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John Keely

Nuffield Australia 2016 Scholarship winner

John Keely, from Cohuna in Victoria, received a Nuffield Scholarship supported by the Gardiner Dairy Foundation. He investigated 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 have implemented 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 mismanaged this can lead to leaching and water quality problems,” he says.

“I used 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 also studied 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 travelled to Canada, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the UK and the USA.

Location: Cohuna, Victoria
Scholarship report: click to view
Returning Scholar presentation: watch video
Scholar profile: click to view

John Keely was supported by:

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