Practical skills & teaching stars align to create… The Milky Way

Iconic Local Dairy Teams With Roseworthy’s Veterinary Students

A  unique partnership between Adelaide University and a Korunye-based dairy farm, believed to be the first of its kind in Australia, was officially opened last week and will train veterinary students of the future.

The family-owned and operated dryland commercial feedlot dairy, Bevan Park, situated just outside Two Wells, milks more than 400 cows twice a day and has been doing so for the past five decades.

Operating under the Wirrabank Holsteins stud, which has become known for its high standard and quality stock, manager Greg Wilson, along with wife Jeanine, dad Brian, mum Bev and a team of dedicated workers, have weathered the many ups and downs of the dairying industry.

The opening of the Dairy Practice Teaching Unit in partnership with Adelaide University’s acclaimed Roseworthy Agricultural College, will see the Wilsons step into a new frontier and at the same time give veterinary students access to a purpose–built facility and first hand access to working dairy cows.

University of Adelaide Vice-Chancellor, Professor Warren Bebbington, and dairy industry representative, James Stacey, officially opened the new facility on Wednesday, June 19.

Professor Bebbington said the Australian dairy industry faced significant challenges in the years ahead.

“There is no doubt that its future profitability will rely on input from well qualified veterinarians and animal scientists,” he said.

“The Dairy Practice Teaching Unit brings together the best of theoretical and practical education in modern dairy management and offers students a unique opportunity to learn from those at the forefront of the industry on an innovative working farm.

“Our graduates will have the knowledge and practical skills to contribute to the future health, welfare and productivity of the dairy industry.”

For Bevan Park manager, Greg Wilson – whose daughter Grace is the seventh generation to work at the dairy – the partnership was an economic decision, and a hard one at that to make – but one he feels works well for both parties.

“I think the attention to detail is certainly increasing (and) treating disease with new practices, new methods, is something they’ve brought us,” Greg said.

“Instead of us just treating ailments they look a lot further into the cause of those ailments, they will dig deeper. They’re putting time and effort and research into finding the next thing.

“Maybe the biggest things we might not see until a few more years (but) I learn something from them every day and they learn a lot more of the practical side of things too.”

The teaching unit incorporates a tutorial room, a holding yard, a foot-care area, an examination area, a linear race with three crushes and cattle weighing scales as well as wash-up facilities and storage rooms.

Adelaide University Head of the School of Animal and Veterinary Sciences, professor Kym Abbott also attended the opening and said the teaching of dairy cattle practice is a significant component of the veterinary and animal science programs.

“This facility is an important learning resource and gives our animal and veterinary science students the opportunity to learn in small groups so they can master the skills essential for modern dairy practice,” Professor Abbott said.

“Having the unit integrated into a working dairy farm means students will be able to develop their knowledge and skills within the overall context of a commercial farming operation.”

And that’s something the Wilsons are keenly aware of, their dairy is their lives, their financial security, their history, but for them it all comes down to one thing – milk.

As Greg says, “the core of our business is making milk”.

So next time you are out shopping why not grab a Pura Milk, a Farmer’s Union Iced Coffee or Dare and in doing so you will be supporting the Wilsons and other dairy farmers across the country.

 

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