President's Message - June 2015

Jun 15, 2015

 

Whether at the farm gate or in the board room, stopping to take stock, acknowledge success and identify areas for improvement is essential to ensuring any good business remains on track to deliver desired outcomes.

Now at the half way mark for 2015, Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF) is reflecting on the progress made thus far and the challenges yet to overcome, with the interests of dairy farmers and their profitability top of mind.

Volatility is a constant theme for dairy farmers and the past six months has been no different with all regions affected in some way by floods, drought and an ever fluctuating global milk price. But while there have been challenges there has also been important progress.

In March, we welcomed the Australian Government’s announcement to introduce legislation capping water buybacks in the Murray-Darling Basin Plan (MDBP) at 1500 gigalitres (GL). The 1500GL cap provides dairy farmers in the Murray-Darling Basin with much-needed certainty about future water availability to sustain their business.

ADF has also welcomed the relaxation of audit requirements for farmers in the southern-connected region of the Basin who participate the On-Farm Irrigation Efficiency Programme. This policy win will be explored later on the newsletter.

ADF’s lobbying on competition policy was instrumental in securing a positive step toward reforming Australia’s flawed legislation - the introduction of a Prescribed Code of Conduct. The Prescribed Code is not perfect, but it does address several key imbalances with regard to retailers’ power over suppliers. We welcome the commitment already made by retailer Woolworths by signing onto the Prescribed Code, and expect that in the days to come all the major retailers will follow suit.

ADF will continue to monitor the Codes’ effectiveness over the next three years with a view to seek the strengthening of regulations if necessary. We will also continue to advocate for an Ombudsman to help balance the market power of major retailers.

The above ‘short list’ skims the surface of the progress made so far this year, with many challenges, and triumphs, still ahead. At the forefront of our agenda is ensuring our industry retains the confidence and trust of consumers, customers and the broader public by addressing issues of concern such as unconventional gas mining and highlighting dairy farmers’ commitment to the health and wellbeing of their cattle.

The team at ADF remains committed to ensuring Australian dairy’s voice is heard through government policies that support our industry, and working with our industry bodies to ensure dairy’s good practices are known and understood across the broader community.

Noel Campbell
ADF President

ADHIS Update: Topping the Genetics Charts

Jun 14, 2015

Australia’s top dairy herds based on genetic merit have been announced by the Australian Dairy Herd Improvement Scheme (ADHIS).

For Holsteins, George Wagner’s herd from North East Tasmania tops the country for genetic merit for profit, which is measured by the Balanced Performance Index (BPI). Daryl and Lani Hoey’s herd from Katunga is the number one ranking Jersey herd for BPI. And Sam Graham’s herd at Numbaa, NSW is the number one ranking red breed herd for BPI.

ADHIS general manager, Daniel Abernethy congratulated the herds on their achievement. “It takes a sustained focus over many years to breed a herd of this calibre,” Daniel said.

This year, for the first time, herds receive three breeding indices – Balanced Performance Index, Health Weighted Index and Type Weighted Index. The three breeding indices were introduced following a review last year which found that while profit is important to all farmers, some place more value on traits such mastitis, longevity, fertility, type and udder conformation.

“Having three breeding indices gives farmers the ability to choose the index that best reflects their individual breeding priorities,” Daniel said. “Every unit gained in each trait is associated with a financial gain. But each index places slightly different emphasis on traits and this changes the rankings of bulls, cows and herds."

A full list of Australia’s top 5% of dairy herds for genetic merit is available at www.adhis.com.au. 

For more information or to arrange a presentation to your organisation, please contact ADHIS Extension and Education Manager, Michelle Axford on 0427 573 330 or maxford@adhis.com.au

George Wagner, tops the country for generic merit for profit. 

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