Smells from the sixties

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…

Turning grass into milk

Turning grass into milk

Friesen dairy cow

Friesian dairy cow

Waiting to be milked

Waiting to be milked

Rotary milking shed, milks 42 cows at the same time

Rotary milking shed, milks 42 cows at the same time

Here are the girls, they are milked twice a day

Here are the girls, they are milked twice a day

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.

An industry in crisis

  • 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.
Old milking shed, no longer in use but it makes a good photo oportunity

Old milking shed, no longer in use but it makes a good photo opportunity

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.

Irrigating the land in preparation for a maize crop. Just look at the colour of the soil.

Irrigating the land in preparation for a maize crop. Just look at the colour of the soil. Can you spot the rainbow?

Rolling, fertile farmland

Rolling, fertile farmland

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Categories: Atherton Tableland, Australia, photos, travel | Tags: , , , | 12 Comments

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12 thoughts on “Smells from the sixties

  1. Thanks for the reminder. Milk these days, doesn’t taste of anything. 😦

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    • I brought my children up on milk fresh from the cows, rich and creamy, no sterilisation, pasteurizing or any thing else they now do to de-taste milk. You are right, today it is insipid. I now drink soy milk!!!

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  2. The Dairy Farmers too here in the UK are struggling with Milk prices as the Big supermarkets buy in bulk and control price…
    Growing up in the country in the UK I would see daily the cows being called in to be milked, they would amble along their well worn paths in the fields back to the milking sheds all the farmer had to do was call them, they didnt even have to be herded as their udders were heavy with milk…

    Arrgh so sad that these old ways of being are disappearing Pauline… Loved this post as you took me down my own memory lane with your photos..
    Sue xox

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    • Thanks for the comment Sue. It seems to be a world wide fact of life that we are loosing our heritage and old fashioned (but good) ways of life.

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  3. Love the look of the black and white fresians – when we’re coming home from NSW that’s the first thing I look for as we cross the border into Victoria.
    Unfortunately milk producers here in the Shepparton area are having the same problems

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  4. So interesting. What a fascinating life you lead…….

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  5. Cows are also evocative for me. When I was 18, I spent a year working on a small arable farm in Switzerland, and just the smell of a farmyard takes me back there……and to my first love!

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    • Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment. I agree farming is a hard life but I think it is a very satisfying way of life

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