COORIEMUNGLE DAIRY farmer Andy Powell has been named in the Top 100 dairy suppliers nationally in the Dairy Australia 2018 Milk Quality Awards.
The annual 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.
Andy implements simple but effective processes to ensure issues can be dealt with quickly when they arise.
Solid processes have been implemented in terms of dairy maintenance and dairy checks are conducted weekly.
"We really saw the benefits. We found we were retaining more cows and reducing mastitis," Andy said
For Andy, 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.
Andy 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."
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.
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.
Cows are milked in a 42-year-old rotary dairy — probably one of the oldest in Australia — but it’s well maintained and has been updated with modern technology.
“We’re always looking at new opportunities and technologies,” Andy said.
“It’s a one-man dairy so we need technology to back that up; we’ve got ACRs, auto draft, yield and cell count meters that create automatic health alerts for cows with high cell counts.”
Most recently they’ve added the CowManager activity monitor sensor system, which identifies sick cows and cows on heat. It then reports to the auto draft system and drafts these cows out.
“I have found it is an incredible nutritional tool. The easier I can make the milking process for staff to milk, the easier it is for me,” Andy said.
"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."