ProDairy case study—Dr Lachlan Fehring —
Lachlan Fehring knew early in life that he wanted to be a vet. Growing up on the family dairy farm in Cohuna, a small country town of 2,400 people 274 kilometres north of Melbourne on the Murray River Highway, he was surrounded by animals.
Today he juggles being the senior veterinarian at the Border Veterinary Clinic in Cohuna and working a few hours a week on the family farm.
“When mum and dad were looking to transfer to retirement, myself and my three brothers decided that we wanted keep the business going because it is something we really loved,” he says. “So, we bought mum and dad out and I live on the farm with my youngest brother who manages the property. One of the other brothers is an engineer and the other in building and finance.”
Border Veterinary Clinic, with Apiam Animal Health offers the Prodairy program. Lachlan is one of the rare few who is a vet and a working dairy farmer. In fact, he helped to structure some of the programs.
“I can see first-hand what the day-to-day and long-term issues are on the farm. Cohuna is very dry because of a lack of irrigation and we had culled some of our herd just like other farmers in the area.
“We are also dealing with our hay increasing by about $100 a tonne because a lot of charities are buying the hay for bushfire affected areas.”
Lachlan said that offering clients the Prodairy meant that it enabled him to engage with farmers on a different level. “Prodairy enables me to look at a farm from many angles whether it is bio-security, welfare risks, milking levels and a myriad of other issues.
“However, in the end I have to make money for them or at least save them money. If it is costing a farmer $7 to $10 a day to feed a cow they really need to be producing 2kg of milk solids which is about $8 a kilogram. There is really not a lot of wiggle room so the fluctuations as we are seeing in water levels and hay prices does have an immediate effect.”
Our industry is constantly changing, and we are always learning, whether through better science, better management; even adapting what is working on another farm.
Lachlan said no two farms are the same “so you really need to listen to where they are going. Some farms are really good and have a lot of protocols in place, but many don’t and that is where we can add some real value.
The Prodairy program operates throughout Victoria and the southern part of NSW. More than 100 farms have joined the Prodairy Program since the program launched in July 2019, with nearly 10% of the Victorian dairy herd now on the program.
Lachlan is one of the rare few who is a vet and a working dairy farmer. In fact, he helped to structure some of the programs.
“Our industry is constantly changing, and we are always learning, whether through better science, better management; even adapting what is working on another farm.”