Dairy Bio – A day on the green

Sep 22, 2017

The ability to access new technologies is essential for dairy farmers to keep the cost of production down.

DairyBio CRC and DataGene are two organisations that are steadily delivering solutions for the dairy industry in the fields of animal health, fertility, herd improvements and genetics.

Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF) and the Australian Dairy Products Federation recently attended the Dairy Bio CRC Open Day in Hamilton, Victoria. More than 150 dairy and livestock farmers, and service providers from all over Australia attended the Open Day to view how research programs are changing the way dairy farmers innovate on-farm.

Hamilton’s Agriculture Victoria research farm is the site where all the large-scale, field-based pasture activities are located for DairyBio, and it is the best place to see how innovations will deliver game-changing increases in pasture yield, persistence and quality.

Throughout the day we were informed of the world’s largest precision-planted ryegrass filed trial, viewed drones and ground vehicles with advanced sensor technologies, walked through glasshouse facilities with the latest forage innovations and shown drought-tolerance trials which could be a game-changer for farmers in the future.

One of DairyBio CRC’s major achievements is the invention of a hybrid technique for ryegrass breeding. This will unlock a 20 per cent yield advantage in hybrid ryegrass varieties and also make it easier for plant breeders to use genomic selection and add novel endophytes in new pasture varieties. The current modeling suggests that hybrid ryegrass could deliver a benefit of $300 per hectare to Australian dairy farmers.

These viable solutions are a great example of how industry and research sectors work together to deliver some of the most positive and permanent changes to dairy herds and dairy pastures.

ADF recognises the potential productivity benefits of these new technologies and the need to innovate to compete on the global stage. The adoption of these technologies is going to become increasingly important to help farmers remain profitable, improve natural resource use and facilitate adaptation to ongoing business pressures.

The Australian dairy industry has achieved considerable improvements in farm productivity through the adoption of new technology and will continue to find new ways to be more efficient, and environmentally sustainable while still remaining profitable over the long term.

David Inall

ADF Chief Executive Officer

 

Expressions of Interest Open for the ADF Board

Sep 15, 2017

Nominations for three Business Director positions and an Independent Director on the Australian Dairy Farmers’ (ADF) Board opened today.

ADF is calling on its members to nominate eligible candidates for three Business Director positions and an Independent Director position.

ADF President, Terry Richardson said that we are looking for dairy farmers who are passionate about advancing dairy farming in Australia and have a strong industry commitment.

“The maximum term a Business Director may serve is three years without submitting for re-election and an Independent Director may serve two years without submitting for re-election,” said Mr Richardson.

ADF currently has two Business Directors who were elected at the 2014 AGM for a three (3) year term, these Directors must retire and may nominate for re-election.

Additionally, following the retirement of a past President in February, a temporary Business Director was appointed in May 2017 to fill the casual vacancy. As required by the constitution, the Business Director must retire and may nominate for re-election.

The Independent Director was elected in November 2015 for a two-year term and must retire, however may seek to be re-appointed for another term.
Director elections will take place at the ADF’s next Annual General Meeting on Thursday 24 November, 2017.

The eligibility criteria for the position of Business Director are:
• Must be in the business of dairy farming
• Must be a member of Australian Dairy Farmers Limited; and
• Must be eligible under clause 4.2.2 of the ADF Constitution (no more than two Business Directors from any one state)

If you wish to receive a nomination form or position description please contact the ADF Office via (03) 8621 4200 or email operations@australiandairyfarmers.com.au.

Applications close midday (AEST) Thursday 28 September 2017.

Terry Richardson

ADF President

 


 


 



Advancing Dairy Farming

Sep 01, 2017

Starting a new job (adventure) is sometimes difficult, particularly after a crisis.

Over the last couple of months, I have had the opportunity to sit down and discuss many of the issues that the dairy industry has faced.

Last year was an extremely challenging time in the world of dairy, both internationally and domestically.

Many farmers were hit by late season farmgate step-downs, which came after a difficult season due to dry conditions and increased input costs.The lack of demand and oversupply of dairy worldwide caused prices to crash which left many farmers with significant debt.

No doubt it will take the industry a long time to recover, not just financially but emotionally as well.

Now, when some dairy farmers may still be questioning their future I challenge all within the dairy industry to work with each other in collaboration to show our farmers what we can provide for their future.

The future of dairy must become exciting and rewarding. It needs to be driven by smart business decisions, strong leadership and the willingness to work through our differences to get the job done.

This will not happen by accident, rather through visionary people working across the whole supply chain.

We realise that some dairy farmers have reached a ‘fork in the road’ and are looking for immediate answers. It would be wrong of us to say we had all the answers, which we don’t.

Let’s get our collective efforts behind something we can do in partnership for our industry.

Advancing dairy farming is our top priority.

David Inall

ADF Chief Executive Officer

 

Opening Price vs Market Price

Jun 16, 2017

Over the past week, we have seen several milk supply companies announce their opening milk prices for 2017-18. While there will always be some variances in the opening prices for different companies this price generally reinforces the relative strength of market price improvement.

Further reinforced by Dairy Australia in their recent Situation and Outlook report, the improved outlook for 2017-18 offers sustainably better returns with indicative prices for the year approaching $6 /kg ms.

Bega and Warrnambool both stated their opening price of $5.50/kg ms. Over the years both companies have been very consistent with their prices reflecting the world market, and their farmer suppliers have been paid accordingly. We can be confident that the opening prices of both Bega and Warrnambool reflect the steady upward improvements we have seen in world market prices over the past 6 months.

This week we also saw the release of Fonterra’s opening price for the coming year at $5.30 /kg ms, which is Fonterra’s true interpretation of the market price and reinforces the variances in opening prices between companies.

A short while ago Fonterra announced it was going to pay an additional 40 cents/kg ms to all its suppliers for the 2017-18 year to account for the step-down and claw back it applied to its suppliers last year.

While most Fonterra suppliers welcomed this news, there has always been concern that the 40 cents compensation payment would be marketed as part of their price for the 2017-18 year.

In a recent meeting with Fonterra, ADF was assured the 40 cents would be defined as a payment on top of their market price for 2017-18 and not actually part of the price. ADF was concerned that this compensation payment if marketed as part of their opening price to farmers, could be used to give Fonterra a perceived unfair advantage over all other companies.

We believe that companies who did the right thing by their suppliers for the 2015-16 year should not be accused of lagging behind Fonterra’s price for 2017-18. The announcement of the additional 40 cents as compensation was for the major step downs and clawbacks Fonterra applied to their suppliers during May 2016.

So, it was with considerable disappointment that we saw Fonterra’s announcement of their opening price and the supporting media release from Bonlac Supply Company. In their communications, they portrayed their opening price to incorporate the 40 cents to make the price $5.70 /kg ms, which makes them look like they are 20 cents/kg ms ahead of the competition.

Not only is this unfair to other companies which are above the Fonterra announced $5.30 opening market price, but it is also misleading to all their suppliers. It is a fact that the 40 cents/kg ms to be paid to all Fonterra suppliers this year is a compensation payment for 2015-16 – and should not, at any time, be characterised as part of the market price for 2017-18.

This past year, ADF and our state member organisations have worked in collaboration with companies to develop a Code of Practice on Contractual Arrangements. Most of the dairy companies participated in the development of the Code and agreed that one of the most important elements of the Code was the need for greater transparency in pricing for farmers.

By monitoring the application of the Code with farmers, we will be able to assess whether companies are conforming to the transparency principals outlined within the Code of Practice.

There is a real danger that Fonterra’s current characterisation of the 40 cents/kg ms being added to their market price for the year will give the wrong signal to all farmers and other companies that transparency only goes a small way.

It is important that all dairy companies remain fair and transparent in their pricing. The inconsistencies have indicated Fonterra and BSC are not being completely transparent with their suppliers. These types of contradictions are nothing but misleading at a time when the dairy industry has committed to rebuilding trust along the supply chain.

John McQueen

Interim ADF Chief Executive Officer

 

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