End of the milk run for dairy staff at Wollongbar
By SHAN GOODWIN
THEY won't miss the 5am starts or living in gumboots, but saying goodbye to Trixie may be tough.
For Stewart Outerbridge, Trevor Taylor, Jeff Studders and Allan Stephenson ? the men who run the Wollongbar dairy for the Department of Primary Industries ? today marks the end of an era. It will be the last time they milk their 250head herd.
After 105 years of dairy research, tomorrow the cattle will be sold-off and the dairy closed. The State Government has decided to centralise dairy research at its agricultural institute at Camden, near Sydney. The auction starts at 11am on site.
"I hope they end up on local farms," said Mr Studders, who has been living and working at the dairy for nine years.
"Especially Trix. I've become attached to her."
Since an Ayrshire bull first arrived at the farm in 1898, the dairy has been the focal point for studies, from pasture improvement to genetics, in a bid to help farmers improve milk production.
The dairymen have a swag of stories.
They've ended up in cattle troughs, battled black-outs and the freezing cold, and become quite fond of their charges.
"They have a way of sneaking up under your arm in the pitch black of early morning for a cuddle," Mr Taylor said.
Some of the dairy cows still involved in research projects, along with the dairy's foreman, Norm Collins, have been transferred to Camden. Beef cattle will replace the dairy herd at Wollongbar.
The 107-hectare Wollongbar institute employs more than 180 people and research projects include soil health, food safety, essential oils and climate analysis.
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