Dairy Australia - Dairy information for Australian Dairy Farmers and the industry

Primary content

Milk Quality Awards - Case studies

  • Copy Link Dairy SA Rodney Herrmann

    South Australian farmer recognised for outstanding milk quality

    Rodney Herrmann has been receiving milk quality awards for years, but his high production standards have been decades in the making.
    Farmers and cows

    Dairy Australia's Cups On Cups Off courses have helped Rodney and his staff keep up with the latest techniques to maintain high milk quality.

    In the 2018 Australian Milk Quality Awards, Rodney was in the top five per cent of producers. The awards recognise the farms with the highest milk quality in Australia.

    'It's a nice surprise, but we do tend to do the right thing', said Rodney.

    Doing the 'right thing' means a strict dry cow regime that keeps udder health at a high level. For Rodney, a vet's visit back in the 1970s to the family's Mt Torrens farm acted as a wake-up call for stricter protocols on farm.

    'I remember the vet came out and tested every cow and said that we have a problem with resistance to certain antibiotics', he said.

    'After that, we changed the dry cow paddock, eliminated mud around the dairy, got cement raceways, tried to calve in clean paddocks ' all those sort of things.'

    Maintaining high milk quality has been assisted by participation in Cups On Cups Off workshops, which help dairy farmers achieve best practice in milk harvesting.

    The Cups on Cups Off courses are two-day training workshops delivered by Dairy Australia's Regional Development Programs and trained experts in mastitis and milk quality.

    They help dairy farmers achieve best practice in milk harvesting, with emphasis on the detection, treatment and prevention of clinical mastitis.

    'My staff have done the course and I did some of it a few years ago', Rodney said.

    'It sharpens all of us up a bit so we don't get slack with things.'

    Rodney said the course has improved the way he runs the milking routine, with a greater emphasis on finding the sweet spot between under milking and over milking.

    'The other thing I've learnt is to have a good rest phase in your pulsation', he said.

    'We've changed pulsators so we are getting a better rest phase. We've gone to cup removers now which helps with that.'

    To register for the next round of Cups On Cups Off courses, contact your local Regional Development Program.

  • Copy Link Gipps Dairy Matt Coleman

    Gippsland dairy farmer recognised for outstanding milk quality

    Two farmers and cow

    Matt and Maya Coleman with one of the Jersey cows that has been producing award winning milk.

    Farm Details

    Dairy Region

    Macalister Irrigation District, Gippsland

    Milking area (Ha)

    56

    Cows milked (numbers)

    200

    Milk Production (Kg Milk Solids)

    100,000 plus

    Milk Production (Kg Milk Solids/cow)

    520

    Controlling mastitis using Dairy Australia's Cups On Cups Off principles has paid dividends for Gippsland dairy farmer Matt Coleman.

    Matt, who farms with wife Rosalie and their children Maya, Billy and Lilia at Maffra in Gippsland, has been recognised for producing milk with cell counts in the lowest five per cent of Australian dairies.

    Their Australian Milk Quality Award is no accident, with the Colemans showing a commitment to good habits - both in the dairy and on the farm - that help reduce incidences of clinical mastitis.

    While Matt leads the way in ensuring milk quality remains high, fifteen-year-old Maya recently attended a Cups On Cups Off workshop to help her better understand the steps involved in producing low cell count milk.

    'It was fantastic for Maya', Matt said.

    'It really fast-tracked her knowledge of what happens in the dairy and what happens with the cows.'

    For Matt, who accompanied Maya to the workshop, it was a refresher in best practice helping to reinforce good habits and opening his eyes to a few new procedures.

    'It reinforces what you need to do. Things like teat washing the cows and using paper towels. You can never say you know it all, you can always, improve and change', Matt said. '

    'It's always important to look over the fence, there's only so much you can learn at home. It's important to get out, go to these courses or discussion groups. You normally learn something every time you go out.'

    Matt's meticulous approach to herd health can be shown in his long list of 'dos and don'ts' that contribute to keeping his cows healthy. '

    'It's just doing the best you can, whether that's dry cow therapy, hygiene in the dairy or making sure you are changing your rubber-wear at the right time', he said.

    'Around calving time, I always make sure there is somewhere clean for them to sit down at night time. I also tend to be pretty ruthless on culling cows that have three clinical cases of mastitis.

    'We use green filter socks as one of our tools - it just means you can see any prevalence of mastitis that little bit more easily.

    'All the little recommendations you will see in the COCO course, we try and tick all those boxes to the best of our ability.'

    The Australian Milk Quality Awards recognise farms that have consistently achieved the best milk quality based on annual average bulk milk cell count across Australia's milk processing companies.

    Cups on Cups Off courses are two-day training workshops delivered by Dairy Australia's Regional Development Programs and trained experts in mastitis and milk quality. It helps dairy farmers achieve best practice in milk harvesting, with the emphasis on the detection, treatment and prevention of clinical mastitis.

    To register for the next round of Cups On Cups Off, contact your local Regional Development Program.

  • Copy Link Murray Dairy Jack Young

    Murray dairy farmer recognised for outstanding milk quality

    Milking cows

    For second generation Wyuna dairy farmer Jack Young, maintaining great milk quality isn't just rewarding - it's a family tradition.

    Jack's parents, Julie and Stuart, started farming in the Murray region 25 years ago. Julie instilled in Jack and his brother Alec a passion for milk quality that they still embrace today.

    With two generations of know-how when it comes to milk quality, it's no surprise that the Young family farm is one of the winners of the 2018 Australian Milk Quality Awards.

    The awards recognise farms that have achieved the best milk quality based on annual average bulk milk cell count (BMCC) across Australia's milk processing companies.

    Jack employs two full time staff members - a milker and a young 19-year-old farm hand who is keen to learn more about dairy farming.

    In Jack's eyes, a big part of learning how to manage milk quality will be taking Dairy Australia's Cups On Cups Off and Countdown courses to learn the industry's best practice to achieve outstanding milk quality on farm.

    'I'll be encouraging both my staff to do Cups On Cups Off courses. Staff are key to any farm operation and we've got to make sure they're across what's in these courses', Jack said.

    But with the winter months bringing cold and wet conditions, Jack knows it will be as important as ever to pay extra attention to his cows to maintain his milk quality. He's encouraging others to do the same.

    'My biggest tip is to pay attention to dry off procedures. If you're not doing your dry off right, you're setting your cow up for failure before she's even lactating', he said.

    'It's just so important to maintain hygiene. That's the key message, right through your whole dry off procedure and your whole milking routine.

    'Make sure you wash your machinery and clean your cows' teats. It's about looking after your cows and making sure your hygiene is up to scratch.'

    To Jack, high milk quality has always been a big part of what's made his farm successful for a quarter of a century and counting.

    'I was brought up on the farm. I've loved it ever since I was a little kid. I love it all', he said.

    'Mum has always been a big driver of keeping low cell counts and maintaining our milk quality. We've continued that and we are continuing to keep up our processes today.'

    Cups on Cups Off courses are two-day training workshops delivered by Dairy Australia's Regional Development Programs and trained experts in mastitis and milk quality. They help dairy farmers achieve best practice in milk harvesting, with emphasis on the detection, treatment and prevention of clinical mastitis.

    To register for the next round of Cups On Cups Off courses, contact your local RDP.

  • Copy Link Western Dairy Matt Brett

    WA dairy farmer recognised for outstanding milk quality

    For Ferguson Valley dairy farmer Matt Brett, high milk quality is a sign of farmers making strong contributions to the industry he loves.

    With four generations of dairying behind them, the Brett family's farm is an example of hard work paying off as their herd of 180 cows produces some of the best milk quality in the country.

    With this commitment, it's no surprise Matt's farm is one of the winners of the Australian 2018 Milk Quality Awards.

    The awards recognise farms which have achieved the best milk quality based on annual average bulk milk cell count (BMCC) across Australia's milk processing companies.

    For Matt, a big part of his continued success and his ability to keep up with best practice has been Dairy Australia's Cups On Cups Off course and Countdown resources.

    The courses are two-day training workshops delivered by Regional Development Programs and trained experts in mastitis and milk quality. They help dairy farmers achieve best practice in milk harvesting, with emphasis on the detection, treatment and prevention of clinical mastitis.

    'I've read the Countdown books and resources and the recommended practices fit in perfectly with our farm', he said.

    'We are always looking to make improvements so our milk quality stays where it is and our farm is in line with what's taught in the Cups On Cups Off courses.

    'I employ a full time staff member now and I'll be encouraging him to take the Cups On Cups Off course. Even though he's had experience on a much larger farm, I want him to see if he can pick up anything new.'

    The health of his herd is Matt's top priority, and he gets no greater satisfaction than knowing he's on top of the welfare of his cows.

    'Attention to detail is the most important thing – once you achieve high milk quality, it's easier to maintain', he said.

    'I focus on cows' health and we make sure we're feeding them well. We do herd recording every month, which is very helpful. Even though a lot of people don't look forward to it, it gives you a sense of how your herd's going.

    'A lot of people say if you've got a small farm, you have it easier. But you've still got to stay on top of it. I can have a cell count of 40,000 one day and it can spike to 200,000 the next if a cow gets mastitis.

    'Milk quality is all about ensuring you have sound, consistent milking practices in place and have the ability to monitor the whole herd to pick up and stay on top of any issues.

    'We've got filters we use to check every cow and we check them all for mastitis. We also get our machines serviced every year and we check them ourselves thoroughly every six months. We rip back pipes and make sure the quality is there.'

    Farming is near and dear to Matt and his family, and he wants others in the industry to embrace best practices in their milking routines in the future.

    'This farm's been in my family for more than 100 years. It's always been in my blood. I helped the old man out whenever I could when I was a little guy', he said.

    'High milk quality is important to the whole industry and helps tell our story.

    'If we can keep our milk quality high, it shows everyone loves what they're doing and that they love keeping their milk quality high.'

    To register for the next round of Cups On Cups Off courses, contact your local RDP.

  • Copy Link WestVic Dairy Andrew Powell

    WestVic farmer recognised for outstanding milk quality

    Farmer with cows 

    For Cooriemungle dairy farmer Andrew Powell, taking advantage of Dairy Australia’s Cups On Cups Off courses has paid off.

    A third generation Western Victoria dairy farmer, Andrew considers the quality of milk key to sucessfully managing the farm his grandparents built.

    With his commitment to milk quality, it’s no surprise that Andrew is one of the winners of the Australian 2018 Milk Quality Awards.

    Every year, the Awards recognise farms which have achieved the best milk quality based on annual average bulk milk cell count (BMCC) across Australia’s milk processing companies.

    Andrew has been on-farm his whole life and was the winner of the 2018 Great South West Dairy Awards Young Farm Leader. For him, the most rewarding part of dairy farming is the ability to make hands-on improvements every day with tangible outcomes.

    "I'm passionate about pasture management and herd health; I want to get results," he said.

    “These are two of my biggest passions, because you can get instant rewards.

    "That’s where milk quality comes in. We’ve had issues in the past, but through better management, putting systems in place and making sure everyone is on the same page, we’ve been able to improve that."

    On the Powell farm, prevention of mastitis and ensuring a low BMCC is achieved through planning ahead. Andrew implements simple but effective processes to ensure issues can be dealt with quickly when they arise.

    Andrew said the farm business put solid processes in place in terms of dairy maintenance and was conducting weekly dairy checks.

    "We really saw the benefits. We found we were retaining more cows and reducing mastitis."

    For Andrew, the most important thing is the health of the herd and looking after the cows.

    "We don’t aim for low cell count milk – we aim for healthier cows," he said.

    Andrew said the farm was focusing on preventing mastitis from occurring in the first place.
     
    "You need to have a team approach; everyone needs to be on board," he said.

    "Everyone on our farm knows about the importance of milk quality; everyone is here to learn how to be a dairy farmer and to learn best practice.

    "Cups On Cups Off is a part of that."

    Andrew currently employs four staff members and encourages his team to take Dairy Australia’s Cups On Cups Off courses.

    "I’ve been in the industry all my life and I send all my staff to do Cups On Cups Off courses as part of their induction and traineeship," Andrew said.

    "I want them to learn about mastitis and herd health – that’s best practice and they bring that back to the farm.

    "We have a really good culture. We aim for what’s best practice.

    "The processes that we’ve got in place are reflective of what’s in Dairy Australia’s Cups On Cups Off courses.

    We learned from the issues we had in the early 2000s and we implemented a lot of what’s in the courses ourselves. Our processes are now very similar to the Countdown recommended practices."

    Dairy Australia's Cups on Cups Off courses are two-day accredited training courses delivered by Registered Training Providers in conjunction with Regional Development Programs. The courses provide the most up to date, evidence based information about minimising mastitis and help dairy farmers achieve best practice in milk harvesting, with emphasis on the detection, treatment and prevention of clinical mastitis.

    To register for the next round of COCO courses, contact your local RDP.

Major Initiatives

Focus Farms

Dairy Australia has established a network of Focus Farms to support farmer decision making. Find out how Focus Farms looks at the factors impacting decisions at any point in time, including seasonal and market conditions.

DataGene

DataGene is an independent and industry-owned organisation responsible for driving genetic gain and herd improvement in the Australian dairy industry and is an initiative of Dairy Australia and industry.

More Initiatives