Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Course helps to meet demand for relief milkers

A 10-day relief milking course was held in Rochester last week.

ELAINE COONEY May 20, 2014 9:59am

Celia Hobbs learns the ropes of quad biking at the relief milking course in Rochester last week.

Eight people took the opportunity to learn the ropes of dairy farming at a comprehensive relief milking course in Rochester last week.

National Centre for Dairy Education Australia trainer James Goulding thought the students would all find milking jobs by the end of the 10-day course.

He said he was already receiving calls asking for milkers.

‘‘There is a huge demand for relief milkers,’’ he said.

‘‘When football season starts (dairy farmers) want to watch their kids playing... or go on holiday and it’s nice to have someone come in the busy times of the year,’’ he said.

Mr Goulding said relief milkers were helpful for farmers who could not employ someone full-time.

‘‘Sometimes they share the relief milker with neighbours and this really helps the dairy industry,’’ he said.

Mr Goulding said the course, subsidised by AgriFoods, reassured farmers new workers knew occupational health and safety measures, how to check for common cattle issues such as mastitis, and how to use chemicals and machinery safely.

Mr Goulding said the units studied went towards a Certificate II in Agriculture.

Full-time father Chris Roberts said he did the course because relief milking would suit his schedule.

‘‘I can get out in the mornings and in the evening to do milkings,’’ he said.

He grew up on a beef farm, but never milked a cow before the course.

‘‘It was like second nature once I got going,’’ he said.

Retired teacher Yvonne Stansfield said it was an opportunity to play with play with ‘‘real life Tonka trucks’’ and enjoyed learning how to operate the machinery.

She enjoyed the challenge of learning a new skill and looked forward to the ‘‘pocket money’’ the new career would bring.

Celia Hobbs took a year off from her graphic design studies and wanted to earn some cash outdoors.

Farmers seeking relief milkers can call Mr Goulding on 0418568969.

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