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John Keely. 2016 Scholarship winner

John Keely. 2016 Scholarship winner

John Keely, from Cohuna in Victoria, has received a Nuffield Australia Farming Scholarship supported by the Gardiner Dairy Foundation.

He will investigate better ways to use nutrients from manure and effluent generated in intensive dairy operations, with a specific focus on biological farming systems.

John and his wife Michelle are starting to implement biological soil nutrient practices on their own 423-hectare dairy property, which has a peak milking herd of 310-cows in autumn and spring and produces about 2.5 million litres of milk annually. All pastures and crops are flood irrigated and they are 100 per cent self-sufficient in hay and silage conservation.

John says as the dairy industry becomes more intensive, particularly in northern Victoria, use of feed pads and loafing areas can quickly create large stockpiles of manure that when applied to pastures in its raw form can create issues.

“Unlike commercial fertilisers, manure also varies in its amount and ratio of nutrients and if mis-managed this can lead to leaching and water quality problems,” he says.

“I will use my scholarship to look at new and innovative methods of using manure and effluent on pastures, such as composting and other biological farming practices.

“I will also study management systems used overseas that reduce the likelihood of pollution and increase benefits for livestock production systems.”

John has previously travelled to South America on a dairy study tour and through his Nuffield Scholarship plans to travel to Canada, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States.

The Gardiner Dairy Foundation is pleased to support John Keely as a 2016 Nuffield Scholar.

The organisation said it’s a valuable investment in the growth of agriculture in Victoria alongside Nuffield Australia, which is at the forefront of developing future industry leaders.

Nuffield Australia chief executive officer Jim Geltch said Nuffield now boasted more than 350 scholars in Australia who, through their scholarship global study tours, had significant insight into global agricultural production systems.

“We are building capacity for the nation’s food and fibre industries to be world leaders in the adoption of technology, best practice and innovation,” he said.

“Nuffield Scholars are influencing industry and community changes, resulting in agricultural productivity increases and economic development for rural communities.

“The Nuffield experience adds new dimensions to the way scholars think about the economic, environmental and social aspects of global food production.

“Engagement and investment in capacity building and talent development in agriculture is critical as the global population continues to escalate and the amount of land available for food production shrinks.”

Scholars undertake a 16-week program of group and individual travel.

Global Focus Program tours will visit several countries in March/April or June/July 2016, including New Zealand, Brazil, the United States of America, Mexico, the United Kingdom, South Africa, Kenya, Eastern Europe, Singapore, India, Qatar, Turkey, France, the Philippines, China, Canada or Ireland (itineraries will vary between groups).

Applications for Nuffield Australia Farming Scholarships open in April each year to Australian primary producers and managers who seek to research a topic important to them and to Australian agriculture.

John is available to talk about his planned travel and can be contacted on:

Phone: 0417 351 260 Email:

Media contact:
Justine Mackay, Cox Inall Communications
P: 0435 325 954; E:

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