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Budget offers mixed bag for dairy

The 2015 Federal Budget announced on 12 May, delivered modest gains for agriculture. With initiatives aimed at supporting rural and small businesses such
as tax breaks for those with annual turnover under $2 million, social and community support services for rural Australians, and drought relief assistance,
dairy came out slightly better off than the year before.

On 27 May, ADF welcomed the announcement from Federal Government that it would bring forward the introduction of accelerated depreciation of fodder, fencing
and water assets to the night of the Federal Budget, as opposed to 1 July 2016. This decision will greatly benefit farmers who have been recently impacted
by severe floods and drought. ADF acknowledges the considerable effort of the Hon. Barnaby Joyce, Minister for Agriculture, in making this happen.
Key gains for dairy in the 2015 budget:
•Tax write-offs for fences and new water storage
•$25 million for assistance for drought affected areas to reduce the impact of pest animals
•$20 million towards social and community support services for emotional impacts on farmers. And an extra $1.8 million for more counsellors.
•Cattle Farmers in the north will see $101.3 million over the next four years for improved road infrastructure
•$25 million to towards assisting Australian producers access the benefits of free trade agreements
•Tax burden for small business will be reduced to 1.5 per cent for businesses with annual turnover under $2 million
•A 5 per cent tax discount for smaller, unincorporated businesses
•An immediate tax deduction of all assets under $20,000 will allow small businesses to invest in new tools or machinery.
•$3.7 million allocated to implement recommendations from the review into the integrity of the 457 Visa Program.
The budget also included money for drought grants and loan schemes, however, this is the same money that was previously allocated but not spent.
ADF would have appreciated the budget also address the lack of Agricultural Counsellor postings to assist with reducing technical barriers to trade within
key international dairy markets. We also would like to have seen further Investment in agriculture R, D&E, CRCs, infrastructure for rural regions
and biosecurity.
There is still an opportunity to address these issues in the upcoming Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper. ADF will continue to advocate and work
with government to help ensure the budget allocations are used to maximise its benefit for the dairy industry.

President’s Message – June 2015

Whether at the farm gate or in the board room, stopping to take stock, acknowledge success and identify areas for improvement is essential
to ensuring any good business remains on track to deliver desired outcomes.

Now at the half way mark for 2015, Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF) is reflecting on the progress made thus far and the challenges yet to overcome, with
the interests of dairy farmers and their profitability top of mind.
Volatility is a constant theme for dairy farmers and the past six months has been no different with all regions affected in some way by floods, drought
and an ever fluctuating global milk price. But while there have been challenges there has also been important progress.
In March, we welcomed the Australian Government’s announcement to introduce legislation capping water buybacks in the Murray-Darling Basin Plan (MDBP)
at 1500 gigalitres (GL). The 1500GL cap provides dairy farmers in the Murray-Darling Basin with much-needed certainty about future water availability
to sustain their business.
ADF has also welcomed the relaxation of audit requirements for farmers in the southern-connected region of the Basin who participate the On-Farm Irrigation
Efficiency Programme. This policy win will be explored later on the newsletter.
ADF’s lobbying on competition policy was instrumental in securing a positive step toward reforming Australia’s flawed legislation – the introduction of
a Prescribed Code of Conduct. The Prescribed Code is not perfect, but it does address several key imbalances with regard to retailers’ power over suppliers.
We welcome the commitment already made by retailer Woolworths by signing onto the Prescribed Code, and expect that in the days to come all the major
retailers will follow suit.
ADF will continue to monitor the Codes’ effectiveness over the next three years with a view to seek the strengthening of regulations if necessary. We will
also continue to advocate for an Ombudsman to help balance the market power of major retailers.
The above ‘short list’ skims the surface of the progress made so far this year, with many challenges, and triumphs, still ahead. At the forefront of our
agenda is ensuring our industry retains the confidence and trust of consumers, customers and the broader public by addressing issues of concern such
as unconventional gas mining and highlighting dairy farmers’ commitment to the health and wellbeing of their cattle.
The team at ADF remains committed to ensuring Australian dairy’s voice is heard through government policies that support our industry, and working with
our industry bodies to ensure dairy’s good practices are known and understood across the broader community.
Noel Campbell
ADF President

ADHIS Update: Topping the Genetics Charts

Australia’s top dairy herds based on genetic merit have been announced by the Australian Dairy Herd Improvement Scheme (ADHIS).

For Holsteins, George Wagner’s herd from North East Tasmania tops the country for genetic merit for profit, which is measured by the Balanced Performance
Index (BPI). Daryl and Lani Hoey’s herd from Katunga is the number one ranking Jersey herd for BPI. And Sam Graham’s herd at Numbaa, NSW is the number
one ranking red breed herd for BPI.
ADHIS general manager, Daniel Abernethy congratulated the herds on their achievement. “It takes a sustained focus over many years to breed a herd of this
calibre,” Daniel said.
This year, for the first time, herds receive three breeding indices – Balanced Performance Index, Health Weighted Index and Type Weighted Index. The three
breeding indices were introduced following a review last year which found that while profit is important to all farmers, some place more value on traits
such mastitis, longevity, fertility, type and udder conformation.
“Having three breeding indices gives farmers the ability to choose the index that best reflects their individual breeding priorities,” Daniel said. “Every
unit gained in each trait is associated with a financial gain. But each index places slightly different emphasis on traits and this changes the rankings
of bulls, cows and herds.”
A full list of Australia’s top 5% of dairy herds for genetic merit is available at 
For more information or to arrange a presentation to your organisation, please contact ADHIS Extension and Education Manager, Michelle Axford on 0427
573 330 or
George Wagner, tops the country for generic merit for profit.

NSW Farmers Dairy Conference on this month

The NSW Farmers Dairy Section Annual Conference will be held on Tuesday 16 June at 9:30am at Camden. Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair MLC will address
the Dairy NSW industry forum on the same day at 3:00pm.
All NSW Farmers dairy members are invited to attend. Papers were emailed to all members and hard copies have been posted to those who have registered to
To register go to

For more information contact the NSW Farmers’ Livestock Policy Advisor on 1300 794 000.


Taking Dairy Bioscience to Canberra

Dairy bioscience took its place alongside the cochlear ear implant, aeronautics and global stock exchange surveillance software when major technology advances
were showcased to the Prime Minister and other dignitaries last month.

Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF) President Noel Campbell joined Dairy Futures CRC’s CEO David Nation and Chair Mike Ginnivan at Parliament House in Canberra
for the annual Cooperative Research Centres (CRC) Association Conference.
This year’s event, themed Australia 2040, celebrated 25 years of innovations by more than 40 CRCs to Australian leaders, including Prime Minister Tony
Abbott. The conference included an innovation showcase, at which many of the 400 attendees, including ministers, parliamentarians, advisers and ambassadors,
took the opportunity to better understand both the scale of innovation being undertaken by the dairy industry and how bioscience will make a real difference
to dairy farm businesses through pasture and cattle breeding.
Mr Campbell, Dr Nation and Dr Ginnivan met the Prime Minister and discussed how Dairy Futures CRC is enhancing dairy productivity through pasture and herd
improvements using genomics.
Dr Nation said that agriculture now sits beside medicine as a major driver of scientific progress in Australia.
“Dairy Futures CRC is a success story for industry-driven innovation. We have over-delivered on our original commitments and transformed dairy herd and
pasture breeding in Australia.
“The effects of many of our innovations are already in farmers’ and commercial partners’ hands and we expect these will grow rapidly over the next 10 years.”
After the showcase, Dairy Futures CRC was delighted to join ADF in hosting The Hon. Joel Fitzgibbon and Senator Bridget McKenzie at a dinner in the Great
Hall at Parliament House.
Other distinguished guests included the Prime Minister, keynote speaker and Minister for Industry and Science, The Hon. Ian Macfarlane, Australia’s Chief
Scientist, Ian Chubb, as well as ambassadors, high commissioners and senior officials from 15 countries.
Mr Macfarlane spoke of the great benefit CRCs have brought to research and development in Australia, delivering significant economic, environmental and
social outcomes.
ADF looks forward to working with Dairy Futures to build the long term sustainability of farming practices, and will continue to advocate strongly for
the positive innovations of transformational bioscience.

TPP must be commercially meaningful for dairy

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) offers a historic opportunity to address a broad range of distortions affecting Australian dairy producers, and to
ensure consumers throughout the region involved have access to safe, high quality Australian products.

A free trade negotiation that commenced in March 2010, the TPP involves 12 Pacific Rim countries including Australia, who account for approximately 40%
of the world’s GDP*. Included in this round up are key Australian dairy export markets such as Japan, Singapore and Malaysia, as well as competitor
countries such as New Zealand and the USA.
Australia exports dairy products to all eleven TPP countries – between 250,000 and 300,000 tonnes valued at around $US1 billion per year. Around 50% of
these exports (worth $425 million in 2013/14) go to Japan.
Throughout the negotiations, the Australian Dairy Industry Council (ADIC) has continuously lobbied for the TPP to address traditional tariff barriers for
dairy products and more subtle trade distorting non-tariff measures such as the European Union’s aggressive stance on Geographical Indications, as
demonstrated in their trade agreement with Canada.
The ADIC expects that the TPP will address these non-tariff barriers, especially in the Japanese and Canadian markets where these restrictions are most
pervasive. For the TPP to be commercially meaningful, markets like Canada and Japan must demonstrate that they are prepared to significantly increase
their existing dairy market access positions.
Sustained economic and population growth is driving an increase in dairy demand for the Asia-Pacific, but to take full advantage of this unprecedented
opportunity, the TPP must be ambitious, comprehensive and commercially meaningful.
The latest round of TPP negotiations took place in Guam at chief negotiator level on 26 May 2015. There are many issues yet to be addressed and the ministerial
meeting planned to follow the negotiators talks did not take place with the US Congress yet to pass the crucial Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) Bill.
The ADIC will continue to advocate strongly for dairy’s interests in the TPP.
*Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam.

AIS Gives Dairy the Thumbs Up

The Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) is recommending the nation’s top athletes incorporate dairy foods more strategically into their diets, following
new research, supported by Dairy Australia, which was launched last month.

The study found that eating a dairy-based meal before cycling helped counteract the loss of calcium in sweat and reduce the bone breakdown that would otherwise
In a separate piece of research, the AIS also examined the effect of high intakes of dairy on gut comfort and time trial performance in their cyclists,
shattering the myth that eating dairy before exercise causes stomach upsets.
According to the research team: “We were delighted to find that even pushing the pre-ride meal to include the entire amount of the day’s dairy intake
guidelines had no detrimental effects on gut comfort or performance in cycling. So we feel confident about our recommendations around the various
benefits of dairy before exercise.”

Consuming with Care: The Dairy Way

Producing more from less is a constant theme on Australian dairy farms. From reusing water in the milking shed, to ensuring the pasture our cows graze
on can be effectively turned into milk, efficiency is the number one buzz word on farm.

Consuming resources with care underpins everything we do on farm because we know it will ensure the sustainability of our businesses, our industry and
our planet in the decades to come.

This year on World Environment Day, June 5, the United Nations will reinforce the importance of consuming with care. Whether it be adopting renewable energy
systems on farm or switching off the lights at the power switch, our individual decisions and actions count towards a larger goal of preserving not
only the environment but the well being of humanity and our economies.

On June 5, Australian dairy will stand proud on its continuing commitment to minimising our environmental footprint as part of dairy’s broader commitment
to establishing a more sustainable dairy industry. This commitment is recognised and promoted through the industry’s Sustainability Framework.

Demonstrating the interdependent nature of dairy’s profitability, well being and natural resource management, the Sustainability Framework shows the progress
dairy has made thus far as well as acknowledging the work left to do by 2020.

On-farm examples of sustainable practices abound. South Australian share farmers, Andy Vickers and Belinda Wright soil tested 20 farm paddocks and were
able to reduce application of phosphorus fertiliser to about one-third, meaning big cost savings, less nutrient runoff, reducing green house gas emissions
and better environmental outcomes.

Overall, the industry’s Fert$mart nutrient management initiative has helped farmers, including 120 in recent months throughout Tasmania, Gippsland and
South Australia, to achieve on average, a savings of approximately $12,000 per farm.

On King Island, a group of nine dairy farmers co-ordinated the installation of solar hot water systems for dairy sheds, an innovation making the most of
renewable energy sources and also forecast to cut hot water costs by up to 50%.

From these grand scale projects to the everyday actions, all dairy farmers play an important role in creating a sustainable Australian dairy industry and
consuming our resources with care. This includes everything from monitoring electricity consumption and equipment performance and having some level
of automated irrigation to manage water use efficiently, to feeding cows a high quality diet to increase milk production and reduce green house gas

Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF) has been advocating for the Federal Government’s continued funding towards energy efficiency programs, as well as enduring
investment in R,D&E in the Government’s consideration of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions targets and policy.

Working with Dairy Australia, ADF has lobbied for nationwide funding for free energy efficiency assessments for dairy farmers that has already helped 1,200
farms – with another 200 due for completion by June 2015.

Supportive policy could assist farmers in tackling rising energy costs, while also contributing to the dairy industry’s – and Australia’s more broadly
– environmental sustainability. We’re committed to ensuring Australian dairy’s voice is heard through government policies that support our industry,
however there are many areas where we can already act to make a difference.


World Milk Day – Celebrating our farmers

Monday 1 June, is World Milk Day.

The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations started the day of recognition in 2001, and we’re using the occasion to celebrate the
Aussie farmers who work hard to produce this delicious, nutritious beverage.

For Australian dairy farmers, producing and delivering premium milk is a matter of pride. This is why Australian dairy has a reputation for consistently
high quality and safe products worldwide.

They work hard 7 days a week, 365 days a year to create fresh, great tasting and wholesome fresh milk that Aussies consumed almost 2.5 billion litres of
in 2014 alone.

Each daily on-farm activity involved in producing the milk, whether ensuring the cows are healthy or efficiently cleaning milking equipment, contributes
to the quality assurance of dairy products. From the twice daily health herd checks during milking to stringent testing for milk headed for the processor,
safety is ingrained in what we do.

Our industry is known for being a ‘dairy deli’ in that we place great importance on the quality rather than quantity of supply and this is what sets us
apart. It’s our point of difference to focus on our high quality standards and it’s something our industry must maintain (even with our aspirations
of growth) as we will never compete on quantity or price with our major competitors.

Dairy farmers work rain, hail or shine to produce our milk and want to be known for being prosperous, trusted and world renowned for the nutrition of our
dairy products. Like any Australian, dairy farmers hope to see the effort put into our work reflected in our returns.

Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF), as part of the Australian Dairy Industry Council (ADIC), is committed to ensuring our dairying sector has a sustainable
future. That’s why we’re working with our farmers, processors and industry partners, including Dairy Australia, to ensure that dairy continues to enhance
livelihoods, improve wellbeing and minimise its environmental footprint well into the future.

This commitment is recognised and promoted through the Dairy Industry’s Sustainability Framework. The second Progress Report has just been released and
shows that while we still have hurdles to overcome, progress is being made. This Framework highlights to the rest of the world that Australian dairy
is acting on its social, economic and environmental responsibility.

To produce, refrigerate, transport, process, distribute and deliver fresh milk requires a considerable amount of daily planning, work, risk and investment
on the part of dairy farmers and processors.

So why be a dairy farmer? Is all the milk worth it? Dairy farmers would say yes ten times over – because they’re passionate about it.

This World Milk Day, we ask that everyone remember that milk is made from hard yakka, pure passion and a commitment to sustainable practices. It is made
by an Aussie dairy farmer.


President’s Message – May 2015

water heating to milk cooling; harvesting to lighting, energy is a big cost on our farms. Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF) has been advocating for the
Federal Government’s continued funding towards energy efficiency programs, as well as enduring investment in R,D&E in the Government’s consideration
of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions targets and policy.

Supportive policy could assist farmers in tackling rising energy costs, while also contributing to the dairy industry’s – and Australia’s more broadly
– environmental sustainability. We’re committed to ensuring Aussie dairy’s voice is heard through government policies that support our industry, however there
are also areas we can address together.

As individuals our decisions can seem small in the face of Australia’s global footprint, however when our community joins forces for a common purpose,
we can and do make a tremendous difference. Good business management can lead to greater efficiency and effectiveness, as well as a reduced environmental
impact. Dairy Australia has many practical natural resource management tips that are not only good
for the environment but also for farmers’ bottom line.

On behalf of ADF, I congratulate Dairy Australia for its success in receiving a proportion of the first round of Government grants under the $100 million
Rural Research and Development for Profit Program. The funding will be invested into three-year projects including finding ways to turn agricultural waste into feed, fertilisers and soil conditioners,
and the development of tools to help dairy farmers manage and select the most profitable cows utilising milk scanning technology. These projects will
contribute significantly to assisting Aussie dairy farmers improve their productivity and profitability.

It has been an incredibly tough month in our northern regions with severe flooding in NSW’s Hunter Valley and Queensland. While we may be able to control
our energy consumption, some issues are just beyond our power no matter how far ahead in the season we prepare for them. During times of hardship it’s
very important to remember to ask for help when you need it. While the water may be receding, the hardship may just have begun. There are many local,
state and national support channels available to dairy farmers both during the time of a natural disaster, as well as the months following the aftermath.

Noel Campbell

ADF President


Temporary skilled visas crucial for labour shortage

Like many agricultural commodities in Australia, dairy has an acute skilled labour shortage. Although the Australian dairy industry always gives precedence
to employing Australian workers, enabling farmers to access skilled overseas workers is a positive way of addressing the gap when suitable domestic
labour is not available.

The industry continues to assist farmers in gaining better access to overseas labour, through working to streamline the visa application processes for
both farmers and workers. Further work is required by Government in this area to fully address the scope of this issue.

On 30 April 2015, the Australian Dairy Industry Council (ADIC) lodged its submission to the Senate Education and Employment committee’s review into the impact of Australia’s temporary work visa programs on Australia’s labour market and on the temporary work visa holders.

Issues such as the need for improved alignment of the Australian Qualifications Framework and the skill classifications used by the Department of Immigration
and Border Protection, as well as the extension of 417 and 462 visas from six to 12 months, were key recommendations put forward by the ADIC.

In the submission, the ADIC highlighted the industry’s strong commitment to attracting, developing and retaining a highly skilled domestic workforce through
a range of initiatives, including the National Centre for Dairy Education (NCDE), which provides high quality education and training opportunities
for people interested in developing a career in dairy.

The Australian dairy industry wholeheartedly supports fair and equal treatment of foreign workers. Recently, ABC’s investigative journalism programFour Cornersfeatured
the mistreatment of migrant workers from Asia and Europe on a few poultry and horticulture farms in Australia. Such behaviour is not condoned by the
ADIC and runs counter to the industry’s efforts to ensure that dairy farmers are responsible for their employment practices, including fair workplace
relations and migration laws.

The Employment Starter Kit initiative (ESKi), which was developed by Dairy Australia
in conjunction with Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF), is an example of this. The ESKi has been circulated to over 1,500 dairy farmers across Australia,
assisting them in their understanding of Australia’s legal employment requirements, as well as offering information on how to improve working environments
for both employees and employers.

For more information about how the ADIC is working to improve dairy’s acute labour shortage, click here or contact ADF Policy Officer, Kelly Im:


ADHIS Update: Breeding news at your fingertip

Two short videos are online to explain changes to Australian Breeding
Values (ABVs) and indices.

The bull choices farmers make for every joining have a long term impact on the profitability of their herd. Farmers now have access to a broader range
of communication forms, including animations, e-news and social media components in addition to the traditional media and web services.

Australian Dairy Herd Improvement Scheme (ADHIS) Extension and Education Manager, Michelle Axford said that ADHIS is committed to providing new and exciting
content delivered across the most popular platforms.

“The science behind ABVs is complex, but how we use them to make good decisions doesn’t have to be.

“Providing practical breeding information across a range of devices will help farmers when choosing bulls,” Mrs Axford said.

Sign up to Genemail, the ADHIS e-news

Follow us on Twitter @ADHIS_Dairy

For more information or to arrange a presentation to your organisation, please contact ADHIS Extension and Education Manager, Michelle Axford on 0427 573
330 or


Our post-2020 greenhouse gas emissions target

In advance of the United National Framework Convention on Climate Change, to be held in
Paris between 30 November and 11 December 2015, Australian dairy has made its voice heard in Australia’s contribution to the new global climate agreement
which will set the emissions reduction target beyond 2020.

Through an Australian Dairy Industry Council (ADIC) submission made to Government in April, we are advocating for emissions reduction policies which will support the industry – not hinder it. In particular, we
are seeking policies that are:

  • Aligned with our major international competitors;
  • Recognised as an emissions intensity approach that allows dairy to continue to grow while reducing its carbon footprint; and
  • Underpinned by Government policy and actions to promote and support the dairy industry’s contribution towards greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals.

Our submission advocated for two key areas of Government support: investment in research, development and extension for on-farm emissions reduction; and
support for energy productivity and efficiency. These policy settings are essential to ensuring Australian dairy remains competitive in the international
market, our emissions intensity is reduced and we are well aligned for growth.

The ADIC attended a roundtable meeting with the Minister in early May and will continue to seek Government support through Australia’s international commitment
to help drive innovation and reduce emissions, while also increasing productivity and profitability.

To read the ADIC’s submission on Australia’s Post-2020 Emissions Target Reduction, click here.


Dairy looses leading innovator

26 April, the Australian dairy industry sadly lost leading software innovator and visionary, Dr Mike Larcombe to a lengthy battle with motor neurone

Dr Larcombe founded MISTRO software, which is responsible for processing 95 per cent of herd testing information in
Australia and is recognised as one of the most flexible and cost-effective herd recording programs in the world today.

His work continued with the development of a genomic database system for the Australian Dairy Herd Improvement Scheme (ADHIS) for storing and analysing DNA profiles of animals for artificial breeding.

As a long-standing member of ADHIS’ Record Standards Committee, ADHIS General Manager, Daniel Abernerthy described Dr Larcombe as one of Australia’s leaders
in data, data transfer and herd improvement systems.

“Mike was a truly gifted man, with the ability to transfer his skills across many areas.

“Aside from playing an integral role in the design and redevelopment of our genomic evaluations systems and computer models, Mike also was a major contributor
to Dairy Australia’s InCalf and mastitis reporting tools,” Mr Abernerthy said.

Dairy Australia Program Manager – Genetics & Data Management – Farm Profit and Innovation, Matt Shaffer, said Dr Larcombe’s impact on the industry
had been phenomenal.

“Mike showed an amazing commitment to farmer outcomes through his work developing MISTRO as a key farm management tool for farmers and herd test centres,
as well as the UDDER program which is still being used by more than 60 consultants in Australia and New Zealand,” Mr Shaffer said.

In 2011 Dr Larcombe was awarded the prestigious National Herd Improvement Association of Australia Meritorious Service
Award, recognising the significance of his achievements and his standing among peers.


Social licence on the front foot

Having social licence to operate requires Australian dairy to be proactive, honest and willing to change practices. Likened to building up a bank of goodwill
and trust that can be drawn on from consumers, customers and the community when issues arise, social licence is what we continue to maintain and grow
as an industry.

At the United Dairyfarmers of Victoria’s (UDV) Annual Conference held in Melbourne on 29 April, social licence was placed at the top of the agenda and a range of issues were discussed and debated, including animal

Victorian Farmers’ Federation (VFF) Egg Group President and established national egg wholesaler, Brian Ahmed spoke to the conference of 100 delegates about
his personal dealings with animal activism.

Mr Ahmed also spoke about the growing disconnect between rural and metropolitan communities being a reason for “big business” animal activism today, and
the importance of agricultural commodities uniting together to communicate our animal husbandry and production practices directly with the community.

“These days it is very easy for city-dwellers to assume they know everything about farming through Google…the only way we’re going to get our message
out there is by doing it ourselves.

“We need to start campaigning now by focussing on doing the ‘right thing’ and ‘proving it’ in order to change the perceptions of the community five to
10 years down the track,” Mr Ahmed said.

The Australian Livestock Exporters’ Council (ALEC) CEO, Alison Penfold also shared her industry’s
experiences with animal activism following the fallout from the ABC Four Corners feature story, “Another Bloody Business
in 2011. Depicting disturbing animal cruelty footage captured in Indonesian abattoirs, the feature ignited public outrage and prompted the Federal
Government to place a ban on live exports to Indonesia.

Ms Penfold explained when ALEC failed to face many of the industry’s emerging issues at the time, they fell short of the Australian community’s expectations
and left them with the view the live export industry was uncaring towards the animals in its charge. However, since then ALEC has been working hard
to earn back the community’s trust.

“The biggest challenge is taking the community along with us. Transparency can be scary at times, but it is also imperative if we are to be honest with
ourselves and those around us.

“It’s so important we openly acknowledge where we are now and where we would like to be. By simply telling the positive stories, you can be accused of
‘spin doctoring’,” Ms Penfold explained.

Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF) President, Noel Campbell who also presented at the conference, spoke about phasing out calving induction as an example of
how the Australian dairy industry is proactively working to meet community expectations.

“As a farming community, we understand calving induction has played an important role in breeding management on our dairy farms, and that this enables
us to perform more efficiently. Yet it is no secret that many consumers find induction and its consequences to be unnecessary.

“The phase out of calving induction is high on ADF’s agenda and we are committed to working with farmers to help make this transition,” Mr Campbell said.

Other aspects of social licence discussed included use of genetically modified crops and mining of coal-seam gas on productive farms, which Australian Dairy Products Federation (ADPF) Executive Director, Dr Peter Stahle provided the dairy processors’ perspective on.

L-R: SADA President, David Basham, VFF Egg Group President, Brian Ahmed and UDV President, Adam Jenkins enjoying breakfast at the UDV Annual Conference.

ADF President, Noel Campbell: Working to support dairy farmers in actively phasing out calving induction .

ALEC CEO, Alison Penfold: Sharing the livestock industry’s experience with animal activism.


NSW Flood Recovery Assistance

Since heavy rains and wild winds hit Northern New South Wales (NSW) on 21 April, flooding has significantly affected the Hunter Valley dairying region.
Now a week on from the first rain fall, recovery assistance is the primary focus.

Council assessments have commenced with the bridge that connects Torryburn Road in East Gresford having been swept away entirely, and railway lines at
Tocal severed recovery assistance is now the primary focus.

Fencing is also an immediate concern, with the high water speed having destroyed many farm fences, as well as loss of pasture and newly sown crops. There
have been no reports of dairy stock loss to date.

Please see below for information on seeking flood recovery assistance:

If my property has been affected, what should I be doing?

  • Try to focus on your priorities by writing a quick checklist of all the jobs that come to mind, including group tasks – classifying them by what needs
    to be done today, this week and later in the month. Download your Dairy Australia ‘recovery priority list’ here.
  • Take photos of the damage on your property to build up an inventory of losses (i.e. pumps, fencing, feed, etc).
  • Report any damage to the Department of Primary Industries (DPI) via the Disaster Welfare Assistance Line (1800 018 444) or NSW Farmers’ Charlie Cull
    on (02) 9478 1066. Accurate and timely information will help the DPI secure the best possible level of disaster assistance.
  • Keep all your receipts associated with recovery efforts.
  • Remember to ask for help.

What other support is there to assist me?

  • Find out about the options for milking without electricity supply here.
  • Find out how to manage the health and welfare of cows during floods here.
  • For information on available personal assistance, call the Disaster Welfare Assistance Line (1800 018 444) or click here.
  • For general information on assistance that is available for natural disaster declarations, click here.
  • See the NSW Farmers’ fact sheet here for further information.

*Dairy Australia together with NSW Farmers continues to coordinate the industry response.


Young dairy driving more profitable, productive future

On Wednesday 22 April the Australian Dairy Industry Council (ADIC) in partnership for the first time with leading industry super fund, Prime Super hosted
an annual Business Breakfast, themed Our Industry, Our Future: Generation Dairy.

The breakfast received an enthusiastic response, with over 100 young farmers, processors and dairy service representatives taking the opportunity to discuss
what is working well to support young peoples’ development and growth in dairy, as well as what else need to be done.

Queensland dairy farmer and former Chair of the Australian Dairy Conference 2014, Paul Roderick was the keynote speaker for the breakfast. A fifth generation
dairy farmer, Mr Roderick has been actively involved with a number of industry programs including the Young Dairy Network of Australia and firmly believes
in their worth.

Mr Roderick said that people in dairy need to focus more on ensuring the next generation has the confidence to lead their farm businesses as well as the
processing sector forward.

“What motivates and inspires confidence in people is not always a question of dollars,” he said. “It involves ensuring people in dairy are supported through
investment in up-skilling, building efficiencies into their businesses and new technology.”

Further to this, Mr Roderick said, there was a need to encourage rather than tear down leaders.

“To be a self-confessed ‘leader’ in dairy or any agricultural industry runs the risk of being cut down as a tall poppy. As naturally quite humble people,
dairy farmers can be harsh on people who do speak out. This in turn puts some people off moving into industry roles. But sometimes the right thing
to say or do may not make you popular.”

These sentiments were echoed by ADIC Chair, Noel Campbell who said that leadership is less about management and more about being an agent for change.

“We all have a role to play in leading Australian dairy toward a more sustainable, profitable future.

“The more people who get involved and contribute to important debates, the stronger our voice as a united industry will be,” Mr Campbell said.

A panel of young dairy talent followed Mr Roderick’s presentation. Comprised of Tasmanian dairyfarmer, Nick Dornauf; Victorian farmer and veterinarian,
Stuart Griffin; and Australian Dairy Herd Improvement Scheme extension officer, Sarah Saxton, the panel discussed how the current generation can get
the next generation involved in important representative and service groups.

Stuart Griffin, whose father Chris is Australian Dairy Farmers’ immediate past President, said it all came down to timing.

“As farmers we never want to do anything to the detriment of the farm, and when you consider how much time these roles can occupy, it can make you second
guess it,” Mr Griffin said.

“In truth though, there’s never a wrong time to get involved – it’s about knowing you’re supported and will have guidance along the way.”

On the heels of the event, renewed industry focus has been placed on highlighting the various pathways available to people in dairy, whether stepping up
or stepping back, and getting the current dairying generation to place more trust in their successors – an issue brought to the forefront by Mr Roderick.

“Too often in our industry the older generation struggles to let go of responsibility and put their faith in the next generation. Without a clear plan
of succession…more often than not that lack of faith can lead to the end of a farming business.”

The ADIC will continue to support and promote the continued development and prosperity of young people in dairy by addressing shortfalls in critical resourcing
and funding for services to improve education, safety and wellbeing in the dairying community.


On-farm factors key to safeguarding business profitability

Over the past decade, Australian dairy farms have faced many challenges to profitability. With the wide range of climatic zones, production systems, operating
structures and milk price structures – it’s no wonder there is no silver bullet to ensuring long-term farm profitability.

Following key outcomes from the 2014 Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF) National Dairy Farmers’ Summit, and earlier recommendations of the Horizon 2020 study,
the Australian Dairy Industry Council (ADIC) commissioned Dairy Australia to prepare a report on Sustainable Farm Profitability.

The report, released this month, focuses on the on-farm factors that influence individual dairy farmers’ ability to run profitable farm businesses. Macro
drivers outside of farmers’ control, such as weather events, milk price volatility and government policy, are put aside to provide a focus on the aspects
of technical efficiency, management capability, tactical flexibility, cost control and investment decisions that farmers can make to deal with risk
and volatility.

Dairy Australia’s Farm Business Capability Program Manager, Neil Lane said dairy farms are significantly more successful when farmers are good at managing
their business across the board, with a combination of technical and financial skills.

“There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to sustaining profitability and it can be a challenge for many individual dairy businesses, however in both good
times and bad, there are key areas that farmers can improve to better safeguard their businesses,” Mr Lane said.

Download your copy of the Sustainable Farm Profitability report, here.


Proposed competition overhaul: What could it mean for dairy?

On 30 March, Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF) welcomed the release of the Competition Policy Review Panel’s final report as crucial to creating a healthier, more competitive and successful market place for consumers, food suppliers and retailers.

Also known as the Harper Review, the independent policy review’s stronger focus on balancing market power between supplier and retailers has been well
received as acknowledgement of the significant input and recommendations ADF made on competition law and policy.

The Review is the first evaluation of Australia’s competition policy in 22 years and recommends strengthening provisions for abuse of market power, as
well as proposing changes to collective bargaining that will strengthen farmers’ negotiating power.

ADF President, Noel Campbell said the Review’s recommendation to re-introduce an Effects Test to measure the ‘purpose, effect or likely effect’ of retailer
actions on suppliers was particularly positive.

“We support the Panel’s recommendations to increase the focus on dealing with the current imbalance of major retailer market power, through initiatives
such as the Effects Test.

“Farmers need every opportunity to improve their negotiating power for profitability and returns at the farm-gate to be achieved,” Mr Campbell said.

Mr Campbell did however express disappointment that there was no meaningful consideration in the review of the role of a Mandatory Code of Conduct, or
the need for a Supermarket Ombudsman “with teeth” to address the issue of potential misuse of market power.

“The unequal distribution of market power means that farmers are often backed into a corner when it comes to farm-gate prices. This is a disadvantage that
is heightened due to logistical constraints in supplying perishable goods,” Mr Campbell explained.

Mr Campbell said ADF looked forward to the opportunity to respond to the Review’s recommendations to ensure that our nation’s competition legislation is
robust and able to protect our dairy farmers going forward.

“ADF will also continue to advocate as legislative amendments are developed to prevent potentially damaging situations, such as retailer predatory pricing
in future,” Mr Campbell said.

The Competition Policy Review is one of three significant developments to occur in 2015, alongside the announcement of the Competition and Consumer (Industry Codes – Food and Grocery) Regulation 2015 in March, and the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper which is due for release later this year.

To view ADF’s submission to the Competition Policy Review,click here.


Dairy Food Safety on World Health Day

Tuesday 7 April is World Health Day and this year the World Health Organisation is
highlighting the importance of food safety with the theme: “From farm to plate, make food safe’.

It’s a theme that rings true when it comes to dairy foods.

Fact is: Australians buy a lot of dairy. According to Dairy Australia,
in 2013/2014 we each consumed around 105.7 litres of milk, 13.4 kilograms of cheese, 3.9 kilograms of butter and 7.4 kilograms of yogurt.

But, there can be a fair amount of wastage in consumer land due to how the product has been handled post-purchase.

So, in the spirit of ‘waste not, want not’ and to shine the light on dairy food safety here are a few practical hints that might come in handy:

  • When the mercury’s rising, store your dairy foods in a cooler bag to transport them from the supermarket to home.
  • Make the dairy cabinet your last stop on your shopping trip, adding dairy foods to your trolley just before you hit the check out.
  • Check use-by dates and consider whether you can consume the food before its expiry date.
  • Take a tip from the supermarkets and pack your fridge like a pro – put foods that need to be consumed sooner at the front so they are used first.
  • Store milk in its original packaging – don’t transfer to glass bottles or jugs as these allow light in that can cause milk to spoil.
  • Milk can be frozen and then thawed overnight in the fridge. The milk may appear slightly grainy when thawed, but a good shake will fix this.
  • Butter is best purchased when required, but properly sealed it can be kept frozen for up to 12 months.
  • Wrap gourmet cheeses in baking paper and place in a sealed container in the fridge to help them last longer.

Of course, despite the very best efforts we have all been faced with a favourite dairy food that is edging towards its use-by date. But don’t despair –
check out these inspirational ideas for using up left over dairy foods
from the popular Kidspot blog!



Water security linked to regional wellbeing

On 25 March, Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF) participated in the National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) Water Taskforce workshop. The agenda was focused on a discussion about the Murray-Darling Basin Plan and its measured social and economic impact on the wellbeing of
people living in the Basin area.

Access to water is important in many ways for the wellbeing of rural and regional Australians. The Murray-Darling Basin Plan is Australia’s largest water
reform in recent decades and significantly changes access to water in the Basin. Evaluating the impact of the Basin Plan is complex, particularly separating
out the impacts as a result of the Basin Plan compared to changes that would have occurred anyway.

At the workshop, the NFF Taskforce discussed the work to date in evaluating this impact with the Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) and the Department of the Environment (DoE). In addition, the survey leader of the Regional Wellbeing
Survey – undertaken by the University of Canberra, in collaboration with MDB Futures – shared preliminary findings of the 2014 Regional Wellbeing Survey,
including trends since the 2013 survey,
with the NFF Taskforce.

Among the survey findings, the Plan’s perceived impact on the Basin residents differs depending on whether they are considering the effects on their household,
community, or the Basin as a whole. The survey revealed that of the 34 per cent of the survey respondents with an interest in the Basin area; approximately
55 per cent said the Basin Plan would positively or neutrally affect the health of the environment in the Basin. In comparison, over 45 per cent said
it would negatively impact farmers in the community.

This highlights the need for balance between providing for agricultural production and the environment. It also demonstrates that reforms to water allocation
do have impacts on regional communities. Views about the social, economic and environmental impact vary significantly across different local areas.

Dairy farmer and processor national representative body, the Australian Dairy Industry Council (ADIC) continues to provide input towards the MDBA and DoE’s
monitoring and evaluation of the Basin Plan’s impact. Last year, the ADIC contributed towards the development of the MDBA Evaluation Strategy to ensure
a strong methodology and meaningful evaluation of the intended Basin Plan outcomes.

Dairy farmers have also contributed to case studies carried out in two dairy communities in 2014. Testing the impact of the Basin Plan on farmers, regional
communities and the environment is important to ensure the integrity of the Basin Plan and to inform future reviews and adjustments.

The full Regional Wellbeing Survey will be released in stages throughout 2015. The community wellbeing section is anticipated to be available in May, and the farming section – which
will include data on farm performance, development, barriers and farm exit – is expected to be available in June. The full survey will be available
later in the year.

For more information on monitoring the Basin Plan, click here.


Country-of-Origin Labelling: Is it really CoOL?

After the recent Hepatitis A health scare through contaminated frozen berry imports, the Federal
Government has strengthened their commitment to bring changes to Country-of-Origin Labelling, or “CoOL”, laws in Australia.

While CoOL has the potential to assist consumers in deciphering the difference between products that are 100 per cent Australian-made and those containing
only some local ingredients, the new laws could have greater ramifications on the Australian dairy industry.

Below are some FAQ’s the ADF Update thought you might be interested in:

Why is CoOL important to get right for dairy?

Milk is the defining component of all dairy products and its conversion into the variety of cheeses, yoghurts, long-life milks, butter and infant formula
in Australia requires a wide range of ingredients. Often these include very low amounts of rennet, starter, cultures, yeasts, vitamins and minerals
to facilitate their functional transformation from milk into a product.

However, several of these ingredients are not produced in Australia either because the raw materials are not available, or they cannot be economically
and sustainably manufactured here. Other ingredients in dairy products are imported because of seasonality or the need for continuity of supply.

If CoOL requires that use of the term “Australian” can only apply to 100 per cent Australian content and 100 per cent Australian production, then the implication
is that only some white milks will be able to carry the Australian made label.

This would mean that most dairy products containing milk produced in Australia, by Australian dairy farmers and converted into Australian dairy products
in Australian factories, employing Australian workers would not be able to claim Australian origin.

What is important for the new CoOL laws?

The Australian Dairy Industry Council (ADIC) is lobbying Government to ensure that Australian dairy products made with Australian milk in Australian factories
can be defined as Australian products under CoOL. The design of any new CoOL laws must provide for provisions such as:

  • Processing aids – minor ingredients necessary for processing should not be part of any percentage requirements relating to the significant ingredients.
  • Fortification for healthy Australian communities – the addition of vitamins and minerals not made in Australia to milks or infant formulas in order
    to promote health outcomes and meet consumer demand, should not prevent Australian dairy products being labelled as such.
  • Flexibility for seasonal/batch alterations – prescriptive percentages will not work when the origin of product ingredients can alter by season or even
    by batch, therefore some flexibility needs to be built into the requirements.
  • Trading protection – labelling requirements need to align with international regulations and trade agreements to ensure the Australian dairy industry
    is not disadvantaged against our key competitors.

What can you do to help influence dairy’s agenda in the Government’s push for “stronger” CoOL laws?

Dairy farmers, processors and industry representatives can take part in a consultation process that the Government has commenced. This will provide an
opportunity for us to ensure that dairy’s interests are heard and considered. Click here for information about the Government’s consultation process and to register you interest.

You may also wish to write to your local MP to inform them of the industry’s requirements with CoOL. Click here for a short statement about the areas the dairy industry is seeking for Government consideration on.


ADF interim CEO looks forward to working with dairy

30 March, Dr Clive Noble formally commenced his role as Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF) Acting Chief Executive Officer.

Dr Noble brings a wealth of agricultural science and research knowledge from his 32-year career with the Department of Environment and Primary Industries
(DEPI), Victoria. Spanning his time at DEPI, Dr Noble has held the position of Institute Director (Tatura), Regional Manager (Northern Irrigation Region),
Executive Director of Research and Development, Chief of Science and Technology, and Head of Strategic Partnerships.

Dr Noble has also been an active member of the Dairy Moving Forward Steering Committee between 2008-2013, providing strategic direction and support for the Australian dairy industry’s national research, development
and extension framework.

A key highlight of Dr Noble’s DEPI career included working in Tatura, Victoria for 17 years as a Scientist and Regional Manager, building new relationships
with State Government, industry, universities and individual farmers across the region. His role during this time also involved leading major departmental
responses to flood events and the largest anthrax outbreak ever recorded in Australia, in 1997.

Dr Noble said he is excited to take on the interim role at ADF and looks forward to supporting the positive work and strategic direction of Australian
dairy’s policy and advocacy representation.

“Over my career I have worked with many agricultural industries and communities. I have always been inspired by the attitude and efforts of the dairy industry
and its people.

“I feel privileged to be working with the industry and I look forward to continuing the constructive work ADF is carrying out on behalf of dairy farmers
nationally,” Dr Noble said.

Dr Noble underwent an intensive induction period with former CEO, Natalie Collard prior to her departure. Ms Collard will commence her new role at Telstra
as Corporate Affairs Manager – Victoria and Tasmania this month.


Shared leadership for a strong future

Speaking at the annual Tasmanian Dairy Conference on 26 March in Burnie, ADF President
Noel Campbell discussed the importance of the industry working together – not in silos – to achieve a stronger voice and ultimately, a more sustainable

“The traditional view of leadership, where the buck stops with the person at the top does not work for our industry.

“The extent to which dairy succeeds in getting where it wants to will rely on the strength of this shared leadership,” Mr Campbell said.

The conference, in its eighth year, attracted over 200 dairy farmers, industry service providers, government and dairy organisation representatives to
discuss a range of topics, including industry outlook, future developments, farm investment, and industry sustainability and innovation.

Mr Campbell, a third-generation dairy farmer at his 470-cow dairy farm in West Gippsland, Victoria, said there was a need for farmers to be proactive in
the promotion of dairy past the farm-gate.

“The understanding about the relevance and importance of our industry has been and continues to be heard louder than ever before. And we all have a role
to play in building on this momentum; to promote the value and good practices of our industry.

“You don’t have to be an outstanding public speaker or the most experienced statesman in the room to be a strong, effective leader. What you do need is
vision, persistence and the courage to pursue your cause.

“Everyone in the dairy industry can show leadership to promote the industry… Farmers can invite people onto their farms and show them that, while we’re
not perfect, we’re committed to good practices, and building a stronger, more prosperous industry.

“The more we do this, the more value the broader dairy community will see in supporting us,” Mr Campbell said.

Speaking alongside Mr Campbell at the conference included LEGENDAIRY Ambassador, Michael Klim, Dairy Futures CRC CEO, David Nation and Dairy Australia
Managing Director, Ian Halliday. For more information about the event, download your copy of the conference program here.


Workplace Relations Framework Review

In December last year, the Federal Government announced its terms of reference for the inquiry into Australia’s Workplace Relations Framework Review.

The review is being undertaken by the Productivity Commission and invites feedback on how improvements can be made to develop more, “productive, rewarding,
competitive and harmonious workplaces”, as stated by Minister for Employment, Eric Abetz.

The Issues Paper was later released in late January 2015. Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF), along with Dairy Australia, lodged a submission in March, focusing on the need for greater flexibility in the Fair Work Act.

In particular, we are seeking greater flexibility with the award system, which will help the dairy industry take full advantage of growth opportunities.
The removal of the Pastoral Award 2010’s three-hour minimum engagement, which states that staff employed on a farm must be rostered for a minimum of
three hours per shift, was cited as a strong example of the current award system’s rigidity.

At the moment, this clause has a number of negative ramifications on farm business operations as it does not acknowledge the unique workforce requirements
of the dairy industry, where cows need to be milked twice daily. As a result, the clause removes any incentives for staff to milk in a time-efficient
manner and often milkers go home early, where farmers pay for time when no work is performed.

The Productivity Commission is expected to release a draft report in July 2015. For more information about this submission, please contact ADF Policy Officer,
Kelly Im:


Summit continues to drive future-focussed agenda

The inaugural Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF) National Dairy Farmers’ Summit,
held a year ago in Melbourne on 13 March 2014, was widely declared a positive step forward for the Australian dairy industry.

Insight provided by the 150 strong industry representatives – the overwhelming majority being dairy farmers from across Australia – continues to drive
a whole-of-value-chain approach toward strategies for innovation, investment and growth.

Officially opened by Federal Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, the Summit identified 18 future-focussed priorities.
The consistent message was that the industry’s priorities and actions should focus on delivering long-term sustainable profitability.

The outcomes of the Summit formed the basis of a mid-year Australian Dairy Industry Council (ADIC) Strategic Forum, which saw the formulation of the first
ever Australian Dairy Vision.

One year on from the Summit, Australian dairy has seen keen interest in investment from domestic and international parties, and an enthusiastic response
from the dairying community who continue to get on board to help guide and pursue change.

At the March Summit, a push for developing stronger ties with Australian dairy’s trading partners was also ranked high on the priority agenda. During 2014,
the Federal Government successfully concluded free trade agreements (FTAs) with China and Korea. Those FTAs had been avidly sought by ADIC representatives
who lobbied tirelessly over the terms of the deals with critical technical support from Dairy Australia. The industry will reap benefits for years
to come.

Another direction from the Summit was to ensure immigration laws and the pastoral awards are better matched to industry needs. This supported the ADIC’s
submissions and advocacy to Federal Government, and the reviews of skilled migration and 457 visas.

Similarly, 2014 saw major submissions to the Federal Government’s Competition Review – fighting to keep dairying’s best interests on the agenda by improving competitiveness in the domestic market, as well as to the Government’s Agricultural Competitiveness Green Paper – highlighting the priorities for Government in improving dairy’s competitiveness. The considerable body of work squarely answered one of the Summit’s
recommendations, to “pressure Government to enable agricultural prosperity”.

The Summit has driven industry focus over the last year and will continue to do so as we put the Summit priorities into action. Most importantly, it fostered
a strong sense of unity and a shared vision for Australian dairy’s future.


President’s Message – March 2015

Mother Nature has thrown many environmental challenges at dairy farmers
in Queensland and New South Wales over the past month. It is estimated that over 30 dairy farms were affected by Cyclone Marcia’s storms and heavy
rain, with many dairy farmers experiencing power failures and limited road access.

One dairy farmer had to milk over 150 cows by hand. It is times like these that I admire our industry coming together to support dairy farmers in times
of hardship. In particular, I commend the efforts of Queensland Dairyfarmers’ Association (QDO), Subtropical Dairy and Dairy Australia, in providing
practical support and counsel to the affected farmers.

In March, Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF) marks a year since the National Dairy Farmers’ Summit. The Summit has driven industry focus over the last 12 months
and continues to do so moving forward. One of the initiatives developed from the Summit’s priority-setting agenda is the Sustainable Farm Profitability
Report. The Australian Dairy Industry Council (ADIC) commissioned Dairy Australia to produce this report, which aims to provide dairy farmers with
tactical, strategic management guidance in areas which can improve their safeguards to increase business profit. The report will be made available
online shortly in April.

Carrying on from the ADIC Industry Leaders’ Breakfast in November 2014 – which was centred on the theme ‘Sustainable Farm Profitability and Innovation’
– from next month, dairy farmers will also have the opportunity to increase their profitability with feed efficiency. The new Feed Saved Australian
Breeding Value (ABV) is set to save at least 100 kilograms of dry feed per cow, per year. I praise the efforts of Dairy Futures CRC and the Australian
Dairy Herd Improvement Scheme (ADHIS) for this world-leading genetics breakthrough.

I welcome the new Prescribed Food and Grocery Suppliers Code which came into force at the beginning of March. This Code marks a positive step towards addressing
the imbalance of market power between retailers and suppliers. ADF will continue to closely monitor the Code’s effectiveness over the next three years
and we hope this is the beginning of a fairer, more sustainable, domestic fresh milk supply chain.


Noel Campbell

ADF President


​Investment in knowledge: Sarah Saxton’s NZ dairy experience

Australian dairy’s herd improvement and genetics is ahead of the game, according to Sarah Saxton.
“Visiting New Zealand (NZ) made me realise just how engaged and passionate Australian dairy farmers are when it comes to breeding cows,” Ms Saxton said.

“We have the freedom of choice when it comes to semen selection in Australia, and although that can make the decision process a little more complex, it
means we have the options open to us to breed the sort of cows we want for our herds.”


Reaffirmed by her recent study tour across the Tasman to the South Island with United Dairyfarmers of Victoria (UDV), Ms Saxton, an Australian Dairy
Herd Improvement Scheme (ADHIS) Extension Officer, also noted the dominance of cross-breeding in NZ in comparison to Australia, as well as NZ’s strong
focus on growing pastures.

Embarking on the week-long tour with five young Victorian dairy farmers, sponsored by the Geoffrey Gardiner Dairy Foundation, Ms Saxton visited a variety
of NZ dairy farms with different ownership structures and farming systems. The Van Leeuwen Dairy Group’s 1500-cow robotic dairy in Timaru was included as one of the farm pit stops.

Ms Saxton, ambassador for the Art4Agriculuture Young Farming Champion program, commended
the NZ dairy industry for its well defined and supported career pathway structure.

“We met with a NZ young farmer group who all had a very clear understanding about how to progress a career in dairy, from milking cows to eventually farm
ownership. This is a real credit to DairyNZ, as it is fostering a young and vibrant future for their industry,” Ms Saxton said.

Ms Saxton was also impressed by the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards, which are awarded annually
to recognise NZ’s passionate farmers of the future.

“These awards not only commend innovative, hard-working dairy farmers in NZ, but also create a opportunity to highlight the progress of up-and-coming dairy
farmers. It would be great to see a similar initiative adopted in Australia,” Ms Saxton said.

When asked what advice she would impart to young Victorian dairy farmers looking to apply for the study tour, Ms Saxton replied: “You really need to think
about what your future might look like in dairy, and how you’re going to benefit, to get the most out of it.”

“It is a fantastic opportunity and a great way to make new contacts. However, you need to be prepared to work hard – it’s not a holiday!” Ms Saxton said.

For more information about UDV’s NZ study tours and application requirements, click here or contact UDV Project and Policy Officer, Yaelle Caspi:


Study Tour participants (L-R): Kerrilyn Bassett, Sarah Saxton, Hayden Hanratty, Gordon Nicholas (UDV Policy Councillor), Aaron Thomas, Jason Bermingham, James Goulding (NCDEA), and Will Ryan.



​LEGENDAIRY Women in Focus

Community was the topic of conversation at the Warrnambool Women in Focus (IWD) event on 11 March, uniting over 200 regional women from Victoria’s south-west to celebrate their contribution to business, industry, family and
the community.
Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF) CEO and keynote speaker, Natalie Collard shared her agri-business professional experience on leadership, work-life balance,
personal wellbeing and the ability to consider the bigger picture.

“Women in dairy wear so many different hats. From the farm gate to the processing plant, all the way to the ADF office – right across our value-chain women
are contributing to building a stronger, more sustainable future for our industry,” Ms Collard said.

Ms Collard also explored the importance of goal-setting as her “biggest secret”. Referencing a Harvard University MBA graduate program research study,
Ms Collard shared that three per cent of the graduate year which had clear, written goals and plans to accomplish them, 10 years later were earning
on average 10 times as much as the other 97 per cent of the class put together.

“I set career, personal and wellbeing goals for one, five and 10 years ahead. It is a one-pager that sits on my bedside table… By writing your goals
down and affirming them, you’re holding yourself accountable,” Ms Collard explained.

“Goal-setting is not just about earnings, but it really does underscore the power of setting goals as your first step to accomplishing them.”

The IWD Event, hosted by CommBank Women in Focus and LEGENDAIRY South-West Vic Women’s Focus Group, provided a valuable networking opportunity and chance to obtain practical tips for regional women and their businesses.

WestVic Dairy Director, Kirsti Keightley and Operations Manager, Jocelyn Bevin said the day was about bringing together like-minded women within varied
leadership positions in the industry.

“It’s important to highlight and focus on the skills and opportunities that can be brought to the dairy industry and wider community,” Ms Keightley said.

“It’s also vital to support our next generation of women in dairying through sharing our knowledge and experiences, which I hope today’s community theme

LEGENDAIRY women (L-R): Katie Gleeson, Simone Renyard, Bilyana Grazing, Natalie Collard, Janet Moxey and Tracey Luhras.


PAG meetings kick off for 2015

Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF) Policy Advisory Group (PAG) meetings have
kicked off with a bang for 2015 with the Natural Resources, and Markets, Trade and Value Chain PAG meetings taking place last week.

Natural Resources PAG Chair, Daryl Hoey said the group has come back refreshed and enthusiastic about the next 12 months of work.

Key issues discussed included, the PAG priorities for 2015, input to the Dairy Australia Annual Plan, and developing a dairy policy position on coal seam
gas development.

“Coal seam gas mining, water policy, and future emissions pricing will be a significant focus of the Natural Resources PAG this year,” Mr Hoey said.

The Markets, Trade and Value Chain PAG discussed trade priorities and competition law policy which are both expected to be a major focus for 2015.

Markets, Trade and Value Chain PAG Chair, Roma Britnell said there were some very good wins last year with the China free trade agreement and recently
the introduction of the Prescribed Food and Grocery Code.

“We will continue to work on issues that impact our industry at both an international and domestic level,” Ms Britnell said.

The PAG Chairs for 2015 are:

  • Animal Health and Welfare PAG Chair, David Basham
  • Farming Systems and Herd Improvement PAG Chair, Tyran Jones
  • Markets, Trade and Value Chain PAG Chair, Roma Britnell
  • Natural Resources PAG Chair, Daryl Hoey
  • People and Human Capacity PAG Chair, John Versteden

PAGs play a key role in setting ADF’s advocacy objectives and driving policy formulation. They also help to ensure dairy’s interests are properly represented
at a domestic and international level.

ADF President, Noel Campbell welcomed the new PAG members for 2015.

“I congratulate ADF’s PAG members on their appointments and look forward to working closely with them to enhance our policy and advocacy strategic direction,”
Mr Campbell said.

ADF has five policy focus areas, each with a dedicated PAG comprised of elected farmers. These groups are led by a farmer appointed Chair, working in collaboration
with ADF policy officers and Dairy Australian technical support, to discuss priorities and develop strategic direction for ADF’s policy and advocacy

PAGs recommend policy settings to ADF, via the National Council, and also act in an advisory capacity providing feedback to Dairy Australia, state dairy
farmer organisations (SDFOs), and other bodies such as the National Farmers’ Federation and the Australian Dairy Products Federation.


New Feed Saved ABV – First feed efficiency breeding value in world

Did you know that dairy farmers next month will be able to identify bulls that can save at least 100 kilograms of dry feed matter per cow, per year while
maintaining milk production?

The Feed Saved Australian Breeding Value (ABV), available to dairy
farmers from April 2015, is the culmination of eight years of research and development activity by Dairy Futures CRC,
in conjunction with a range of local and overseas partners.

It is the first feed efficiency breeding value in the world to incorporate real feed intake data, as well as a prediction of feed required for maintenance
purposes, making the trait more relevant for farmers.

Dairy Futures CRC’s CEO, Dr David Nation, said: “The Feed Saved ABV allows farmers to breed cows in a new way: by reducing their maintenance requirements
for the same amount of milk produced.

“This is the first practical use of genomic tests to measure a trait that can’t be routinely measured on farm, and the start of more extensive genomic
testing to improve the range of traits important to dairy farmers.

“Visually, you can’t spot a highly feed efficient cow, but farmers can now breed for it.”

Victorian dairy farmer, Ron Paynter who spoke at the ABV launch, said it is exciting to see feed efficiency now included in the ABV indexes.

“Feed costs are a significant determinant of on-farm profitability,” Mr Paynter said.

“The new Feed Saved ABV adds further strength to the new Balanced Performance Index developed by the Australian Dairy Herd Improvement Scheme (ADHIS),
which aims to maximise profit from selection.” 

The Feed Saved ABV will be published for the first time in the ADHIS’ publications, including the Good Bulls Guide. It
will also form part of the ADHIS’ three new breeding indices,
so farmers who make bull selections using one of the indices will be including feed efficiency in their breeding decisions.

For more information about the Feed Saved ABV, click here.

Victorian dairy farmer, Ron Paynter speaking at the ABV launch with ADHIS General Manager, Daniel Abernethy.


Brad and Becc Couch: Agvocates for Dairy

South-west Victorian dairy farmers, Brad and Becc Couch believe when it comes to profitable dairy farming, the simplest of systems are often the best.

Named The Weekly Times Coles 2014 Farmer of the Year on 20 February,
the duo was celebrated for their low-cost and high-efficiency dairy farm operation at Brucknell, near Timboon.

Recognised for their simple yet extremely effective approach to dairy farming, the Couch’s herd is ranked in the top one per cent for milk quality and
the couple have cut costs to about two thirds of the district average.

Brad Couch puts their 360-cow farm’s success equation down to seasonal calving, home-grown fodder, selling off empty cows, replacement heifers and proactive
mastitis investigation.

“Our bottom line is why we do, what we do – it’s what our parents did, as well as our grandparents,” Mr Couch explained.

“Simple things like ensuring sufficient dry-off periods, utilising as much home grown feed as possible and being vigilant with identifying mastitis, can
go a long way towards improved herd fertility, healthy cell counts and a positive cash flow.”

Mr Couch said he and his wife felt privileged to receive the award and hope that it will encourage young people to consider a career in dairy.

“There seems to be a perception that you need to be working your parents’ farm or on a big corporate operation to make a go of it. But I know a few people
that have certainly proved that wrong,” Mr Couch said.

“With the average age of dairy farmers now reaching 60 in Australia, we need to have dairy advocates to promote the diverse opportunities dairy has to

Mr Couch encourages all Australians considering a career in dairy, whether on-farm or off-farm, to: “Go for it – but make sure you’re prepared to put in
the hard yards, to reap the rewards!”

Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF) CEO, Natalie Collard commended the Couch’s for their considered and well balanced approach to dairying, as well as their
enthusiasm towards promoting young farmers in agriculture.

“It’s wonderful to have Brad and Becc in the spotlight as young, passionate dairy farmers, proactively advocating for dairy,” Ms Collard said.

“I congratulate them both for receiving this award and hope they will inspire young people looking to enter the dairy industry.”

Brad and Becc Couch on their dairy farm near Timboon with their kids (nearly) 2yo Charlotte and 3yo Jack.

President’s Message – February 2015

Aussie dairy farmers have a good track record of dealing with the
unexpected. From managing a variable climate to coping with fluctuating milk prices – dealing with uncertainty is practically second nature.

This attribute means that dairy is by nature a forward thinking industry – keen to address tomorrow’s challenges today, to ensure our animals continue
to thrive and that our farms are sustainable and profitable in the long term.

In 2015 our industry’s focus remains the same – from the farm to the processing plant – we continue our commitment to investing in our planet, people and
animals, and investing in the long term profitability of Australian dairy.

I am pleased to inform you that the 2014 Sustainability Framework Progress Report is now available online
. This report outlines the dairy industry’s current sustainability-related investments, accomplishments, and challenges as we work towards our sustainability

We have built on our progress in 2013, with programs and projects on our farms and in our factories that are guiding the industry toward better profits,
while minimising our environmental footprint and improving the wellbeing of our people and animals.

However, there are still challenges to overcome. We continue to look for improvements and are strongly committed to working towards even better performance

Looking ahead, our commitment to securing a sustainable dairy industry provides the foundation for all our actions, to establish an Australian dairy industry which is more prosperous, trusted and world renowned for its nutrition than ever before. I look forward to working with you all in pursuit of these goals.

On a more personal note, in April this year our highly respected CEO, Natalie Collard is moving on in search of her next challenge.

I am certain you will all join me in thanking Natalie for her tireless dedication to not only ADF, but to the people that we represent.  Natalie’s
proactive, innovative and considered approach has improved the quality and effectiveness of the work we do on your behalf.

We wish Natalie every success for the future, and hope that her skills, leadership and passion are not completely lost to the dairy industry in future.

Noel Campbell

ADF President


Proof in the product: Dairy Levy

Large risks, huge expenses and long time-lags make investment in research, development, extension (R,D&E) and marketing unfeasible for individual dairy farm businesses.

Instead, to deliver appropriate improvements pre and post-farmgate, all Australian dairy farmers pay a levy based on milk production – an investment that has seen a reported benefit of $3.30 for each $1 spent.

On 4 February, the Australian Dairy Industry Council (ADIC) – the peak, national whole-of-value-chain advocacy body – appeared at the hearing of the Inquiry into agricultural levies. This included the dairy services levy that contributes to Dairy Australia (DA) and the equivalent levies paid by farmers for other research and development corporations.

DA and the CRC also appeared at the hearing. The Senators were interested in the DA R,D&E priorities, the processes for determining those priorities, how research had impacted dairy farm productivity and the levy poll process.

The Dairy Services Levy amounts to approximately $33m per year and attracts Federal Government funding of about $20m annually, all administered by DA. Other bodies, such as the Geoffrey Gardiner Dairy Foundation, state departments of primary industries and dairy manufacturers, also support new and ongoing R,D&E.

The investments are made according to a strategic plan prepared in consultation with all key stakeholders, including Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF), and reviewed by government.

ADF and DA have a memorandum of understanding whereby ADF provides strategic direction towards the investment priorities of R,D&E projects to ensure farmers’ levies are positively advancing their interests.

ADF’s feedback to DA has commented on the investment priorities for research, gaps in the draft priorities, program delivery options, as well as monitoring and understanding the effectiveness and uptake of DA programs.

Additionally, the Australian Dairy Herd Improvement Scheme (ADHIS) is an ADF initiative majority-funded by DA.

In its November 2014 submission to the Senate Inquiry into the systems and structures for the agricultural research and development levies, ADF in collaboration with the Australian Dairy Industry Council (ADIC) noted the importance of process for farmers to know about and contribute to the DA strategy, and for DA to report on the benefit of levy investment to farmers. 

ADF also encouraged farmers to make their own submissions to the inquiry, to ensure their perspectives were heard by the Senate Inquiry on more than one platform.

For more information about the Inquiry, its terms of reference and to view the full ADIC submission please see here.


ADHIS 2014 Report Released

Just released by the Australian Dairy Herd Improvement Scheme (ADHIS), the Australian Dairy Herd Improvement Report 2014 provides a snapshot of Australian dairy’s national herd across a range of performance criteria.

The informative report analyses production comparisons across region, breed, age, herd size, month of calving and sire type, highlighting our farming systems’
rich diversity.

Whilst the report is loaded with interesting statistics, we thought we’d share a few interesting observations with you…

Did you know?

  • 48 per cent of herds are herd recorded – a statistic lower than last year, however similar to five years ago.
  • Less than one third of herds (29 per cent) have recorded AI sires for most of their cows.
  • Daughters of AI sires produce approximately 52 kilograms more of milk solids than their naturally-bred counterparts.
  • More than one third of the productivity improvements achieved over the last 10 years can be attributed to genetics.

Produced in conjunction with the National Herd Improvement Association, the report also features highlights from Dairy Australia’s herd improvement projects
and Dairy Future CRC’s Genomic Information herds research.

To download your copy of the report, click here or visit for more information.


Healthy, happy cows are productive cows…

Healthy, happy cows are productive cows and are a key to a sustainable future for dairy. The progress made in genomic technology by Dairy Futures CRC will be central to producing the happy, healthy kind of cow you want to milk.

The progress made in genomics technology helps farmers address key issues in herd health, which impact on the animal’s wellbeing. It also allows farmers to reduce the cost of production and exposure to external price shocks.

The AgriBio, centre for agribioscience, in Bundoora, is the home for Dairy Futures CRC’s work to develop world-leading gene technology. Members of the ADF team toured the facility in January, accompanied by the CRC’s CEO, Dr David Nation and Manager of Education and Industry Engagement, Belinda Griffiths, where they were exposed to a variety of the CRC’s projects.

Dr Nation explained how recent achievements in pasture and animal breeding will help farmers evolve their production systems.

“Recent achievements by the CRC, including the development of an Australian Breeding Value (ABV) for feed efficiency, which will be published in April 2015, have significantly increased farmers’ ability to improve the quality of their herds,” Dr Nation said.

“An improved model for calculating the fertility ABV and the ability of farmers to select young bulls before they have sired milking daughters also contribute to this.”

The technology developed in collaboration with the Australian Dairy Herd Improvement Scheme, will help farmers boost the productivity of their stock by matching animals which produce offspring with greater disease resistance, milk production and fertility.

Such progress, Dr Nation said, gives the industry the certainty that it will be able to grow regardless of economic and climatic environments. 

“This will give us the scope to improve dairy’s productivity and resilience now and in the future.”

Developments in breeding ryegrass have also been made with pasture breeders now able to select breeding plants for desirable traits using a world-first ryegrass cultivar map. Additionally, pasture breeding companies have low-cost, accurate tests to screen ryegrass seed and plants for contamination by toxic or undesirable endophytes.

ADF looks forward to working with Dairy Futures to build the long term sustainability of farming practices, and will continue to advocate strongly for the positive innovations of transformational bioscience.   

Find out more about Dairy Futures CRC and the work they do here.


New horizons beckon for ADF CEO

For any organisation to succeed, its members must truly believe that they are investing in something worthwhile. To Natalie Collard, outgoing CEO of Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF), there is no cause more worthy than that of the Aussie dairy farmer.

“My career in dairy was very deliberate,” Ms Collard said. “I was convinced that dairy could be the next economic boom for Australia – it was already in 97 per cent of Australian homes – Coca Cola can only dream of such consumer cut through!”

While Ms Collard wasn’t born into dairy, she quickly developed an appreciation for the resilient and humble people who worked to put their products on the kitchen table.

“Without their generosity in sharing their knowledge, there is no way I could‘ve succeeded in my position.”

Believing in the importance of a unified, commodity-based representation, Ms Collard joined ADF in 2008 with a view to help dairy become more sustainable.

General Manager of Shareholder Relations at Murray Goulburn, Robert Poole noted the challenging time in which Ms Collard took over the role of CEO at ADF in 2011. Mr Poole, also Deputy Chair of the Australian Dairy Industry Council (ADIC) said the organisation was in need of stabilised financial and governance procedures, as well as stronger industry ties and improved policy.

“Natalie was not deterred by these hurdles,” Mr Poole said. “She always maintained her professionalism and drive toward improving ADF and the ADIC, and therefore outcomes for farmers.”

Chair of the NSW Farmers Dairy Committee, Robert McIntosh said Ms Collard had shown true leadership, always acting nationally and ensuring that all perspectives were heard and acknowledged.

“Under Natalie’s leadership, the state dairy farming organisations now feel as though they are valued members of the national network,” Mr McIntosh said. “Our interests are now recognised on a national level.”

Mr McIntosh said the ADF National Dairy Farmers’ Summit, held in March 2014, had a substantial influence on the strategies and policies of the industry, and was a true testament to the renewed focus and vision that Ms Collard brought.

With Ms Collard at the helm, ADF fought hard for farmers on key issues including $1 per litre milk and achieved milestones, such as the positive dairy outcome at the conclusion of the China-Australia free trade agreement.

As a firm believer in positive change, Ms Collard said she is confident it was the right time to look for the next challenge.

“It has been an honour to represent the proud and passionate people of dairy, and I am keen to see them prosper,” Ms Collard said.  “I am confident ADF is in a strong position going forward, and that I can now step into a new horizon and seek out my next challenge.”


Good news for Aussie farmers as loan scheme interest rates fall

Falling interest rates on loans delivered under two vital Federal Government schemes will improve the long term viability of dairy farmers according to national advocacy body, Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF).

Interest on loans delivered under the Farm Finance Concessional Loans Scheme and the Drought Concessional Loans Scheme fell to 4.34 and 3.84 per cent respectively as of 1 February 2015.

ADF President, Noel Campbell said the improved terms of both Federal Government loans would help dairy farmers reduce the cost of farm debt as well as providing cheaper finance for drought recovery on farm.

“This interest rate cut means farmers will be better placed if they want to use these Government loans,” Mr Campbell said.

“While there are many factors beyond our control when it comes to seasonal conditions and drought, this decrease provides a better option for dairy farmers who are trying to return to full viable production as soon as possible.”

As the national voice of Australian dairy farmers, ADF has continually sought Government support to ensure viable farms have access to practical measures that will improve the industry’s longevity.

The decision by Government to lower interest rates shows confidence in Australian agriculture’s efforts to improve its long term sustainability, providing industry with the support to maintain our efforts.

While the interest rate cuts are welcomed by the industry, ADF highlights the need to reduce the loans red tape to ensure they are more accessible to dairy farmers.

To find out more about the Farm Finance and Drought Concessional Loans Schemes and your eligibility, click here


President’s Message – January 2015

Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF) welcomes 2015 with enthusiasm as we fine-tune our advocacy priorities to establish a sound policy platform to ensure we can capitalise upon growth opportunities delivered by 2014’s advocacy.

The prospects presented through 2014’s policy wins, such as the China FTA, prove that dairy is a force to be reckoned with when the whole value chain works collectively to achieve its aims. However, challenges including limited opportunities for domestic growth, as well as labour and skills shortages, and competition issues continue to constrain our industry.

We must persist in identifying and addressing these issues and solutions at the Federal level, whilst assisting our State Dairy Farmer Organisation (SDFO) members at the State level as required. ADF’s 2015 agenda is committed to carrying out whatever we can to progress these policies and help dairy become the best it can be.

Over the next 12 months, ADF is focused on addressing five key priority areas: continuing to drive market, trade and farm prosperity; building a highly skilled and productive workforce; developing fair and sustainable access to natural resources; and promoting animal health and welfare standards.

Under the ‘building a highly skilled and productive workforce’ umbrella, ADF will continue to advocate to reduce the three-hour minimum engagement requirement from the Pastoral Award  2010 and ensure that milking is included as an essential requirement, alongside feeding and watering of livestock.

The Pastoral Award is one of ADF’s 15 key policy priorities to Government this year. To find out more about other 2015 policy priorities, please stay tuned over the coming weeks to download your copy of ADF’s ‘Policy Priorities to Government 2015’.

I look forward to working with you throughout 2015 and trust you had an enjoyable festive season spent with family and friends.


ADIC responds to Agricultural Competitiveness Green Paper

The Australian Dairy Industry Council (ADIC) lodged its submission in response to the Federal Government’s Agricultural Competitiveness Green Paper on 19 December, 2014.

In the joint submission with Dairy Australia, the ADIC commented on many of the Green Paper’s policy proposals, with a particular call on the Government to address four priority areas that affect the industry’s competitiveness in the short to medium term; research, development and extension (R,D&E); access to international markets; investment; and people.

Recognising the Government’s funding of dairy R,D&E as an acknowledgement of its essential role in creating a more durable industry, the ADIC encouraged the Government to reaffirm its commitment to these programs.

The ADIC welcomed the successful conclusion of the China-Australia free trade agreement (ChAFTA), but highlighted that there are still opportunities for growth through the conclusion of further bilateral and multilateral trade agreements that provide genuine liberalisation of all dairy products. The ADIC also sought the removal of hurdles such as technical barriers to trade that need to be addressed.

Increased Government support for industry efforts to encourage investment and ensure a positive regulatory environment to underpin confidence and certainty for dairy investment was a further recommendation.

The ADIC also highlighted the need for enhanced Government support for Australian dairy programs designed to attract and retain a highly skilled, productive workforce.

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