Ticks are coming, be prepared.

Cattle ticks are a major cost to dairy farmers on the eastern side of the tick line. As temperatures begin to increase into the spring months so do tick populations. Interestingly, there have been some farmers reporting high tick loads through the current winter months which will result in increased tick loads moving into spring and summer this year.

The cattle tick life cycle will vary depending on humidity and temperature, and is outlined in the diagram below. Generally, the cycle will speed up as ideal temperature and humidity levels are reached. Needless to say we generally see higher tick loads in the warmer, wetter months of the year. Usually the popualtion is at it’s lowest in late winter and this is a crucial time to manage tick numbers for the season ahead. Developing a tick management program and being ready to treat the whole herd upon the sight of the first wave of ticks in the spring will reduce numbers of viable breeding females going forward, this is referred to as “treating on the spring rise”. Repeated treatments throughout the year before the next lifecycle has completed is essential to keep populations down.

There are many treatment options available, however, withhold periods do restrict some chemicals on dairy animals, particularly lactating stock. No matter what option is employed, correct dosing and application is paramount to ensure an effective and desirable result, treatment is expensive don’t waste it. Additionally, sub-optimal dose rates build resistance in the tick population and ultimately deem chemicals ineffective which will have significant economic impacts on the business and industry as a whole. Cattle ticks may be tested for resistance to particular chemicals through the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries. This test takes a couple of months to be performed as a whole life cycle of the tick needs to be completed for assessment for resistance, however, if ticks are not dying after treatment it is a worth while test. Weighing cattle before treating with pour-ons and injectables is also advised.

Paddock rotations are common practice for the milking herd, this does help manage tick numbers to some degree and where possible having some form of paddock rotation for the other classes of stock on the farm is useful. One strategy that has worked well is to treat young stock with a “long acting” chemical, there are a couple on the market registered for dairy cattle, then move these cattle through as many paddocks as possible on the farm to essentially “vaccum” ticks. The long acting mode of action keeps killing ticks as they attach and go through their lifecycle for many weeks, helping to reduce populations further. There are many chemical options, having a plan around tick management will help reduce numbers.

Vaccinating young cattle with trivalent vaccine (three germ blood) is also recommended. Just because cattle are reared in ticky country does not ensure they are immune to tick fever. There were cases of tick fever in young cattle in the Gympie area in the summer of 2018, vaccinating calves at 3-9 months of age is recommended. Cattle ticks are costly to manage, however, the ramifications to production and animal health are enormous if left unmanaged. Having a plan and treatment strategy going into the spring will help keep tick populations under control and should reduce overall costs for the season.

Ross Warren, Dairy Extension Officer, DAF.

Severe storms cause further devastation. 

On Monday, QDO's article for the Queensland Country Life talked about the need for Industry Recovery and Resilience Projects across the state.

How fitting given what has happened in the last 24 hours in the South Burnett and some areas of the Gympie region. We know that Brian Tessman was badly hit with significant damage done to the home and dairy.

We are trying to coordinate efforts with Blaze Aid to set up a command post in the area so that they can have their team of volunteers help with the cleanup. If you or you know of anyone affected - dairy farmer or not, please let us know by phoning the office on 3236 2955. We are on the phones today trying to talk to members in the region.

If you are ever you have a severe weather event affect you, please contact the office or if on the weekend, phone any of the QDO staff members on their mobiles Eric 0459 362 955, Sarah 0424 416 317, Kerrie 0439 713 671 or Torie 0400 971 615 so we can start to assist you immediately. 

Queensland Mental Health Week

The last couple of months have been tough for many of our farmers hoping and waiting for the supermarkets to change as a result of the 10 cent Drought Levy. The financial strain of the drought and an ongoing battle to get a fair farm gate price have left many members suffering anxiety, depression and other mental health issues.

This week is Queensland Mental Health Week. We would urge members to seek assistance or simply someone to talk to please contact either Lifeline or Beyond Blue.

Lifeline: call: 131 11 14 or visit: www.lifeline.org.au/ 
Beyond Blue: call: 1300 224 636 or visit: www.beyondblue.org.au

A more comprehensive list of organisations that specialise can be found here.

Retailers must do the right thing by dairy farmers.

For nearly a decade, dairy farmers have been wearing the pain caused by discounted products, whether it’s $1 per litre milk or cheap cheese.

I remember when the first $1 per litre products went on supermarket shelves on Australia Day, 2011 and the outrage caused by the resultant “milk wars”.

Prior to this marketing campaign, the last time milk was $1 per litre was around 1992. But in 2018, it’s impossible to live on a wage set at 1992 levels.

Now there is momentum to turn things around and give value back to the dairy supply chain.

Some supermarket chains have announced plans to help drought-affected dairy farmers.

Woolworths plans to introduce a special range of milk priced at $1.10 per litre in mid-October. Homebrand 2L and 3L milk products are currently on shelves for $1.10 per litre until the drought-relief milk product launches.

Coles is now selling its 3L Own Brand milk products for $3.30, with the money collected to be distributed back to farmers via a fund with an application process.

Both have been upfront about the fact that their initiatives are only short-term measures that aren’t intended to solve the problem of discounted dairy products.

As President of Australian Dairy Farmers, I represent farmers all across the country. Many are calling me asking how they are eligible to receive a fair price from either of these plans.

The problem with both plans is that many regions of Australia affected by drought with high production costs impacting thousands of dairy farmers, yet most of those farmers won’t be able to claim a benefit from either initiative.

Coles has encouraged any dairy farmers to apply for a grant through their fund, but those in drought-declared areas will be given priority, while

Woolworths intends to distribute the extra 10c from their drought-relief milk back to farmers via their processor.

While I support measures that see farmers paid a reasonable price for their hard work and dedication, I must ask, “Is this really the best we can do?”

Certainly ADF and our state dairy farmer organisations believe all dairy farmers must see a benefit from any increase in retail milk prices.

Farmers put tireless effort and resources into producing a quality product. And it leaves a deep and lasting impact to see your hard work sitting on a supermarket shelf for less than the price of water.

This pricing practice is not viable and we urgently need a shared solution to assist in building the long-term sustainability of Australian dairy farmers.

Ultimately, we must push for a permanent end to discounted dairy products, whether it’s $1 per litre milk or cheap cheese.

There is a groundswell of support for farmers hit hard by the drought and supermarkets have the best opportunity to scrap their discounted dairy products right across the breadth and depth of the dairy cabinet.

The supermarkets know what farmers want. They know what they deserve. It’s now time for them to take a big step forward and do the right thing by ending this pricing practice.

But until that time comes, I encourage the public to help dairy farmers by continuing to buy branded dairy products.

Source: - Terry Richardson, ADF President

Additional drought relief provisions.

There have been a few additional drought relief schemes including the Drought Relief from Electricity Charges Scheme and Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebates. If you need any help with applying for these grants, please contact QDO.

Drought Relief from Electricity Charges Scheme (DRECS)

The Drought Relief from Electricity Charges Scheme (DRECS) provides relief from supply charges on electricity accounts that are used to pump water for farm or irrigation purposes. Financial assistance is available in drought-declared areas or if your property has been drought-declared. You can apply for a waiver or reimbursement of supply charges on all relevant electricity accounts.

South East customers apply online: https://www.dnrme.qld.gov.au/business/energy/drought-electricity-rebate-application or phone 13 43 87

Regional customers can contact Ergon Energy on 13 10 46.

Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebates (EWIR)

There is quite a lot of criteria involved in obtaining this rebate. We suggest you call QDO if this is something you envisage applying for. Talk to Kerrie – 3236 2955. Please note that this is NOT a rebate involving property development.

Read about Eligibility

https://www.daf.qld.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0006/1404492/emergency-water-infrastructure-rebate-guideline.pdf

STEP 1: download the Water Availability Statement form which would need to be completed :

https://www.daf.qld.gov.au/search?collection=daff&query=water+availability+statement&global_search_submit_button or contact the Customer Service Centre on 13 25 23.

QRIDA FARM MANAGEMENT GRANTS – closes 30.6.19

Farm Management Grants are now available to assist eligible Queensland primary producers or their relatives offset the costs of professional advice associated with succession planning. Costs eligible for the rebate include those for professional advice provided by suitably qualified professionals including for example...

http://www.qrida.qld.gov.au/current-programs/farm-management-grants or Freecall 1800 623 946

Queensland dairy farmers really are the Cream of Australia.

It has been tough for our farmers to watch from the sidelines as Queensland Dairyfarmers’ Organisation has taken on supermarket bullies Coles and Woolworths.

There have been several naysayers that don’t believe that the Queensland dairy industry has the courage to continue its fight to get the 10 cent/litre Drought Levy until it is introduced across all fresh milk.

Today, our farmers are celebrating the launch of the new cheeky campaign - Queensland dairy farmers. The Cream of Australia.

With the support of the Queensland Government’s Office of Small business, the campaign asks all Queenslanders to support their local dairy brands.

“We’ve spoken to so many people who want to buy the brands that are made here in Queensland using Queensland fresh milk. This campaign, as part of the Go Local initiative helps get that message out there” said QDO President Brian Tessmann.

“There are over 20 brands made here supporting our dairy farmers who, along with our mates across Australia are being crippled by this ongoing drought. Because Coles and Woolies have done the wrong thing and done a half measure to try to make us go away on the drought levy, we need to really show them that people care” said dairy farmer Brenden Hayden.

“When we were first told that the campaign was happening, we really liked the line. Now that QDO is leading the fight against the supermarkets, us being The Cream of Australia takes on a whole new meaning.

We’re such a small part of the Australian dairy industry and getting smaller every week but we’re putting up a good fight. Coles has taken away my livelihood and our chance of a life. Someone has to stand up to them” said Brenden.

The Cream of Australia campaign is being supported by media outlets who will run the campaign as Community Service Announcements. “We’re a not-for-profit organisation so we don’t have hundreds of thousands to throw at a media campaign. We’re so grateful for the media’s ongoing support for the Drought Levy and this campaign” said Brian Tessmann.

Queensland brands include Pauls, Trim, Smarter White Milk, Skinny, Dairyfarmerrs, Norco, Maleny Dairy, Maleny Cheese, Gallo Cheese, Woombye Cheese, Kenilworth Dairy, Cooloola, 4 Real Milk, Mungalli Creek, Central Queensland Dairy Fresh, PhysiCAL, Whitsunday Dairy Fresh, Farmers’ Own, Olympus Cheese and Casa Motta.

QCWA assistance for drought affected farmers

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QDO have been referring a number of members on to the QCWA who are receiving funding from several drought relief aid campaigns. From the feedback that’s been received, the QCWA has been extremely helpful to farmers in need, providing grocery vouchers, store credit or assistance in paying some overdue accounts e.g. electricity, phone, doctor etc.

We would like to urge members to seek assistance from the QCWA who are there to help.

Download the application form here.

Panel of service providers appointed to deliver Farm Business Analysis. 

QRIDA and the Farm Debt Restructure Office have appointed an experienced panel of service providers to deliver Farm Business Analysis.

This analysis is provided to approved primary producers who are in financial distress to help inform business decisions concerning the future of their primary production enterprise. 

Once a Farm Business Analysis application has been approved, the primary producer is invited to select an adviser from the panel. The advisers details are below.

BDO, Peter Winterflood
Phone: 07 3237 5966
Email: peter.winterflood@bdo.com.au 
 
Bentleys, Tina Kiernan
Phone: 07 3222 9706
Email: tkiernan@bris.bentleys.com.au

Deloitte, Richard Wheeler
Phone: 07 3308 7251
Email: rwheeler@deloitte.com

Hanrick Curran, John Kotzur
Phone: 07 3218 3900 
Email: john.kotzur@hanrickcurran.com.au

Please contact QRIDA with any questions on 0400 228 677or email contact_fdro@qrida.qld.gov.au

http://www.qrida.qld.gov.au/fdro/service-providers

Minister Furner sacks the entire Western Downs LDC.

THE Western Downs Local Drought Committee has been spectacularly sacked with the Palaszczuk government claiming it has been compromised following LNP Opposition interference.

Agriculture Minister Mark Furner said he had decided to “refresh” the membership of the Western Downs LDC.

The sackings follows ongoing fall out from Mr Furner’s decision to only partially drought declare the ‎38,000sq km Western Downs Shire.

"It is my view that the committee process has been manipulated for political gain," Mr Furner told parliament.

"The LDC’s are meant to be free from political influence, to avoid lobbying, and ensure members are free to make unencumbered decisions based on science that will serve the community for the coming 12 months.

"Given that I believe the committee has been compromised, I have instructed the department to relieve the LDC of their duties."

Committee members were advised of their sacking by DAF’s south region director Richard Routley.

The Western Downs Local Drought Committee is chaired by well known Department of Agriculture officer Ross Ballin. Mr Ballin is understood to chair a number of drought committees which are comprised of farmers.

Sacked committee member and Chinchilla graingrower Greg Stanke was adamant there had been no political interference from the LNP.

Only part of Western Downs Shire has been drought declared despite the local drought committee recommending the entire shire be declared.

“We normally have one meeting a year, in April,” said Mr Sankey, who joined the inaugural committee 35 years ago.

“At that meeting the majority said the drought declaration should be revoked. However, we decided to meet again in August because the season had deteriorated so badly.

“We unanimously voted that the whole of Western Downs be again drought declared. “Usually it takes a week to get a decision from the minister. This time it took a month. I guess he didn’t like what we had to say.”

Tony Perrett hits back

LNP Opposition agriculture spokesman Tony Perrett rejected claims there had been interference saying the Western Downs LDC only became aware of its sacking from the minister’s statement in parliament.

“No other representation was made to members prior to that announcement,” Mr Perrett said.

“Of most concern is the fact that Western Downs was only partially declared, despite the fact these was a unanimous consensus among the six local drought committee members present at the committee meeting held on August 21.

“Clearly the minister has blatantly rejected the committee’s recommendation and didn’t like what they had to say because it embarrassed him after what had played out in the media prior, with Ann Leahy (LNP Warrego) calling on the reconvening of the committee.

“Mr Furner clearly did not like what the committee was tell him because it would embarrass him and he did not want to see extra government assistance go to affected farmers. This is nothing short of heartless and reckless.”

Mr Perrett said the Opposition had requested documents and notes from the Western Downs LDC meeting held on August 21 as well as a copy of the briefing note to the minister under the Right to Information Act.

“These will take weeks to come through, but we are determined to get to the truth,” Mr Perrett said.

“The worry is that if the minister can do this to Western Downs, it can do it to any region. Just because the facts say your region is dry and suffering from drought does not meant he minister will extend those communities the courtesy of a drought declaration, even if warranted.”

Drought assistance

Western Downs lost its drought status after the drought committee met in April and recommended that the drought status be revoked based on a number of useful rainfall events between October 2017 and March 2018.

“Drought declared producers are able to access Drought Relief Assistance Scheme (DRAS) fodder and water freight subsidies and emergency water infrastructure rebates, as well as access other programs in the Queensland Drought Assistance Package.

“This includes relief from electricity charges, land rent rebates and water licence waivers as well as access to a number of community and mental health programs.

“However I’d like to stress that even if a producer lives in a shire that is not drought declared, they can apply for an Individually Droughted Property (IDP) declaration which gives them access to the same relief assistance.

The partial drought-declaration of Western Downs brings the total area of Queensland officially in drought to 58.13 per cent. Some parts of Queensland have been in drought since 2013.

DBnB Fertigation Field Day.

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A field day showcasing the Dairying Better ‘n Better program’s on-farm fertigation trial was held last week at Harrisville, presenting preliminary findings of the project to those who attended. The trial is currently in its second and final year, with fertigation being compared to traditional broadcast fertiliser application in ryegrass pasture under centre pivot irrigation.

Approximately 20 dairy farmers and industry representatives attended the day, and they were provided with the preliminary facts and figures of the second year of the trial. Jackpot ryegrass was planted in 2018. Nitrogen is the only nutrient being applied through the fertigation system, with one quarter of the pivot area being fertilised using Easy N liquid fertiliser, and one quarter fertilised via broadcast urea for a comparison.  Pasture dry matter yields are being taken before and after grazing, and fertiliser and irrigation events are being recorded. Pasture samples have been taken for analysis.  Results so far this season indicate the fertigation quarter slightly ahead on pasture growth and utilisation.

Farmers also heard from Noel Matthews, Regional Business Manager from Incitec Pivot. Noel reminded farmers of the nitrogen cycle, and discussed the many ways that nitrogen can potentially be lost in the system. Options such as fertigation and coated urea can reduce nitrogen losses provided application is managed accordingly. For example, Easy N needs to be applied to the soil surface otherwise the urea component will volatilise into the atmosphere.

Pat Daley, from Daley’s Water Service reiterated the message of the importance of irrigation scheduling to avoid over or under watering.  A farm walk generated discussion about grazing pressure and the challenge of balancing grazing utlisation with intensive feeding of high producing cows.

Benefits of the fertigation system include labour and fuel savings, which then lead to cost savings on repairs and maintenance of machinery.  The liquid fertiliser is immediately available to the plants and can be distributed more evenly (provided the irrigation system has an even distribution uniformity) compared with granular fertilisers. Applying smaller amounts more often enables a more optimum growth rate, and liquid fertilisers aren’t as volatile, reducing potential losses to the atmosphere. Final project results will be available following the completion of the 29018 ryegrass season.