News in brief

TasFoods owned the Betta Milk brand from north-western Tasmania.

Herds needed for disease study

Agriculture Victoria, in collaboration with DairyBio and the University of Melbourne, is looking for participants in Gippsland to assist in a study on improving diseases like metritis, mastitis, ketosis, abomasum displacement, milk fever, grass tetany, lameness, retained fetal membrane, uterine prolapse, abortion and stillbirth during calving.

If you own or manage a spring or autumn calving dairy herd, consider applying to take part in this study.

During the collection process, researchers will collect blood samples from sick (any listed disease) animals and healthy cows in the first 70 days of lactation with similar calving date.

They will then genotype the cows and provide farmers with the result at no cost. Blood sample collections will start in spring 2023 to the end of 2024.

The researchers understand it’s a very busy time of the year for farmers, and sampling will be planned to not disturb any routine.

Do you have any questions or want to sign up? Contact PhD student Anastasiia Kudriashova on 0475 850 655 or

Bega Cheese buys Tassie company

Bega Cheese has purchased the Tasmanian Betta Milk brands from TasFoods for $11 million.

The business, located in north-west Tasmania and established in 1956 as a co-operative, produces whole milk, cream and lactose-free varieties.

Bega Cheese executive chairman Barry Irvin said the purchase of the iconic Tasmanian brands fitted with Bega’s corporate goals to become a great Australian food company.

The purchase includes the Meander Valley Dairy and a licence to use the Pyengana Dairy brand.

TasFoods purchased the two companies just four years ago for $13.6 million.

TasFoods retains ownership of the Burnie land and buildings.

The sale is subject to approval from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

EastAUSmilk holds AGM

EastAUSmilk’s Annual General Meeting was held in Pittsworth, Queensland on August 30, following last year’s in Lismore, NSW.

Members from NSW and Queensland attended, as well as staff.

In his report, president Matt Trace highlighted the impact of floods on members, as well as milk pricing issues, and the need to build eastAUSmilk’s profile amongst non-members.

CEO Eric Danzi’s report stressed the strategic plan developed by the board, and member services.

Auditor Alan Teese, from Gillow and Teese, discussed the financial report with members, and all reports were subsequently accepted.

Attendees were then welcomed to Peter Garratt’s nearby Southbrook dairy farm, where Peter spoke in detail about his feed and nutrition practices, which enable significantly higher carrying capacity, and hence profitability, than pasture feeding alone.

In conjunction with the AGM, eastAUSmilk’s board also met in person, and considered issues as wide ranging as the Northern Dairy Plan, artificial insemination, dairy beef exports and Bermuda grass.

They also received an update on government relations matters, particularly government funding of dairy programs, and the proposed purchase of two Saputo milk processing facilities by Coles.

EastAUSmilk government relations manager Mike Smith said the board also discussed greater use of technology, to allow online attendance at future AGMs by members who couldn’t be there in person.

He said both the board and the AGM spent time discussing the very positive membership growth in NSW following the amalgamation of Dairy Connect and QDO, and regional visits by the CEO.