On the way to Atherton to buy the weeks groceries I noticed a sign for Gallo Dairyland. An enterprising dairy farmer has expanded his operation to allow the public to see where the milk they buy from the grocery store, hygienically presented in attractive cartons, has originally come from.
I turned into the farm-yard and as I opened the car door the overwhelming smell of silage, cows and milk wafted me back to the 1960’s. Silage is lush grass heaped up and heated to oven like temperatures. It rots into a compost like consistency and develops a rich, pungent aroma that catches the back of your throat, once smelt never forgotten, it is fed to the cows during winter when the grass growth slows down. Mix that with the earthy smell of cow manure and overtones of warm milk and that is dairy-farming.
I lived with that pervasive smell during the 1960’s when I milked cows in New Zealand. (See my “about me” page)
I wonder what city folks think as they are greeted by that smell for the first time and then see just where the sterile carton of milk on the super market shelves originated from…
Atherton Tablelands is the premium dairy-farming area in Australia. Sadly the industry is in decline due to the falling price the farmers are receiving for the milk.
- The Tableland has about 64 dairy farmers supplying either National Foods or boutique processor, Mungalli Creek .
- There were more than 200 dairy farms before deregulation.
This is fertile volcanic loam and with an average annual rainfall is 1,379.8 mm (54.3 in) spread through the year it is a good climate for grass growth and agriculture.
August and September are the dryer, cooler months and some dairy farms are converting into maize or mixed crops.