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.