A FOCUS on producing high quality milk has enabled second-generation subtropical dairy farmers Dallas, Adrian, Glen and Melvyn Zischke to weather a tough, high input cost season.
The Darling Downs farmers were recently announced the number one farm for milk quality in Queensland, their thirteenth successive win.
The brothers operate a 120-cow, dryland farm near Toowoomba.
“We’ve been in dairy farming all our lives, and we’re very proud to be Milk Quality Award winners for the 13th year in a row,” Dallas said.
“We always try to maintain high milk quality, for the sake of getting all our bonuses and keeping up our profitability.”
As a supplier of Norco, the Zischkes’ milk quality sees them earn a premium of up to 11¢ per litre on top of their base milk price which has a huge impact on the bottom line.
Their secret comes down to sound management and effective herd monitoring.
“It’s all about management,” Dallas said.
“We do monthly herd recording, which lets us keep track of cows with high bulk milk cell counts and make informed decisions.”
As well as actively tracking the BMCC of each cow, the Zischkes stay across best practice for mastitis prevention, including by using Dairy Australia’s Countdown resources.
“We teat spray every time, and we always have. At drying off, we treat every cow with a dry cow treatment to prevent mastitis, every day, you have to stick to it — it’s about consistency,” Dallas said.
The Zischkes have always relied heavily on home-grown fodder to feed their herd, but tough weather conditions last season presented a major challenge.
“We’re usually very self-sufficient and grow our own hay, but the weather hasn’t been in our favour,” Dallas said.
“We bought in hay last year at over $500 per tonne, which was very expensive.”