Yarra Valley adapts to climate change

Yarra Valley adapts to climate change


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LIVESTOCK LEARNING: Lucy Etheridge, Yarrawalla Wines, Gruyere, is turning her attention to the property's livestock operation.

LIVESTOCK LEARNING: Lucy Etheridge, Yarrawalla Wines, Gruyere, is turning her attention to the property's livestock operation.

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One Yarra Valley beef producer is confident the region will adapt to the changing climate.

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Yarra Valley beef producer Lucy Etheridge says she's quietly confident primary producers in the region, whether they're growing crops, grapes or livestock, will be able to adapt to climate change.

Ms Etheridge is assisting with the livestock operation at Yarrawalla Wines, Gruyere, which runs a 150 strong Angus breeding herd, alongside its vineyard.

"I came back to the farm early last year, and I'm getting a crash course in pasture and cattle at the moment," Ms Etheridge said.

She was at the Pakenham saleyards last week when Yarrawalla turned off its draft of about 110 Lawson blood steers and heifers.

READ MORE: Pakenham stronger as the fat market continues to rise

"I have an interest in sustainable farm practices and climate change issues that are affecting us," she said.

"I'm looking forward to spending some time researching climate change and whole farm planning around that."

She said ensuring reliable water supplies would be the number one issue.

"A lot of climate change research is done around areas that are quite arid, such as outback NSW or the wheatbelt," she said.

"More research should be done on how to apply that in an area like the Yarra Valley.

"We look green, but we are in a green drought."

But Ms Etheridge said she felt residents and producers were "movers and shakers" when it came to adapting to change.

"People have a very keen ear to the ground on what's happening in most of our industries, be that cattle, orchards or grapes," she said.

Her father Chris said steers and heifers would normally be turned off later, but Mr Etheridge said he wasn't sure as to how the season was going to go.

The region experienced a late break in May, after an "incredibly dry" spell from the end of December.

"The cattle have done remarkably well," he said.

Mr Etheridge said while the primary focus for Yarrawalla was the vineyard, the cattle operation was also significant.

"It's something you put a lot of time and effort into; we have tried hard to buy good bulls, and breed as well as we can," he said.

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