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Dairy farmers producing Australia’s best quality milk have been named in Dairy Australia’s 2020 Milk Quality Awards.

The awards recognise farmers producing the country’s best milk based on bulk milk cell count (BMCC). Gold Awards are given to the ‘Top 100’ dairy farmers nationally for milk quality. Together with Silver Awards winners, these farmers are the top 5% of Australian producers for milk quality.

Dairy Australia Managing Director Dr David Nation congratulated the 2020 winners. “The industry can take pride in the achievement of all winners of these awards. Getting to this level takes consistent focus across the year on all aspects of the milking process, including effective mastitis control and maintaining a high level of attention to detail. This dedication underpins the high quality of Australian dairy products.”

A focus on low BMCC helps increase milk yields and can improve the milk income received by farmers. Most processing companies pay a premium for milk with a BMCC below 250,000 cells/ml and Dairy Australia analysis estimates that a farmer milking 300 cows who lowers their BMCC from 250,000 to 100,000 would be financially better off to the tune of $39,000 per year.

Dr Nation said Dairy Australia’s Countdown program had helped support an industry wide focus on profitable mastitis control in dairy herds. The organisation has also launched a new online/on-farm learning platform this year called Milking and Mastitis Management, which was designed to help farmers train new and inexperienced milking staff.

Dairy Australia’s Countdown program is the dairy industry’s flagship program to assist farmers and their advisors to achieve profitable mastitis control. In recent years, closer ties with milk quality specialists within the major processors has led to better uptake of Dairy Australia resources and improvements in milk quality across the industry.

“Dairy farmers can improve milk quality by attending training courses nationwide provided by our eight Regional Development Programs. We also have a network of nearly 300 Dairy Australia trained Countdown Advisors, including vets, machine technicians, factory field officers and herd improvement staff across the country. Farmers can also access a range of online resources on Dairy Australia’s website and use other services like DataGene,” said Dr Nation.

Data for the Milk Quality Awards is supplied to Dairy Australia by dairy companies across the country. To be eligible, dairy farms must have data for a minimum of nine months in a calendar year. Monthly averages are then used to calculate the annual average BMCC for each farm.

Lists of winners and some case studies can be accessed on our Milk Quality Awards winners page.

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