Coles announcement highlights need for Mandatory Code of Conduct

Dec 16, 2014

On the heels of Coles’ admission to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) yesterday, Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF) has reiterated the need for stronger competition laws that will protect suppliers against the unjust activities of major retailers.

ADF President, Noel Campbell said that Coles’ announcement was a damning indictment against the supermarket giant, whose actions and continual denial over the past four years have had significant negative impacts on suppliers and dairy farmers affected by $1 per litre milk.

“Coles has misled Australian consumers and Parliament for too long on this issue,” Mr Campbell said.

“They have finally confirmed what ADF, and others, have long said about their unsustainable $1 per litre milk campaign. This admission does nothing to rectify the damage they have inflicted upon processors and dairy farmers, who have ultimately paid for their unsustainable price cuts.”

Mr Campbell said the announcement highlighted the need for a Mandatory Code of Conduct with significant penalties and a Supermarket Ombudsman to enforce the Code.

“Coles must pay suppliers, and ultimately farmers, a fair price for their hard work. They should not be able to force the costs of unsustainable price cuts onto farmers,” he said.

ADF looks forward to the findings of the Harper Review of Competition Law and Policy, with the hope that this will foster a fairer supply sector going forward and end unjust practices such as the $1 per litre campaign.

ADF thanked the ACCC for its persistence in pursuing Coles in this matter, and said it will be watching the court proceedings closely.

The risks of drinking raw milk: What farmers need to know

Dec 15, 2014

In December, the news of the tragic death of a child possibly linked to drinking raw milk, saddened the dairy industry and underscored the message that consumers should only drink pasteurised milk.

“Farmers, familiar with their cows and own farm hygiene practises, are known to drink fresh milk directly from their dairy but the law is very clear that the packaging, transport and selling of raw, unpasteurised milk for human consumption is illegal,” says Helen Dornom Sustainability Manager for Dairy Australia.

“Milk is a highly regulated biological product in part because of the potential growth of pathogens during storage and transport. It is important to reemphasise that unpasteurised milk can never be consumed without real risks,” she adds.

“As farmers and representatives of the industry we have to be careful not to give the impression that something a farmer might do on-farm and fully aware of the risks can safely translate to the broader community.

Unpasteurised milk has been bottled and sold as cosmetic products (labelled ‘bath milk’, ‘for cosmetic purposes only’ or ‘not for human consumption’). While the sale of these products is not illegal, consumption of the product can present a serious risk to the consumer’s health.

“The fact is that cosmetic or ‘bath milk’ is not produced under the strict standards or supervision applied to the dairy food industry and without the additional critical controls provided by pasteurisation or equivalent treatments. It may contain pathogenic bacteria that can lead to life-threatening illnesses,” says Ms Dornom.

“Everyone is vulnerable to illness caused by organisms that may be present in raw milk, but the risks are even greater for young children and for people who are elderly or those who have underlying health problems, are Immune compromised or are pregnant.”

The Australian dairy industry has a well-earned reputation for safe dairy products – let’s not jeopardise this and ensure consumers only drink pasteurised milk.

For more information about raw milk, click here.

National Breeding Objective maps a more profitable future for dairy

Dec 15, 2014

The Australian dairy industry launched new breeding tools to support the National Breeding Objective (NBO) at the ADIC Industry Leaders Breakfast in Melbourne on 28 November 2014.

Developed by the NBO Task Force and driven by the Australian Dairy Improvement Scheme (ADHIS) after an extensive consultation process with dairy farmers from across all dairying regions, the NBO aims to deliver profitable herds that the Australian dairy industry needs for the future.

Genetic gains deliver 30 per cent of productivity improvements on Australian farms, with the estimated gap between actual and potential genetic gains worth $25 million per year in extra farmer profits i.

Offering a practical breeding index, which includes the breeding traits farmers want to improve in their herds, the NBO is designed to close this gap, and increase net farm profit via genetic gain.

General Manager of ADHIS, Daniel Abernethy said the three indices; a Balanced Performance Index, a Type Weighted Index and a Health Weighted Index were designed to align with farmers’ different breeding priorities.

“The Balanced Performance Index achieves the NBO for farm profit and will align to the breeding priorities of most Australian dairy farmers,” Mr Abernethy said.

“Two additional breeding indices have been developed to meet the needs of those farmers whose breeding philosophies focus on type or health.”

ADIC Chair, Noel Campbell said the level of farmer and industry involvement in developing the Breeding Objective is a testament to the entire supply chain’s commitment to securing a more profitable future for dairy.

“The direct input of farmers, processors and research and development bodies through participation in farmwalks, surveys and forums has directly impacted the outcome of the NBO,” Mr Campbell explained.

“Investment in innovative genetics strategies such as the NBO and research outcomes from the Dairy Futures CRC will help our farmers to breed the type of cow they want to milk, faster, which will improve the productivity and profitability of our herds.”

While existing programs like the Australian Breeding Values express a bull or cow’s genetic potential for a single trait such as fertility or protein kilograms, most farmers want to improve more than one trait in their herd.

The new index will be used to rank bulls, cows and herds for breeding programs.

ADHIS is an initiative of Australian Dairy Farmers’, that receives the majority of its funding from Dairy Australia through the Dairy Services Levy.

A summary of the National Breeding Objective is available via the ADHIS website.

i Report Commissioned by Dairy Australia, Coats, S & Lacey, R., 2013, Development of Genetics Scenarios and Implications for the Australian Dairy Industry, 13 August 2013.

President's Message - December 2014

Dec 10, 2014

As 2014 draws to a close, I would like to take the opportunity to personally thank all of the dairy farmers who have actively supported our commitment towards improving the profitability and sustainability of our industry over the past 12 months.

It has been an absolute privilege to work alongside many of you this year, developing and implementing sound national policies to improve dairy farming in Australia. In collaboration with the ADF Board, National Council and the five Policy Advisory Groups (PAGs), we have achieved numerous major successes in 2014.

Highlights include the repeal of the Carbon Tax, the National Dairy Farmers’ Summit and the development of the industry’s very first Australian Dairy Vision. The recent signing of the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement with its pro-dairy outcome is another example of the positive changes our collective industry advocacy has made.

I encourage you all to read ADF’s 2013-14 Annual Review for more detailed information about these highlights and other activities over the last reporting period.

On a personal note, I would like to recognise the significant contribution of Chris Griffin and Peter Evans, two invaluable members of our industry who are stepping down from their important roles on the ADF Board. I would also like to welcome newly appointed ADF Directors, David Basham and Tyran Jones, along with reappointed Director, Simone Jolliffe.

From the whole ADF team, we wish you a safe and happy festive season. Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year to all!

Select Tags