After the difficulties of recent years, there is optimism in the dairy industry again.
Westpac agribusiness state manager Roddy Brown said farmers are better prepared for the up and down nature of the agricultural industry, and his group was working hard to help people manage their risk through those cycles.
"There is a degree of optimism that has snuck back in," Mr Brown said. "Our customers are very optimistic about the future even though there are pressure points. People are going back to their core business. They are focusing on the things that they do well."
Mr Brown said the agricultural mix in the south-west is changing with fattening lambs and other drystock operations taking a larger share of the market, plus some beef operations purchasing traditional dairy land: "All parts of the agricultural industry are doing well."
Business planning on farms is one area of continual improvement. Technology is helping farmers with their business management and they are realising the need to plan for the future to help even out the seasons, Mr Brown said.
"There is so much variability that comes in so you need to have a plan B and a plan C," he said.
"One of the great things about agriculture is that people are really open and sharing with each other, they are not competitors."
WestVic Dairy regional manager Lindsay Ferguson said the dairy industry is recovering well.
While cost of production inputs such as grain remains high, the farmgate price of milk solids is relatively strong, he said.
"Most companies are matching each other around $6 per kilogram of solids," Mr Ferguson said.
"We have run a program starting last winter to help farmers capitalise on the spring, so they are not buying in grain and hay at high prices. We were lucky enough to have a good spring across the region, so farmers have piled up their fodder reserves."
Recent rains will help farmers with the transition into the autumn break and into winter.
"A lot of farmers are easing back, not pushing their farms so hard so that they have a bit of a buffer," Mr Ferguson said.
"So if grain prices jump, or milk prices drop, they are not right on the edge."
Farmers are being encouraged to find the right level for their business over the next 12 months and to focus on the cost of production and being more efficient where they can.
"It doesn't matter if it is a corporate farm or a family farm," Mr Ferguson said. "Farmers can then focus on what they are good at."
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