Running a successful dairy farm in the future appears to be more about what’s beyond the milk vat.
One couple achieving business and financial sustainability are Markus and Sara Bucher who created the successful Maleny Cheese business before acquiring another local yogurt food business, plus their own dairy farm.
“The new age of dairy farming maybe more about owning the entire local dairy food business supply chain from the paddock through to a boutique dairy food business making cheeses, specialty yogurts or fresh and flavoured milks,” Ms Bucher said.
“Dairy farmers have a wide skill set and have always worked very hard, but achieving success these days may be more than just milking the cows everyday.”
Markus Bucher is a traditionally trained cheese maker who used his unique skills to create Maleny Cheese, which is nestled in the hills overlooking the Sunshine Coast hinterlands in Queensland.
The Bucher family’s acquisition of a Maleny dairy farm was part of their long-term business strategy to secure a fresh local milk supply for their cheese and yogurt companies.
“Milk is getting in shorter supply in Queensland, so we need to secure local milk for the future,” Ms Bucher said.
“We have a very good relationship with our three local milk suppliers and owning a dairy ensures future milk supply as our cheese and yogurt businesses grow.
“It won’t be replacing our current local milk suppliers who we greatly value as an important part of our cheese business and George’s Greek Yogurt products.”
Key to the Bucher’s dairy business success is all their food ingredients being supplied from the local area.
“Our brand is about high quality, locally made food from fresh, local dairy milk that’s unique in the flavours of our gorgeous rolling green hills and Maleny’s pristine environment,” Ms Bucher said.
“We have a direct interface with our customers through our cheese and yogurt businesses and their interest in locally sourced food is definitely growing.”
Ms Bucher said one of the main priorities for customers is their food products containing 100 per cent locally sourced ingredients.
“We are currently investing in a new marketing strategy to change how we label our food products to ensure we clearly tell the message about our locally sourced ingredients,” she said.
“The food provenance story is very important to our customers and they ask us a lot of questions about where the food comes from and who supplied it to us.
“I’m very proud to tell them it’s from the local dairy farm down the road and as a business we are strongly committed to the long term future of fresh, locally sourced dairy food products.”
That’s why owning a local dairy farm makes good business sense for the Bucher family.
“We predominantly have Holstein Friesian dairy cows, plus a small number of Jersey and Brown Swiss cows,” Ms Bucher said.
“Currently, we are doing an artificial insemination program with our dairy herd with the goal of achieving high quality and productive milking cows.”
Ms Bucher added farming in the subtropical climate of Queensland can mean a lot more variables in the paddock and a dairy farmer has to be very flexible and an innovative business person.
“In a way it ideally sets up our dairy farmers to take hold of the next step beyond the milk vat,” she said.
“Our dairy farmers are use to being inventive and developing new skills, but this business isn’t for the faint hearted!”