Australian dairy farming
SOUTH Korean dairy farmer Park Jae Jun is on a fact-finding mission across Australia.
Mr Park, who recently visited International Dairy Week at Tatura, runs the Pocheon Dairy Farmers Co-operative in the far north-eastern region of Gyenonggi in Asia.
The group encompasses six farmers, who each run 30 milkers and 30 calves and dry cows.
While hay is made on the properties, one of the main profit drivers is an educational farm tour enterprise, Art Farm, that was founded four years ago.
"I was one of the first to establish the farm tour program in the region," he said.
"About 10,000 students and tourists come through the farms each year."
But today, many other dairy farmers have jumped on Mr Park's special idea and set up their own tour scheme
"I am in Australia trying to find new ideas and farm experiences," he said. "About 20 or 30 similar programs have been set up, so it's getting harder and harder to compete."
Already, Mr Park has visited two dairy farms in the Goulburn Valley.
He is hoping to pick up several ideas in Australia that will help give Art Farm a point of difference and is considering growing crops to stand out.
Currently, visitors are able to make cheese and ice-cream, ride on a tractor and feed the calves.
Each farm is on average 1.3 hectares and produces 700-900 litres daily. "We all work together," Mr Park said. "The milk is either made into Mozzarella and sold on-farm, or sold to Seoul – which is one of the biggest milk companies in South Korea."
While in Australia producers are paid about 36 cents a litre, South Korean farmers pocket 80c/l.
"There is a big gap in prices, but we are heavily dependent on imported grain and hay to feed the cows," Mr Park said.
"It's very expensive to make milk, so we have to make it worthwhile." He said he was impressed with the quality of cows at IDW and would be returning to Asia after six weeks.