Questions and Answers about COVID-19
Commonly asked questions
The below information addresses some commonly asked questions about COVID-19. Although this list is regularly updated, we recommend you also visit your local government website for the latest advice and information on COVID-19.
Refer to this COVID-19 Dairy Industry Glossary for a list of regularly used terms.
If you have more questions, please email us at email@example.com.
Should I use a face mask?
Information on the use of face masks on farm, for Victorians and for other regions of Australia, can be found on Information for farm owners and employees page under 'How to reduce COVID-19 risk on farm' section.
What impact has COVID-19 had on Regional Development Programs?
In line with the recommendations of government and health professionals, Dairy Australia has postponed face-to-face events. As COVID-19 restrictions ease in some regions, our teams are starting to recommence farm visits and extension activities, whilst continuing to offer remote options.
Each regional team is managing their return to extension with a focus on the safety and wellbeing of the dairy community, guided by the recommendations of health professionals and state and federal regulations. Please check your regional newsletter or website for details.
We will continue to provide information and resources for farm businesses, staff and the wider industry. Please contact your regional team for further information on extension activities.
Does COVID-19 affect livestock or milk production?
There is no known transmission risk to livestock or through milk.
The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) have confirmed the COVID-19 virus has an animal source but the current spread is a result of human to human transmission. There is no evidence that livestock can contract or spread the disease.
Food Standards Australia & NZ (FSANZ) have reported that transmission of COVID-19 through food is considered unlikely, and there is no evidence of this occurring to date. FSANZ considers it unlikely that milk would be a carrier of the virus, and pasteurisation during milk processing would reduce any slight risk to negligible levels.
For more information, download the fact sheet - COVID-19 transmission and dairy foods - evidence of safety on farm and in factory.
Will COVID-19 affect milk pick-ups?
Dairy Australia is working with processors, tanker operators, haulage companies and farmer representatives to ensure milk pick-ups can continue without major interruption. For farm milk collection guidelines, national border closures and movement of essential services, please visit our Information for processors and service providers page.
Am I going to be able to buy everything I need for my business?
There is a chance local service providers or wholesalers may have interruptions to their normal operations which could make it difficult to get your usual business inputs or services.
Consider what goods (e.g. chemicals) you rely on to keep your business going in the coming three to four months and reach out to your suppliers to understand their plans to maintain business continuity.
If you encounter a major disruption, contact your processor for help in making alternative arrangements.
How should we handle regional Glyphosate supply issues?
Disruption of global supply chains due to Covid-19 has meant that some farm inputs are in short supply in some regions. One input used widely across Australia for the control of weeds, particularly at sowing, is glyphosate. This product is in short supply in some regions which may reflect both local seasonal conditions and COVID-19 related circumstances. This may affect dairy farmers who are intending to sow new pastures or winter crops.
There are other chemical options that can be used, depending on the weed that is being controlled, when establishing new pastures or crops. For recommendations and to ensure that you get the correct herbicide for the weed issue, seek advice from your local agronomist. Your local agronomist can also provide you with tillage options to assist in the control of weeds.
For further information on renovation of pastures in autumn, or winter cereal and annual ryegrass options visit our page on Renovating pastures.
Will milk supply chains be protected from interruption?
The Australian dairy industry calls on State and Federal governments, as well as local councils to formally acknowledge the collection and processing of dairy products as an essential service offered to communities across the country.
This means guaranteeing a continuity for all milk collection operations across Australia and ensuring supply chains are kept open to manage product flows – in turn enabling the dairy industry to keep retail stores stocked and households and food-service facilities (e.g. child care, schools) provided for.
As COVID-19 plans are drafted to restrict and delay the spread, we urge the State and Federal governments, as well as local councils to remember the crucial importance of functioning dairy supply lines across Australia and take into account:
- Smooth and continuous supply of dairy products across Australia is vital in all stages of COVID-19 management plans and across the country.
- Dairy is not a virus transmission vector: Food Standards Australia New Zealand issued a statement in March 2020 that transmission through food is unlikely and there is no evidence this is occurring to date. The Victorian Government has further cited this information.
- Raw milk is highly perishable and requires processing withing 48 hours. Therefore, milk collection needs to be maintained without any disruptions.
- There has been a significant increase in demand for dairy products in recent weeks. Therefore, it’s ever more crucial supply chains are kept open to manage product flow to ensure the industry can keep shelves and fridges stocked.
What do I do if I have a staff member returning/arriving from overseas?
The Australian Government has imposed a universal precautionary self-isolation requirement on all international arrivals, effective as at 11:59pm Sunday 15 March 2020.
This means that all people - whether they be citizens, residents or visitors - will be required to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival in Australia. Enhanced screening for arrivals will remain in place to identify anyone arriving sick or with symptoms of COVID-19.
Each farm is different and will approach COVID-19 in their own way, based on their requirements, and information is often changing.
Please visit our page on Information for farm owners and employees for more information about managing your workforce. This information is designed to enable farm owners to consider their workforce options and make decisions based on their needs, in accordance with legal requirements.
What is COVID-19/Coronavirus?
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause illness from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).
Initial human infections of the novel type of coronaviruses were acquired from exposure to animals at a live animal market in Wuhan.
The disease caused by the novel coronavirus has been named COVID-19 by the World Health Organization.
Common symptoms of the disease include a fever, cough, sore throat, fatigue and difficulty breathing. Severe cases can cause pneumonia, and even death.
For more information about COVID-19 please visit the ministry of health website - https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert# if-youre-concerned.
How does Coronavirus spread?
COVID-19 is spread from someone with confirmed coronavirus to other close contacts with that person through contaminated droplets spread by coughing or sneezing, or by contact with contaminated hands, surfaces or objects.
The time between when a person is exposed to the virus and when symptoms first appear is typically 5 to 6 days, although may range from 2 to 14 days. For this reason, people who might have been in contact with a confirmed case are being asked to self-isolate for 14 days.
It is important to note that no public health authority has advised of any concern that this illness can be transmitted or has been known to be transmitted via food or drink.
What do I do if I suspect I have Coronavirus?
How can I best protect myself against the virus?
For information about how to minimize the spread on your farm, please visit our page on How to reduce COVID-19 risk on-farm.[INSERT LINK TO page]
For general information about how to protect yourself and the people around you from the virus, visit the ministry of health web page on How to protect yourself and others from coronavirus (COVID-19).
When will a vaccine be available?
How do I make an informed decision about whether to travel?
Do I need to worry about shortages of household goods?
No, the Australian Government has plans in place to ensure access to critical supplies in the event of emergencies.
If you take any medications, consider securing an extra week to four weeks of supplies in case of the need to self-isolate.
Unlike other emergencies, there’s no reason that a pandemic will take out your electricity, gas, or water, so you should be able to cook as usual.