World Milk Day - Celebrating our farmers

Jun 01, 2015

Monday 1 June, is World Milk Day.

The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations started the day of recognition in 2001, and we’re using the occasion to celebrate the Aussie farmers who work hard to produce this delicious, nutritious beverage.

For Australian dairy farmers, producing and delivering premium milk is a matter of pride. This is why Australian dairy has a reputation for consistently high quality and safe products worldwide.

They work hard 7 days a week, 365 days a year to create fresh, great tasting and wholesome fresh milk that Aussies consumed almost 2.5 billion litres of in 2014 alone.

Each daily on-farm activity involved in producing the milk, whether ensuring the cows are healthy or efficiently cleaning milking equipment, contributes to the quality assurance of dairy products. From the twice daily health herd checks during milking to stringent testing for milk headed for the processor, safety is ingrained in what we do.

Our industry is known for being a ‘dairy deli’ in that we place great importance on the quality rather than quantity of supply and this is what sets us apart. It’s our point of difference to focus on our high quality standards and it’s something our industry must maintain (even with our aspirations of growth) as we will never compete on quantity or price with our major competitors.

Dairy farmers work rain, hail or shine to produce our milk and want to be known for being prosperous, trusted and world renowned for the nutrition of our dairy products. Like any Australian, dairy farmers hope to see the effort put into our work reflected in our returns.

Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF), as part of the Australian Dairy Industry Council (ADIC), is committed to ensuring our dairying sector has a sustainable future. That’s why we’re working with our farmers, processors and industry partners, including Dairy Australia, to ensure that dairy continues to enhance livelihoods, improve wellbeing and minimise its environmental footprint well into the future.

This commitment is recognised and promoted through the Dairy Industry’s Sustainability Framework. The second Progress Report has just been released and shows that while we still have hurdles to overcome, progress is being made. This Framework highlights to the rest of the world that Australian dairy is acting on its social, economic and environmental responsibility.

To produce, refrigerate, transport, process, distribute and deliver fresh milk requires a considerable amount of daily planning, work, risk and investment on the part of dairy farmers and processors.

So why be a dairy farmer? Is all the milk worth it? Dairy farmers would say yes ten times over – because they’re passionate about it.

This World Milk Day, we ask that everyone remember that milk is made from hard yakka, pure passion and a commitment to sustainable practices. It is made by an Aussie dairy farmer. 


Drought preparedness key to long-term profitability

Jan 08, 2015

The percentage of Australian dairy farms reported with negative farm business profit is estimated to have decreased significantly from 67 per cent in 2012-13, to 38 per cent in 2013-14, according to the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES).

In addition, the ABARES reported a significant jump in the average rate of return on capital (excluding capital appreciation) to 3.1 per cent in 2013–14, up from 0.9 per cent in 2012–13 and above the ten year average of 2.1 per cent.

Released in December 2014, the ‘Australian dairy: financial performance of dairy farms, 2011-12 to 2013-14’ report correlates improved profitability to the strong rebound in the average farm cash income  which increased to $129,000 in 2013-14, around 29 per cent above the 10-year average. Dairy farmers in southern New South Wales, South Australia, Victoria and Tasmania had the largest increases as a result of significant milk price rises, with smaller increases in Western Australia.

Yet, whilst incomes may have ended on a high and negative farm business profit on a low in these states, northern New South Wales and Queensland continue to feel the pinch of higher fodder expenditure and lower production due to dry seasonal conditions, highlighting the relevance of  drought preparedness to long-term profitability.

Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF) President, Noel Campbell said whilst many factors, including drought, impact dairy farm profitability, there are some sound principles we can apply to reduce their effects on our farm business returns, with drought preparedness being one of these.

 “Farmers need to demonstrate a commitment to long-term sustainable farming through appropriate business and farm practices that embrace effective risk management options,” Mr Campbell said.

“The Government can play a key role in reinforcing its long-term commitment to drought through providing policy options that support farmers in risk management, for example, tax incentives to encourage fodder and water infrastructure investment by farmers.”

ADF continues to actively advocate on tax solutions and other complementary measures that may assist in drought preparedness, including improving the Government and industry’s investment in seasonal forecasting.

Further development of the Managing Climate Variability Program, which promises greater accuracy in midseason forecasting, will enable farmers to make better tactical decisions around managing their fodder and water resources to maximise profit.

Mr Campbell welcomed Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce’s announced $100 million in Drought Recovery Concessional Loans in December 2014 and the lower interest rates on drought concessional loans announced earlier in January this year, however stressed that further proactive measures need to be taken to achieve long-term drought policy and ensure the ongoing viability of our dairy farm businesses.

ADF will continue to lobby for a range of measures to support drought preparedness management and security to ensure that dairy farmers are supported in sustainable farming practices to manage whatever Mother Nature may bring.


*The ABARES report data is gathered from the annual Australian Dairy Industry Survey, with a sample size of approximately 300 dairy farmers.

NCDEA Oration: People our future

Dec 22, 2014

The “three P’s” of our farming future according to Dr Cameron Archer AM, Principal of Tocal College, are: people, people, people.

Delivering the National Centre for Dairy Education Australia’s (NCDEA) first annual oration on 26 November 2014, Dr Archer underlined the importance of well-educated people in producing a respected product and underpinning the future of Australia’s dairy industry.

“A new technology, a genetic marker, a treatment or medicine, processing method, smart farm technology, breeding strategy, dietary strategy, feed supplements can be around the world in a flash. All of our competitors will have it. What they will do with it - will be up to their people,” Dr Archer said.

“Where we can really have the competitive advantage is through our people.”

Delivered to 90 members of the Australian dairy industry, including the Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF) President and CEO, the oration’s themes reflected ADF’s belief that people are the industry’s most important on-farm asset.

Committed to developing policies and strategies to attract more highly skilled people to dairy, ADF’s People and Human Capacity Policy Advisory Group advocates policies to address Australian dairy’s skilled labour shortage, drive industry innovation and secure long-term prosperity.

NCDEA Manager – Educational Development and oration guest of honour, Sylvia Vagg, was recognised by the Australian dairy industry for her dedicated service to dairy education and training.

Dr Cameron Archer AM, Principal of Tocal College presenting as guest speaker at the NCDEA Oration.

Australian Dairy Industry Sustainability Report: How we’re tracking

Dec 08, 2014

The Australian Dairy Industry Sustainability Framework outlines the industry’s commitment to enhance livelihoods, improve wellbeing and reduce our environmental footprint.

To ensure dairy is recognised worldwide as a responsible, responsive and prosperous producer of nutritious food, the Framework sets 11 economic, social and environmental targets to be achieved by the year 2020.

The second Sustainability Framework Progress Report is due to be released in December to benchmark how the industry is tracking towards achieving these targets, including supporting case studies to back these findings.

The ADF Update had the opportunity to preview some of the report’s preliminary findings, which can be found below.

ü  14.5% reduction in volume of green house gas emissions intensity generated by dairy manufacturers’ use of fuel and electricity since 2010/11 – a 30% reduction is the target set by 2020.

ü  46% of on-farm and factory workers now have a documented occupational health and safety (OH&S) plan – by 2020, the framework aims for 100% to have completed OH&S training.

ü  56% of farmers are aware of a new set of animal welfare standards and guidelines for cattle that have been developed – whilst yet to be legislated, the industry seeks 100% compliance with the guidelines’ standards by 2020.

ü  10.5% reduction in water consumption since 2010/11 – a 20% reduction by 2020 is the target set for the manufacturing sector.

ü  44.5% reduction in waste to landfill by manufacturers since 2010/11, which has already met and exceeded the target of a 40% reduction by 2020.

Dairy Industry Sustainability Framework Steering Committee Chair, Chris Griffin said the 2014 Progress Report provides evidence the dairy industry is committed to delivering mutually beneficial outcomes for the community and the environment.

“The Report demonstrates the benefits of the value chain working together to help create value for our industry, our customers and the community,” Mr Griffin said.

“Built on existing industry activities, we hope it will provide guidance to farmers, dairy companies and industry bodies on achieving our shared priorities and commitments."

To view the 2014 Progress Report online, stay tuned to over the coming week.

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