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WA dairy farmer recognised for outstanding milk quality

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.

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