WestVic farmers celebrate 21st Milk Quality Award

Victorian dairy farmers Paul and Karen Finlayson have again been recognised for their high-quality milk production, receiving a gold plaque from the 2023 Australian Milk Quality Awards.

Dairy Australia’s Milk Quality Awards recognise farms across Australia with an annual average Bulk Milk Cell Count (BMCC) in the lowest five per cent. This is from data collected by processors during the financial year.


The top 100 farms in the list with the lowest BMCC each receive a gold plaque for their farm gate. Paul and Karen have a long history of exceptional milk quality. They have received a plaque each year since the Milk Quality Awards were established in 2002 – adding to their collection of other awards received over eight years prior to then.


The Finlaysons farm is in Jancourt East, located in South-west Victoria. They calve from April to June and have a herd of 80 cows, with their milk supply going to Bulla Dairy Foods. It is a dryland farm, and Paul is humble when he says it’s nothing special at all.


“I’m just trying to look after cows as best I can,” he says.


Paul’s focus has been on the breeding side of the herd, which is Friesian stud. He has been trying to improve overall type and production – and it is paying off.


“I’ve really tried to improve the cows’ udders through breeding, which is showing now. Cows can have big swinging udders, and now they’re all tucked up nice and tight. This is good in the wintertime as they’re not dragging them around in mud and around their legs, so they walk comfortably,” Paul says.


A lifelong dairy farmer, Paul’s calmness and care for the animals is reflected in the dairy and has earned him the nickname ‘the cow whisperer.’


“I’m a big believer in keeping the cows as calm as possible. I don’t put any stress on them at all; I avoid that at all costs,” he says.


Paul says it is good to have hard work recognised through the Milk Quality Awards.


“Winning the awards and getting a pat on the back every now and then is good,” he says.


“I really enjoy what I do – it’s the old saying: if you enjoy what you do, you never a work a day in your life.”


Karen Finlayson is proud of her husband and what he has achieved.


“I don’t keep well so Paul’s not only running the farm, but he’s also helping me around the house and everything – he just does an unreal job,” she says.


The couple has been in a successful supply partnership with Bulla Dairy Foods since September 2019.


“Bulla has just been fantastic with us and recognising us with the awards,” Karen says.


“We’ve been given a voucher every year and a bag of stuff, plus Bulla visits to congratulate us. It’s been fantastic, and we couldn’t be happier.”


Bulla Farm Business Development Manager, David Hester, says Paul and Karen continually provide great quality milk.


“They have put in a lot of hard work over a long time and are proud of their achievements. This is on show when you enter their farm, with Dairy Australia and other quality awards from the past 20-plus years displayed,” David explains.


Producing premium dairy products is very important to Bulla, which operates four factories in Victoria (Colac and Melbourne). As David says, without quality milk it is harder to make quality products – and participating in the Australian Milk Quality Awards recognises those who are striving to improve their produce each year.


“The awards show that Australia has a of great suppliers with premium quality milk, and we are proud to acknowledge that – also, suppliers love reading to see if they have won and who else has been recognised,” David says.


“Australian farmers put in a lot of hard work to give companies great quality milk. This is shown in the great quality products Bulla have, and receiving continual recognition will encourage farmers to continue to produce milk to these high standards.”


For the full list of 2023 Milk Quality Award winners, and for more information and resources to support dairy farmers across all areas of milking and managing milk quality, visit Milking | Dairy Australia.

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