see that there was a strong component of other breeds in the production herd.
“They were very interested to hear how different breeds and their crosses can be affected differently by the environment and nutrition levels.
“Moreover, delegates were impressed with the forage production of the farm.
“It generated plenty of discussion on the tour bus.”
Ms Axton said one of the delegates even said they needed to rethink their dairying strategy, given the intense heat and humidity during the summer season, especially in the Terai region of Nepal.
“It was well worth the visit for them.”
The group also visited milking goat operations in Gippsland as part of their tour before moving onto northern Victoria.