IF YOU are going to be a dairy farmer you might as well do it near Cowaramup in Western Australia.
The town is home to 42 Friesian sculptures and dairy farmer of 55 years Rodney May, his wife Nicole and their four children.
The May family sit amongst the top 100 farmers for milk quality and the top five in Western Australia.
The family milks 230 cows on 235 ha along with a 202 ha lease.
The Mays attribute their secret to success to keeping a close eye on cow health and wellbeing, maintaining thorough hygiene practices, and having a son, Justin, who was passionate about the industry taking the lead in the dairy.
“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.”
Justin is a WA College of Agriculture Harvey graduate and has carried out most of the milking since he left Year 12 in 2016.
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.
“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 rubber ware 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 own some well-trained working dogs who are responsible for bringing the herd to the dairy while the family prepares for milking, pet ostrich Reena also does her bit watching over the calves in the home paddocks.
“Three quarters of our cows calve between the end of January and mid-May and the rest calve before October,” Nicole said.
Despite the industry accolades, the family has no plans for expansion just yet — preferring instead to continue doing what it does best in the cow capital of Australia.