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The case studies provide a snapshot of how winners from each region have achieved their high milk quality.

The Milk Quality Awards recognise the dairy farmers across Australia who have achieved outstanding milk quality, based on their bulk milk cell count (BMCC).

The case studies below provide a snapshot of how winners from each region have achieved their high milk quality.

  • Copy Link Northern Victoria - Chris Hibberson

    Murray Dairy region dairy farmer enters the top 100 for milk quality

    Murray region dairy farmer Chris Hibberson

    After years on the cusp of the dairy industry’s top prize for milk quality, Northern Victorian dairy farmer Chris Hibberson has been announced as a 2019 winner of Dairy Australia’s Milk Quality Awards.

    Despite facing challenging seasonal conditions, Chris has entered the top 100 producers for milk quality nationwide by maintaining his focus on mastitis management and milk quality, resulting in better outcomes for his heard health and his bottom line.

    Chris and his wife Nicole purchased their 224-acre flood irrigated dairy farm at Yarroweyah after previously share farming on the property.

    A 50:50 split calving pattern is used for their 220-cow mixed herd.

    The feedbase is made up of lucerne and grazed pasture, as well as some hay, which is fed out in rings on a temporary feed pad established in a sacrifice paddock to get through the dry season.

    For Chris, producing high quality milk comes down to three factors – maintaining excellent teat condition, early detection and treatment of mastitis, and herd testing.

    Excellent teat condition

    “I’m finding really good teat condition is the best way to control mastitis,” Chris said.

    Chris is often in the dairy and keeps a close eye on the herd and milkers.

    Keeping the cows calm is important, as calm cows kick the cups off less often, have better milk let-down and move through the dairy more easily.

    Machinery and rubberwear is also serviced regularly to harvest milk efficiently and maintain healthy teats.

    Chris says he has seen improvements in his Bulk Milk Cell Count (BMCC) of 20,000-30,000 cells/mL in changing his rubberwear from round to triangular liners.

    Teat condition is not just managed in the dairy – Chris is a firm believer in providing enough shade to cows in the hotter months to reduce the risk of health problems including mastitis, especially for his autumn calvers.

    When cows experience heat stress in late pregnancy, it suppresses their immune system for several weeks, leading to a higher risk of mastitis.

    Early detection and treatment of mastitis

    Chris routinely uses a chlorhexidine teat spray in the dairy. Teats are kept clean and inspected for any abnormalities at every milking.

    “Identifying and treating cows when they first come in is one of my secrets to keeping a low cell count throughout the whole year,” Chris said.

    When a case of mastitis is identified, Chris uses an intermuscular antibiotic to treat all four quarters, rather than treating quarters individually.

    Cows are clearly marked after treatment for ongoing monitoring and management.

    A major challenge for the business is addressing spikes in cell counts immediately after calving.

    As a preventative measure, all cows receive dry cow treatment, which treats existing infections that were not cured during lactation and reduces the number of new infections during the dry period.

    For one to two months following calving, all cows are stripped weekly, and more often if heifers are prone to mastitis.

    Not only does this help to detect clinicals, it also helps to accustom cows to the milking process and provides an effective signal for milk let-down.

    In early lactation, Chris checks to see that all cows have been milked out properly.

    Dairy Australia’s Countdown program considers a Bulk Milk Cell Count (BMCC) below 150,000 cells/mL to be excellent. Most processors will pay a premium for a cell count below 200,000, but Chris aims for a yearly average around 60,000 cells/mL.

    This number spikes after calving, but Chris believes that addressing any issues early puts his cows in a better position for the remainder of the lactation.

    “I may treat more when they first calve, but I see the benefits later on,” Chris said.

    “From around three months, the cell count drops right back, even as low as 40,000 (cells/mL), and I have very few mastitis issues, so it saves on the vet bills.”

    Herd testing

    Herd testing is conducted once a month on the Hibberson farm to allow Chris and Nicole to make informed decisions about their herd during a tight season.

    Herd testing assists them to see which cows are more prone to mastitis and how they respond to treatments.

    Chris does not believe there is any special secret to maintaining milk quality, but instead believes in making incremental gains across the business.

    Dairy farmers can access a range of resources to improve milk quality and prevent mastitis from Dairy Australia at: dairyaustralia.com.au/mastitis

    More information on Cups On Cups Off courses can be found by contacting Dairy Australia’s Regional Development Programs in each dairy region.

    Download the Murray Dairy 2019 Milk Awards case study.

  • Copy Link Western Victoria - Jakob and Wiebke Franzenburg

    Trusted staff essential for high milk quality, says WestVic dairy farmer

    WestVic - Ballangeich Run

    For western Victorian dairy farmers Jakob and Wiebke Franzenburg, the way they treat their land, livestock and team members is the key to success.

    The owners, directors and operators of Ballangeich Run have been announced as 2019 winners of Dairy Australia’s Milk Quality Awards, recognising their outstanding milk quality based on bulk milk cell count (BMCC).

    The award places them in the top 100 farms in the nation for milk quality, after a 2018/19 season in which they milked 1,300 cows on 1068 ha, producing 12 million litres of milk.

    Ballangeich Run is one of 53 dairy farms in western Victoria to have placed in the top 100 nationwide for milk quality this year.

    The Franzenburgs migrated to Australia from Germany in early 2003 after searching for the best place in the world to produce dairy.

    They have had to meet many challenges since coming to Australia and found that farming in western Victoria can be very different to Europe, with no challenge as significant as finding enough suitable labour to run their farming operation.

    “We are heavily influenced by operating in a global market, especially here in Australia,” Weibke said.

    “While there are differences in the way dairy farms are operated, to be competitive on the world stage, the basic principles remain the same – producing a large quantity of a superior quality product by taking the best of care of our animals, our land and our people. “

    Jakob and Wiebke believe that milk quality comes down to sound management and cannot be attributed to any single technique.

    “There are a thousand factors that come together to achieve milk quality like this,” Wiebke said.

    “It starts with calving and extends to preparing your dry cows for calving, their diet, the milking routine, their hygiene and many, many other factors.

    “It also comes down to the people who handle your cows.”

    While they are pleased to receive their Milk Quality Award, Jakob and Wiebke believe the most satisfaction comes from doing the right thing for their herd and knowing their cows are happy.

    Jacob and Wiebke currently employ 15 staff on their farm who each have distinct roles.

    “The most important part is finding good staff to ensure you achieve high milk quality,” Wiebke said.

    “The milker is as important as the manager – even if the management is terrific, the end result depends on how well the milker performs the job.

    “The hardest thing in the dairy industry is to find and retain good staff.”

    Dairy farmers can access a range of resources to improve milk quality and prevent mastitis from Dairy Australia at: dairyaustralia.com.au/mastitis

    More information on Cups On Cups Off courses can be found by contacting Dairy Australia’s Regional Development Programs in each dairy region.

    Download the WestVic Dairy 2019 Milk Awards case study.

  • Copy Link Gippsland - Leo van den Broek

    Gippsland dairy farmer in top 100 nationwide for milk quality

    Gippsland dairy farmer Leo van den Broek

     For Gippsland dairy farmer Leo van den Broek, producing the best quality milk is one of the most rewarding parts of being a dairy farmer.

    The Tinamba dairy farmer has just been announced as one of the top 100 farmers nationwide, and a winner of a Dairy Australia 2019 Milk Quality Award.

    After five years of milking on his 96-acre, 107-cow dairy farm, Leo takes pride in supplying high quality milk to Australian consumers.

    “We supply milk to everyday Australians, so you’ve got to supply the best milk you can,” Leo said.

    Following a season of high input costs for farmers nationwide, Leo sees improving milk quality as an easy way to stay on top of expenses.

    “You have to be in the premium system now,” Leo said.

    “You might not get a lot extra for it – but it’s still extra.

    “It’s something you can do that doesn’t cost you anything extra but makes a difference to your bottom line.”

    Leo uses a well-established system on his farm to prevent and treat mastitis, reducing his Bulk Milk Cell Count (BMCC) to earn a premium for his milk.

    “I use the same systems day in, day out – I just try to do the best I can,” he said.

    Teat spraying forms an important part of Leo’s daily routine to reduce bacterial numbers on teat skin after milking, keep teat skin healthy, and reduce risk of new infections by up to 50 per cent.

    Every cow is teat sprayed after milking, using a pre-mixed Iodine base teat spray.

    “I’m very fussy with teat spraying,” Leo said.

    “I like to see it running off the teats when I teat spray.”

    The entire herd receives blanket dry cow treatment using a Juraclox dry cow antibiotic, with teat sealing for every animal.

    “I do it myself, and I’m very fussy about how I do it,” Leo said.

    Leo scrubs and disinfects teat ends with cotton balls soaked in alcohol to remove dirt and bacteria prior to teat sealing.

    With just four cases of mastitis last year, Leo was able to keep his BMCC low through early detection and treatment.

    If a cow develops clinical mastitis, Leo treats the quarters affected using an Orbenin lactating cow antibiotic.

    In the dairy, hygiene comes first, and teat cup liners are changed twice each season, in October and February.

    Dairy farmers can access a range of resources to improve milk quality and prevent mastitis from Dairy Australia at: dairyaustralia.com.au/mastitis.

    More information on Cups On Cups Off courses can be found by contacting Dairy Australia’s Regional Development Programs in each dairy region.

    Download the GippsDairy 2019 Milk Quality Awards case study.

  • Copy Link New South Wales - James Neal

    NSW dairy farm takes home fifth Milk Quality Award

    NSW dairy farmer James Neal

    Staying up-to-date with best practice for mastitis prevention and treatment is continuing to pay dividends for NSW dairy farmers James, Peter, Cheryl and Katrina Neal.

    The Oxley Island dairy farmers, based near Taree, have just taken home their fifth consecutive Milk Quality Award, placing them within the top 100 farmers nationwide for milk quality.

    Attributing their ongoing success to sound management and strict controls, James believes milk quality is essential to the industry’s social license to operate.

    “It’s great to be recognised for supplying high quality milk to consumers year after year,” James said.

    “It’s so important for the industry’s reputation’s reputation that dairy farmers produce good quality milk.”

    As a supplier of Norco, James achieves a consistently low annual Bulk Milk Cell Count (BMCC), which ranges between 67 to 77 over the past 5 years.

    This has seen his milk selected by Norco to be exported to key export markets such as China, where an emphasis is placed on premium dairy products and where quality is essential to extend shelf life.

    The farm is located on a floodplain, partly below sea level, which presents a unique range of issues requiring ongoing attention when milking a 700-cow mixed herd of Holsteins, Jerseys, Aussie Reds and crossbreds.

    Determined to maintain high milk quality, James pays close attention to maintaining his farm infrastructure and has implemented a stringent system of mastitis controls.

    “Muddy udders produce mastitis, and we get an average of 1,100mm of rain per year, as well as extensive flooding events,” James said.

    To reduce the impact of mud, gravel laneways and a network of farm drains are well maintained.

    To limit plugging of paddocks during extreme wet periods, which creates mud, Peter has implemented a series of laser scraped drains in each paddock to reduce the build-up of water, while minimising the depth of the drains.

    To keeps udders clean, drains are also fenced off during wet periods.

    For James, monthly herd recording is seen as critical to identifying cows with elevated BMCC.

    Monthly herd recording is conducted through herd management information service Dairy Express to maintain a low BMCC.

    James can access the Dairy Express MISDI website within 24 hours of herd recording to generate production indexes and monitor his herd data using scatter graphs which show each test in a number of scenarios, including cell counts.

    A weighted average report also shows the impact of each cow’s cell count history on the herd’s average cell count.

    Rapid mastitis testing is then used to identify the problem quarter.

    “The quicker you can identify the cows with mastitis, the better the chance they can be cured,” James said.

    To limit mastitis at calving, which generally occurs during wetter conditions, blanket antibiotic treatment and teat sealing is used.

    The washing of teats is minimised to prevent bacteria from a entering the teat end.

    For James, upskilling his farm team to prevent mastitis and achieve a low cell count is a crucial part of maintaining high milk quality.

    Recognising the importance of staff training, James ensures his farm stays up-to-date with the latest information and encourages his staff to attend Cups On Cups Off training as part of Dairy Australia’s Countdown program.

    “Cups On Cups Off courses give our staff a basic understanding of the important things to look for in the herd and dairy for mastitis management,” James said.

    As well as attending training, James ensures Countdown resources such as the Countdown Farm Guidelines are kept on hand for his team to refer to.

    Dairy farmers can access a range of resources to improve milk quality and prevent mastitis from Dairy Australia at: dairyaustralia.com.au/mastitis.

    More information on Cups On Cups Off courses can be found by contacting Dairy Australia’s Regional Development Programs in each dairy region.

    Download the DairyNSW 2019 Milk Quality Awards case study.

  • Copy Link Queensland - Dallas Zischke

    Outstanding milk quality helps farmers weather tough season

    Subtropical - Dallas, Adrian, Glen, and Melvyn Zischke

    Second generation Subtropical dairy farmers Dallas, Adrian, Glen, and Melvyn Zischke weathered a tough season with high input costs by focusing on producing high quality milk.

    The Darling Downs farmers were recently announced as a 2019 winner of Dairy Australia’s Milk Quality Awards, placing them within the top 100 farmers nationwide for milk quality, and the number one farm for milk quality in Queensland.

    It is the thirteenth successive win for the dryland farmers, who operate near Toowoomba in Queensland’s south-east.

    After taking over the family farm in 2005, the brothers continued to milk their 120-cow herd.

    “We’ve been in dairy farming all our lives, and we’re very proud to be Milk Quality Award winners for the thirteenth year in a row,” Dallas said.

    “We always try to maintain high milk quality, for the sake of getting all our bonuses and keeping up our profitability.”

    With no irrigation system in place, a volatile climate and high hay and grain costs have put pressure on the Zischkes’ farming system and placed even greater importance on milk quality.

    As a supplier of Norco, the Zischkes’ milk quality sees them earn a premium of up to 11 cents per litre on top of their base milk price, allowing them to stay on top of high input costs.

    “The premiums we get from high milk quality have a big impact on our bottom line,” Dallas said.

    The Zischkes have always relied heavily on home-grown fodder to feed their herd, but tough weather conditions last season presented a major challenge.

    “We’re usually very self-sufficient and grow our own hay, but the weather hasn’t been in our favour,” Dallas said.

    “We bought in hay last year at over $500 per tonne, which was very expensive.”

    For the Zischkes, the secret to maintaining their milk quality and profitability came down to sound management and effective herd monitoring.

    “It’s all about management,” Dallas said.

    “We do monthly herd recording, which lets us keep track of cows with high bulk milk cell counts and make informed decisions.”

    As well as actively tracking the BMCC of each cow, the Zischkes stay across best practice for mastitis prevention, including by using Dairy Australia’s Countdown resources.

    “We teat spray every time, and we always have,” said Dallas.

    “At drying off, we treat every cow with a dry cow treatment to prevent mastitis.”

    “Every day, you have to stick to it – it’s about consistency.”

    Dairy farmers can access a range of resources to improve milk quality and prevent mastitis from Dairy Australia at: dairyaustralia.com.au/mastitis.

    More information on Cups On Cups Off courses can be found by contacting Dairy Australia’s Regional Development Programs in each dairy region.

    Download the Subtropical Dairy 2019 Milk Quality Awards case study.

  • Copy Link Tasmania - Mark Griffin

    Team culture key to milk quality, says Tasmanian Milk Quality Award winner

    Tasmanian dairy farmer Mark Griffin amongst the dairy herd

    Accurate record keeping, herd testing, improving skill sets and maintaining a high staff retention rate are the keys to improving milk quality, according to Tasmanian dairy farmer Mark Griffin.

    The central north dairy farm was announced as a winner of Dairy Australia’s 2019 Milk Quality Awards, recognising the farm as being in the top 100 nationwide for milk quality.

    The 800-cow three-way crossbred herd is milked through a 50-bale rotary with a spring-based calving pattern, producing an average monthly bulk milk cell count (BMCC) of 70,000 in 2018.

    Managing the farm team

    Mark has seen milk quality continue to improve in recent years, making continual improvements to the system and attributing the farm’s success to the support, effort and attitude of the farm team.

    “Establishing common team goals with staff and improving your team culture is very important,” Mark said.

    Mark regularly encourages the team to suggest ways to improve their milk quality and take an active role in preventing mastitis.

    He believes keeping the cows calm and handling them gently reduces their stress levels and increases the quality of the milk.

    “Attention to detail is crucial – it doesn’t matter if you milk 1,000 cows or 100 cows,” he said.

    “You have to support your staff, lead by example, and provide flexibility of lifestyle.”

    The farm has a very high retention rate, which Mark believes plays a major role in business profitability.

    Encouraging training and upskilling

    Recognising the importance of building the skills of people on-farm, the farm team has undertaken Dairy Australia’s Cups On Cups Off training, which teaches best practice for mastitis prevention.

    After deciding to take the farm’s milk quality to the next level and break into the top 100, Mark decided to refresh his knowledge and pursue more training to further improve the dairy herd’s performance.

    “I always recommend refreshers – even if you only pick up one or two new things at training courses, it makes a big difference to your overall system,” he said.

    “You can also create networks and talk to other farmers about what has worked well and what hasn’t worked well for them.”

    Preventing mastitis

    With a strong focus on continual improvement, the team have implemented a number of new processes to improve milk quality and reduce mastitis cases.

    They have fitted Ambic in-line mastitis detectors in the dairy, on each set of cups, which are closely monitored by the cups off operator at every milking.

    If mastitis is detected during milking, that bale is not used for the rest of the milking to prevent cross-contamination.

    “All heifers are teat sealed to reduce the risk of mastitis at calving, with a goal of saving costs in the long-term by reducing the number of mastitis cases and increasing lifetime productivity of those animals,” Mark said.

    All staff receive training on-farm before they are tasked with teat sealing, with the farm team recognising that hygiene is crucial to milk quality.

    Herd testing is conducted monthly, with the data then used to identify cows which require dry cow treatment.

    Higher cell count cows averaging more than 200,000 throughout the lactation will be treated with a broad-spectrum dry cow therapy at the end of their lactation.

    Milk cultures are collected at calving time and prior to dry off to ensure the most effective dry cow therapy and mastitis treatments are being administered.

    A ‘traffic light’ system of different coloured paint dots has also been implemented to monitor the herd, with a yellow dot placed in the middle of the udder of cows that are suspected to be at risk of mastitis.

    Cow behaviour is actively monitored by all team members, with Mark believing that knowing the herd is crucial to noticing behavioural changes in particular cows.

    Believing prevention is better than cure, the farm has switched to a premixed iodine teat spray, having moved away from mixing iodine concentrates themselves.

    Mark believes this has saved time and achieves a more accurate consistency.

    The farm also adds glycerine into the iodine after calving in the wetter months and has found this to be very effective, improving teat condition and cow comfort dramatically.

    “All staff in the dairy wear milking gloves, and if mastitis is detected at cups on or cups off, the milking glove that came into contact with mastitis bacteria is thrown in the bin and a new glove put on,” Mark said.

    “Mastitis cows are always milked last to prevent cross contamination.”

    Dairy farmers can access a range of resources to improve milk quality and prevent mastitis from Dairy Australia at: dairyaustralia.com.au/mastitis.

    More information on Cups On Cups Off courses can be found by contacting Dairy Australia’s Regional Development Programs in each dairy region.

    Download the DairyTas 2019 Milk Quality Awards case study.

  • Copy Link South Australia - Gary and Ros Zweck

    South Australian farmer recognised for outstanding milk quality

    Gary and Rob Zweck

    From selling milk ‘out of the can’ in the 1970s, to producing a direct milk supply of 2.1 million litres of grade one-level milk nearly fifty years on, Gary and Ros Zweck and their son Justin are deservedly proud of their achievements.

    To top it off, the Zwecks have just been listed in the top five per cent of producers in the 2019 Australian Milk Quality Awards. The awards recognise the farms with the highest milk quality in Australia.

    Donava Farm has the unenviable moniker of being the furthermost northern dairy farm in South Australia, located at Blyth in the mid-north.

    With an annual rainfall of just 350ml and no irrigation, the Zwecks have had to ‘work smarter’ to achieve this success.

    “We’ve undoubtedly made some fairly dramatic improvements to our practices compared to how we were operating a couple of years ago,” Gary said.

    Maintaining high milk quality doesn’t come without its challenges, particularly following a significant rain event in early June.

    “There was a lot more moisture around, which created a small spike in the cell count, but we’ve managed to keep it under control,” Gary said.

    To keep his bulk milk cell count (BMCC) low, Gary has adopted a blanket dry cow and teat seal treatment program.

    Gary’s total mixed ration feed pad system presents unique challenges around controlling cell counts and mastitis, which are offset by keeping the loafing area surfaces as dry as possible.

    The Zwecks recently upgraded their feed lane by laying rubble mixed with cement dust to give it a firmer base, to reduce the impact of wet weather.

    On a daily basis, Gary cultivates the cow pens with a small linkage cultivator which breaks up and mixes the fresh manure with the old composted manure, helping to break it down faster.

    “This ensures that our cows can loaf comfortably on the drier surface, reducing contact with wet manure,” Gary explained.

    “Not only has this driven the milk quality higher but it has had the two-fold effect of reducing our vet bills for mastitis treatment, and with less culls over time.”

    High milk quality has also been maintained by encouraging employees to undertake Dairy Australia’s two-day Cups On Cups Off course delivered by vet Simon Edwards, part of the flagship Countdown program.

    “The course highlighted the strict practices that need to be adhered to in order to reduce mastitis,” Gary said.

    "This includes wearing gloves, washing and drying teats before putting cups on, covering 100 per cent of every teat with teat disinfectant, and keeping the teats dry for up to an hour after leaving the shed.”

    The Zwecks ensure there is feed already on the pad when cows leave the shed, believing stockmanship is vitally important to reducing stress during the milking process.

    With a direct milk supply that has strict quality guidelines - only accepting grade one level milk - the Zwecks have plenty of reasons to keep their eyes on the prize.

    “We can’t afford to take our focus off milk quality, so all our decisions drive that outcome,” Gary said.

    When it comes to advice for others, Gary is a strong advocate of herd testing as an important driver of any dairy farm.

    “Herd testing is the key to knowing what your cows are achieving and where they sit within the herd, simplifying all the decision making,” Gary said.

    Gary is excited about the future and the potential for leveraging the data available to farmers’ fingertips.

    “There’s so much more we can do with herd testing, there’s really no limit to the possibilities,” he said.

    Dairy farmers can access a range of resources to improve milk quality and prevent mastitis from Dairy Australia at: dairyaustralia.com.au/mastitis.

    More information on Cups On Cups Off courses can be found by contacting Dairy Australia’s Regional Development Programs in each dairy region.

    Download the DairySA 2019 Milk Quality Awards case study.

  • Copy Link Western Australia - Rodney, Nicole and Justin May

    WA ‘Cow Town’ dairy farmer takes home top prize for milk quality

    Rodney, Nicole and Justin May at their dairy farm in Cowaramup, Western Australia

    Dairy enthusiasm does not get any bigger than in the Western Australian hamlet of Cowaramup, where cows are worshipped, in art and in life.

    About a three-hour drive south of Perth, the idyllic locale affectionately known as ‘Cow Town’ is home to 42 Friesian sculptures and dairy farmer of 55 years Rodney May, his wife Nicole and their four children.

    The family own 235 hectares of land on the outskirts and lease another 202 hectares where they milk a 230-cow herd and produce more than two million litres each year.

    This year, they are proud to be among the top 100 farmers in Australia for milk quality, and among the top five in WA, based on annual average bulk milk cell count (BMCC) records.

    “To be in the top one hundred farmers in the country for milk quality means a lot to us – it’s fantastic,” Nicole said.

    “A healthy cow in most cases will produce more milk and more profit.”

    Nicole May said there was no ‘big secret’ to producing high quality milk but credited keeping a close eye on each cow’s health and wellbeing, maintaining thorough hygiene practices, and having a son who was passionate about the industry taking the lead in the dairy.

    Nicole and Rodney’s 20-year-old son Justin, a WA College of Agriculture Harvey graduate, has carried out most milkings at the dairy since he left year 12 in 2016.

    “We are all very proud of what Justin has achieved,” Nicole said.

    “He’s very thorough when it comes to milking and keeps a close eye on our cows.”

    To prevent mastitis, Justin monitors the cows at each milking and removes freshly calved cows from the calving paddock to milk soon after calving.

    All freshly calved cows have their teats sprayed with iodine before and after milking, for up to four days, and grain pullers are sterilised to minimise the spread of disease.

    “To keep the teats clean we also keep cow tails trimmed and we upgrade laneways when necessary by compacting and keeping them free of manure and dirt,” Justin said.

    “We advise all staff members, especially new and inexperienced people, to maintain good standards of hygiene.”

    These standards include teat spraying and wearing new milking gloves at each milking, as well as keeping rubberware and liners in good condition and changing them as required.

    The dairy is positioned in the middle of 65 separate paddocks so the herd does not walk more than one hour to come home for milking.

    The rapid exit dairy has 15 cows each side and doubled up, featuring automatic cup removers and an automatic drafting gate controlled by ALPRO™.

    The family also owns some well-trained working dogs who are responsible for bringing the herd to the dairy in the morning while the family prepares for milking.

    The dogs then assisted with rounding up in the afternoon. While not able to bark, pet ostrich ‘Reena’ does her best to keep watch over the calves in the home paddocks.

    “We breed from the end of April through to mid-July using artificial insemination,” Nicole said.

    “Three quarters of our cows calve between the end of January and mid-May and the rest calve before October,” she explained.

    Despite the industry accolades, the family have no plans for expansion just yet – preferring instead to continue doing what they do best in the cow capital of Australia.

    Dairy farmers can access a range of resources to improve milk quality and prevent mastitis from Dairy Australia at: dairyaustralia.com.au/mastitis.

    More information on Cups On Cups Off courses can be found by contacting Dairy Australia’s Regional Development Programs in each dairy region.

    Download the WesternDairy 2019 Milk Quality Awards case study.

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