Second year of fertigation trial is underway.

The Dairying Better ‘n Better team is gearing up to complete another year of fertigation trial at the Harrisville. Soil testing pre planting of ryegrass has been completed with the ground currently being prepared to plant the ryegrass. The late hot conditions means planting may still not occur for the next week but the new protocols have been all set. 

Two quarters of the pivot will be used for the trial this year again, with 1 as a control (conventional broadcast Urea at 46 kg N/ha post grazing) and 1 as the experiment (EasyN liquid fertiliser with 2 applications post grazing to be applied with irrigation at a 25 kg N/ha and 20 kg N/ha in respective applications). Soil moisture data will be measured through the use of Tain Tierra loggers with tipping buckets to measure rainfall. Pre and post grazing pasture measures will also be taken. 

Fertigation System.jpg

If you missed out all the results from last year trial please visit the Dairying Better 'n Better page for all the information of last years trial results and fact sheets.

This trial is running through the Dairy & Fodder Water for Profit program which is a partnership between Queensland Dairyfarmers’ Organisation, Department of Agricultural and Fisheries and Subtropical Dairy and funded through the Queensland Government’s Department of Natural Resources and Mines Rural Water Use Efficiency Irrigation Futures program.

Dairy Reef Alliance recruits 5 new businesses for bench-marking activities

The Dairy Reef Alliance Program is aimed at working with farmers that haven’t previously engaged in Reef programs but have the capacity to change. The program, which is a subprogram of the Reef Alliance Program, is engaging 60 dairy farms across the Mary River and Herbert and Johnstone catchments (in the Wet Tropics). 

Throughout 2017, participants were involved in completing benchmarking of management practices and development of action plans. Farmers completed the Qld Dairy Self Assessment Tool (QDairySAT) assessing practices relating to soils, nutrients, effluent management and reuse, vegetation, water use efficiency, farm wastes, energy, greenhouse gas and business management practices. Priorities across the regions varied from farm to farm, but some of the top priorities included business management, business planning including succession, soils and nutrients, nutrient reuse, loafing areas and shade shelters. 

A highlight of the Dairy program in late 2017, was the successful recruiting of 5 new businesses to undertake business benchmarking activities which have not previously completed this exercise. The business benchmarking program examines a range of KPIs across the dairy business, which can then be used to develop strategies on how to make improvements.

Annual benchmarking enables the farmers to look at trends across multi years, but also analyse their performance against industry averages and trends. With good financial management, farmers will be better placed to invest in sustainable management practices to ensure long term viability. Over the coming 6 months farmers will be working towards building their knowledge and skills across their priority areas whilst reviewing their individual action plans, along with the delivery of a small incentive program.

Queensland Dairyfarmers Go Local campaign set to launch by June 30

Go Local.PNG

QDO Executive Director and newly appointed Marketing Manager Sarah Ferguson met with staff at the Queensland Government Office of Small Business late last week to discuss the roll-out of the Go Local campaign. Launched late last year, the campaign looks to create awareness of the benefits to consumers and businesses of supporting local enterprise. 

"The current campaign has been designed as an awareness campaign; but there is a need to do more to change people's behaviour when selecting from supermarket shelves.  We need to create an emotional connection to our industry and the people who are apart of it, to get consumers to stop and think about their purchase decisions." said Sarah

Queensland Dairyfarmers' Organisation is the first primary producer organisation to engage with the Office of Small Business to role out an industry specific campaign. 

"While the campaign will contain elements of the current Go Local awareness campaign, the creative execution will be unique to our industry" 

Sarah will assist members to promote the campaign in social media and other marketing channels to drive change. 

If members want to know more about how they can get advice, be involved or be supplied with marketing material as part of the campaign, please contact Sarah at or the office on 3236 2955.



FREE Workshop: Dairy Resilience Assisting with Your Farm's Future.

QDO invites you to hands-on workshops where presenters will provide practical strategies and advice around the following topics:

  • Financial, Tax & Legal Opportunities
  • Business Planning, Transition & Succession Strategies
  • Protecting Your Assets & Family Legacy

We can help make the critical conversation of succession planning LESS DAUNTING….and MORE PRODUCTIVE. Following the workshops, participants can expect one on one assistance guiding them through proven steps to deliver outcomes.

What’s next for you, your family & your farm? Explore options including growing, evolving and building resilience into your family farm business. 

Early planning for a comfortable, worry-free retirement of the current generation and management takeover for the next generation creates future confidence and certainty for everyone involved.  

Time: 10am til 2pm (Light lunch is provided)
Cost: FREE for QDO Members and Non Members

Mass Mycoplasma bovis cull planned for New Zealand

About 22,000 NZ dairy cows are due to be culled under official plans to limit an outbreak of Mycoplasma bovis on the South Island.

Dairy farmers will be compensated by the NZ government if the widespread cull program is undertaken. Up to 30 farms have been found to be infected; most of them linked by stock movements between properties. The disease is highly contagious among cows, causing lameness, abortions, severe mastitis and can kill animals, but does not affect humans. NZ had been one of few countries previously unaffected by the disease. It is estimated it affects about 0.6% of Australia's dairy herd. Wayne Langford, vice dairy chair of the Federated Farmers of New Zealand group said while 22,000 cows sounded like a lot, NZ had 20m total dairy and beef cattle. There might be a slight increase in heifer prices while people re-stocked, he added.

Murray Goulburn sale clears ACCC hurdle

The ACCC has approved Saputo’s proposed takeover of MG after accepting a court-enforceable undertaking to divest the Koroit plant.

“Saputo’s divestiture undertaking has remedied the ACCC’s competition concerns about the Koroit plant,” ACCC chairman Rod Sims said. “The undertaking creates an opportunity for a viable competing milk processor to enter or expand in the local region. When approving a new owner of Koroit, we will focus on its ability to be a strong and effective competitor for raw milk in the region.” Mr Sims said the ACCC heard from and spoke with many farmers who expressed concerns with the regulator intervening in this transaction in the short term because they wanted certainty and stability after a bumpy ride with MG.

“I want to assure them our aim is to put in place an outcome that works in their best interest by promoting competition in the medium to longer term while minimising short term uncertainty,” Mr Sims said.

The undertaking also includes details of transitional milk supply arrangements and independent management for the plant until it is sold. The ACCC will issue a Public Competition Assessment in due course that will outline the reasons for its decision in more detail. The sale still has to gain approval from the Foreign Investment Review Board and the EGM to be held on Thursday.

QDO appoints Marketing and Communications Manager

Following the success of QDO's grant submission to the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, we are delighted to welcome Sarah Ferguson as the Marketing and Communications Manager. Sarah's role will be to develop marketing strategies to help consumers make better informed decisions when purchasing milk, assist farmers and small milk processors to improve their marketing, and assist the industry to develop its own 'Fair Milk Logo' scheme. 

Sarah has over 20 years of marketing experience and has a particular passion for developing marketing campaigns to change consumer behaviour and to help drive improved profits.

She is looking forward to meeting with as many members as possible over the coming weeks and encourages you all to give her a call or email at

ADF appoints Craig Hough as Director, Policy & Strategy

Craig has extensive experience in agricultural policy, strategy and delivery, principally during his employment with the Victorian Government. Craig Hough has an extensive track record providing high level policy advice to governments and boards and leading state significant strategies and projects in public and not for profit sector agencies covering the fields of agriculture, mining, disability, local government, community services, consumer affairs and criminal justice.

Over the past ten years Craig occupied various policy and program manager roles in the Victorian Government. For most of this period his work has been focused on driving growth and investment in Victorian agriculture. Under the previous Baillieu/Napthine Coalition Government Craig developed export plans and trade mission programs and led implementation of the $35.8m Food to Asia Action Plan. He also played a leadership role in delivering the government’s public sector reform agenda, which included a review of performance management, international engagement and industry assistance, and implementation of the Sustainable Government Initiative. Under the current Andrews Labor Government, Craig led submissions to the Productivity Commission’s Review of Agriculture Regulation and Australian Government’s Review of Industry Levies and development of its Agriculture Competitiveness Green/White Paper. More recently Craig led development of the Agriculture Victoria Strategy and the detail behind the Minister for Agriculture's $27 million digital agriculture program announcement. In addition to these flagship achievements Craig managed a number of core government policy processes such as Victoria’s representation at the Agriculture Ministers Forum, the highest decision making forum for Australian agriculture.

In August 2017 Craig graduated with a Master of Business Administration from Victoria University. This included receiving a Golden Key International Society Membership; an invitation only membership for students in the top 15% of academic achievement in all fields of study at the university.

Craig also has a Master of Social Science (Policy and Management) and Bachelor of Arts (Criminal Justice Administration) from RMIT University.


FNQ dairy farmers benefit from deluge



Dairy farmers on the Atherton Tablelands have received a drenching throughout the recent weather events. QDO State Councillor James Geraghty received over 905mm over four days at his Millaa Millaa property. The rain event was one of the heaviest non-cyclone related events in recent memory.

The rainfall is good news for farmers in the region with fields and pastures looking particularly green and Tinaroo Dam increasing from 30 per cent capacity to 70 percent.

There have been not initial reports of damage to the regions dairy farmers and it would be fair to say that overall there are smiles on the faces of dairy farmers on the Tablelands.

Checkout this amazing footage of the gushing water taken by QDO member and district councillor Owen Daley on his family’s property during the recent downpour:

QDO district and state council workshop in Esk

On the March 14 and 15 QDO held a workshop for district and state councillors in Esk. The session was attended by 16 farmers including 5 farmers in their 20s and 3 in their 30s. Mike Smith and Stephen Robertson from Ethical Consulting ran most of the workshop which was targeted at board governance training for district and state councillors. Also in attendance were Terry Richardson (ADF President), Mark Neville from QFF who did some media training and QDO staff.

All participants learnt more about governance, running meetings, media and the political scene which was very beneficial. The farmers who have considerable experience on boards learnt some new things. Others who have had some experience in the past would have learnt a lot. For the younger farmers who have had minimal experience with governance in the past they would have got a taste for it but clearly need to undertake further training which is to be expected. QDO will be providing further targeted training for young district councillors in the coming months.


We had a dinner for attendees and QDO members in the local area. Stephen Robertson spoke about his vast political experience including being a State Minister for over a decade. He also spoke about the political scene and the keys to effectively lobbying government. Terry Richardson talked about his history in dairy farming in New Zealand and Victoria and his current role as President of ADF. He also discussed his experience on a variety of boards in NZ and Australia including Warnambool Cheese and Butter.

The gathering was a great opportunity for dairy farmers from throughout Queensland to meet and network. It was especially useful for some of the younger farmers who met many new people from other districts for the first time. Some participants put more effort into networking than some of the formal training elements (Owen Daley comes to mind).

Thanks to Kerrie for organising the workshop and Stephen and Mike for running such a useful training session.