Jan 25, 2016
January 26, 2016 marks five years since Coles’ supermarket dropped the price of its home brand milk to $1 per litre, igniting a price war with Woolworths that reduced the value of milk to an unsustainable level.
Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF) has continued calls for the Federal Cabinet to adopt stronger misuse of market power laws to foster a more competitive business
ADF President, Simone Jolliffe said there have been important breakthroughs for competition policy since 2011.
“The introduction of the Food and Grocery Code, which included a large number of ADF’s recommendations, was a constructive first step toward fostering a more competitive business environment.
Further to this the Australian Government’s support for key recommendations from the Harper Review of Competition Policy is extremely positive,” Mrs Jolliffe
“ADF also welcomed the announcement in the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper of $11.4 million over four years to boost the ACCC’s engagement with
the agriculture sector including a new Agricultural Engagement Unit.”
However, Mrs Jolliffe said the industry would continue to advocate for improved transparency regarding the impact of retailer actions on suppliers. ADF also continues to advocate for the regulating bodies to have the power to prevent predatory pricing in future.
“ADF also strongly supports the Harper Review’s recommendations for any updated competition and consumer law to include an effects test,” Mrs Jolliffe said.
“Addressing the misuse of market power is crucial in determining the Australian dairy industry’s future profitability and sustainability.”
Mrs Jolliffe encouraged consumers seeking to show their support for farmers to “buy branded”.
“The more branded milk we buy the more money stays in our dairy value chain. By keeping these dollars in the value chain dairy has the capacity to reinvest in industry research and innovation – which helps to strengthen our farmers, improving their efficiency and prospects of long term sustainability.
Buying branded means investing in choice for consumers on our supermarket shelves and in the future of our dairy farmers. This Australia Day – show your support by buying branded.
Jan 25, 2016
- National policy to phase out calving induction
- Improved breeding programs to lift fertility and support farmers through the policy change
- Learning from NZ approach
- Targeted assistance and advice to be provided to farmers impacted
Caring for cows is always a key priority for Australian dairy farmers and our industry. The industry is dedicated to providing a high standard of care
for our animals, and to changing practices when in the best interests of our livestock.
In April 2015, following a series of meetings and consultation with farmers, vets and processors the dairy industry agreed to phase-out routine calving induction nationally.
Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF), Dairy Australia, vets and processors have since been working on implementing the revised policy which is:
“ADF does not support routine calving induction and will work to phase it out through improved herd improvement practices, tools and technologies.”
Calving induction is already reducing in Australia and the dairy industry’s breeding programs such as InCalf and the improvement of fertility by genetic selection are making a difference.
A Steering Group, including dairy farmers, representatives from the Australian Cattle Veterinarians, Dairy Australia and the Australian Dairy Products Federation (ADPF), was established to progress the phase-out.
A data survey of veterinary practices performing inductions was undertaken in 2015. The results confirm estimates from previous farmer surveys that the number of cows induced is declining. It is estimated that in 2015 less than 1.5% of the national herd were induced (approximately 24,000 cows) however there is considerable variation between farms and regions.
The industry is now working to reduce even further the number of cows induced.
Target for 2016
After reviewing the 2015 induction data, ADFwill introduce a target for 2016 that routine calving induction will be limited to a maximum of 15% of cows within a herd unless a dispensation has been granted.
The 15% limit will apply unless a fertility management plan has been implemented or dispensation is granted for exceptional circumstances beyond a farmers control such as herd health issues, severe weather events (floods, fire), AB failure as well as other issues.
An 'Oversight and Engagement' Panel including representatives from ADF, the Australian Cattle Vets and ADPF has been formed. The panel, with support from
Dairy Australia, will establish guidelines and consider requests for exemptions exceeding the 15% target set for 2016. Whilst there is no legal requirement
on dairy farmers to achieve the 15% target the dairy industry is seeking to achieve industry-wide practice that is over and above the legal requirements
and is confident farmers will adopt the recommended voluntary industry targets as the phase-out progresses.
Farmers will apply to the Oversight and Engagement Panel via their vet for special dispensation to carry out inductions in excess of the 15% limit for routine calving inductions.
The Steering Group will work with the Oversight and Engagement Panel to monitor progress and review the target each year in order to establish updated annual targets.
Improving herd fertility is a fundamental requirement to reduce the need for routine calving induction and it also delivers many benefits for farm profitability and resilience. The industry is working closely with veterinarians and reproduction advisors to ensure advice and services are available to assist farmers with fertility management.
Industry programs such as InCalf, the Repro Right network and InCharge Workshops will be enhanced and the industry will provide targeted reproduction advice to those farmers most in need.
The New Zealand dairy industry has phased out routine calving induction over a period of time and has banned the practice as of 1 June 2015. The industry is liaising with counterparts in New Zealand to understand and learn from their approach; in particular the setting of annual limits with a dispensation process.
Late Calving Induction
A particular concern recognised by industry has been the use of late calving induction. ADF is aware that several veterinary practices no longer perform late calving inductions, as they provide no reproductive benefit. Late inductions (performed within 4-6 weeks of the due calving date) provide no overall reproductive benefit for the herd and should not be performed except for the welfare of the cow or her calf.
Early pregnancy testing is required by these practices to make sure late inductions are not occurring.
ADF will continue to consult with farmers, veterinarians, state organisations and other stakeholders to ensure that the timing, process and outcomes are right for animals and farmers.
*Routine calving induction is all non-therapeutic inductions
Jan 19, 2016
Since bushfires began burning in Western Australia (WA) in the week of 4 January, fires have significantly affected the Waroona-Harvey dairying region. Now three weeks on from the devastation, recovery assistance for farmers is the primary focus.
To support the recovery effort, WAFarmers has established a hay drive and is managing a relief appeal to collect cash donations for affected farmers. One
hundred per cent of the funds raised through the WAFarmers Fire Appeal will go directly to farmers; ensuring financial assistance is available to farmers
for tasks including the rebuilding of fencing and the purchase of feed.
WA’s Dairy Industry bodies, including WAFarmers and Western Dairy, have commenced preliminary assessments. There are approximately 20 dairy farms with direct fire damage and many more continue to be impacted by loss of power, burnt pasture and feed supplies.
Fencing is an immediate concern, with the fires destroying over 800 kilometers of farm fences, as well as loss of pasture and newly sown crops. There have been few reports of dairy stock loss to date.
Funds received through the WAFarmers Fire Appeal will be used directly to benefit farmers. Farmers do not have to be a member of WAFarmers to be able to receive assistance from the funds. We encourage the public to show support for the WAFarmers Fire Appeal.
The GoFundMe account can be accessed here.
Dec 22, 2015
More support has been announced for financial counselling in drought-stricken regions in New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Victoria and Western Australia. An extra $920,000 in funding has been provided for Rural Financial Counselling Service (RFCS) providers in those States to continue to help farmers battling drought.
The funds are in addition to the $14.3 million Commonwealth funding already allocated to the RFCS programme in 2015-16.
Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF) has welcomed this support, acknowledging the financial counselling service as a vital part of supporting dairy farmers through challenging times, including drought. ADF highlighted that the service helps people take control of their business again rather than allowing their business to take control of them.
Agriculture needs as many financial counsellors as possible across rural Australia according to ADF, particularly as drought continues to challenge many dairy regions.
The RFCS can support farmers with business planning, farm debt mediation and helping them access sources of professional, industry and government assistance. The services can vary from one ten-minute phone call with a person to on-going support across a number of years.
The additional funding provided by the Commonwealth Government toward the counselling initiative will be crucial over the coming months as the pressures of drought compound continue.
ADF encourages farmers to utilise the service and to keep in contact with neighbours who may be struggling during this time.
To find out about RFCS offered in your region contact your State Dairy Farming Organisation or visit http://www.ruralfinancialcounselling.org.au/.