Dr. Brad Jacobs
Ian Griffiths, US Meredith Dairy
Meredith Dairy is an on-farm enterprise, milking sheep and goats year-round to make specialty cheeses and yoghurts.
Up until 1990 farming at Meredith focused on beef, prime lamb and wool production. When the reserve price for wool was discontinued in the 1990s, the sheep industry collapsed. To stay viable it was necessary to search for alternative farming systems, in particular, options that involved value-adding primary produce and which offered a sustainable income, irrespective of global commodity prices.
The owners, Sandy & Julie Cameron extensively researched animal husbandry, sheep and goat milk production and cheese-making techniques. Two years later the Meredith Dairy factory was built on the farm. The farming activities now concentrate on supply of inputs for the dairy animals including growing grains and fodder.
Sandy, a qualified Veterinarian who received his doctorate in philosophy in 1985, has focused his research in sheep & goat reproduction, particularly in year-round production. Ongoing research and development enable continual improvement to farming systems, final products and sustainability.
Meredith Dairy is located at Meredith in Victoria, Australia approximately 100km west of Melbourne. Along with Dairying, the farm grows wheat, barley and other grains for the dairy animals.
Note: Meredith Dairy does not grow GMO crops.
On the farm there are remnant native grasslands, Australian native bush, and wetlands. These areas are protected within the boundaries of the farm. Tree plantations & revegetation of native plants have been established to shelter stock and promote biodiversity. Biodiversity surveys have identified significant flora & fauna including; Kangaroos, koalas, platypus, numerous birds and reptiles as well as vulnerable or endangered native plants.
The Cameron family are acutely aware of climate change and its consequences. Farm activities must be sustainable to ensure the dairy remains viable.
Conservation activities include:
- Annual tree planting program. This promotes biodiversity as well as faciliates C02 sequestration.
- No till cropping, direct drill sowing of crops, stubble retention & control traffic prevents soil compaction, retains moisture, promotes organic material, soil microbes & wind erosion.
- Monitor & replenish soil nutrients.
- Rotate plantings of clovers & Lucerne which promote soil fertility.
- Purchase green power and use renewable Biofuel (when available).
- Solar hot water systems.
- Stock rotation and exclusion from sensitive landscapes eg waterways.
- Monitor via surveys of biodiversity, stream quality & Carbon consumption.