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.

QDO members can access free industrial relations advice


Are you AWARE that PEQ (Primary Employers Queensland) under an arrangement with QDO provides our members with an Industrial Relations Service which entitles you to information about:

  • Wages
  • Hours of work and overtime
  • Leave entitlements
  • Employee Management including Termination
  • Underpayment of Wages, Claims and Unfair Dismissal etc.

Call QDO for more informationT: 3236-2955

Torie & Damien join QDO team

 New QDO team members Damien Ferguson & Torie Harrison

New QDO team members Damien Ferguson & Torie Harrison

Queensland Dairyfarmers’ Organisation (QDO) is excited to welcome Damien Ferguson and Torie Harrison to the team in their roles in supporting the Queensland dairy industry.

Torie & Damien are funded through the Queensland Government’s natural disaster industry recovery and resilience project to assist farmers as they continue to recover from last year’s Cyclone Debbie.

Both will be balancing their time between the QDO Brisbane office and visiting farmers within the Scenic Rim and Lockyer Valley dairying regions.

Damien Ferguson brings to the role over six years of experience as Project Leader with AgForce assisting graziers and grain growers as well as many decades of financial planning experience.

In particular, Damien brings to QDO his experience and passion for addressing succession planning within the agriculture sector.

“Succession planning is so important in our industry, especially in helping existing and next generations to develop a clear path forward” said Mr Ferguson.

“From my experience succession planning is something everyone wants to get right, but unfortunately coming up with and implementing a plan is easier said than done, without outside assistance.”

“I am looking forward to working closely with farmers as they recover from Cyclone Debbie as well as implementing resilience strategies for next time, including succession plans”.

Industry Development Officer Torie Harrison brings to the role expertise in animal health and agricultural science as well as coming off her family’s dairy property in Mt. Kilcoy.

“I’m looking forward to applying my studies alongside my love and understanding of the dairy industry as I get out to visit farmers,” said Ms Harrison.

“Getting natural disaster recovery right is very important.  We know that if farmers recover properly, they improve their reliance and turn around during the next event.”

“Recovery is all about making considered decisions before the event to ensure future impacts are lessened”.

Don’t be surprised if you are contacted by Torie and Damien as they will be making their way around the Scenic Rim and Lockyer Valley over the coming months. 

QDO will be conducting a series of industry recovery workshops in the coming weeks.  Keep an eye out for details as they become available.

Make it Cheaper can save you money on your electricity bill

Dear QDO Members

Running a business is hard work, and margins are often extremely tight, which is why we’ve partnered with Make it Cheaper to help you review your energy costs and see if you could be cutting your bills down.

Since our partnership began, Make it Cheaper has identified $150,000 in energy savings for QDO Members through 148 energy contracts, with the average member saving $1,500 per annum on their business account and $815 per annum on their personal account.

Obi Obi Dairy are saving approximately $16,500 on their energy bills.

How Much Could You Be Saving?


Attention young farmers! QDO want to hear from you!

Are you working on farm? QDO want to hear from you and get to know you better. Parents/dairy owners are encouraged to dob in their young farmers too.

QDO are chasing the contact details including email & mobile phone number of those currently not on our database.

QDO is committed to engaging with and supporting the next generation of dairy farmers in the state.

Contact Kerrie on 3236 2955 or ea@dairypage.com.au

QDO’s submission ACCC interim report into dairy industry

Below is the summary of the QDO submission. The submission in its entirety can be viewed HERE.

The QDO strongly support the key ACCC findings that:

  • the dairy market does not work and must be fixed – it is a failed market
  • Industry structures, and price structures are inevitably different and higher in Queensland than other markets and this is not principally or significantly caused by inefficient farmers, industry structure or systems
  • the voluntary code of conduct insufficiently remedies market inefficiencies/failings and must be strengthened
  • a voluntary code insufficiently remedies market inefficiencies/failings and must be made mandatory.

However, we feel that even a strengthened and mandatory code is a weak and insufficient response to the current problems in Queensland, will not establish a functioning and efficient market, and more must be done.

The Dairy Inquiry Interim Report (the Interim Report) of the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) vindicates and supports what dairy farmers and Queensland Dairyfarmers’ Organisation (QDO) has said about the dairy market in Queensland:

  • The market doesn’t work – it is a failed market and must be fixed
  • Farmers have no negotiating power and prices and terms are dictated to them by processors – we say this is their easy and weak response to retailer pressure
  • Processor returns have been and continue to be massively reduced from $1/lire milk
  • Farmgate milk prices are inadequate and unsustainable
  • Merely increasing retail prices won’t fix the problem as increased profits to retailers and/or processors won’t be passed on to farmers, because the market is broken
  • Voluntary codes and other solutions have not worked and need to be strengthened and made mandatory.

There are several gaps in the Interim Report, and factual errors leading to wrong conclusions, but they don’t impair the key finding of market failure. While the Interim Report powerfully and in detail makes the case that the dairy market is a failed market, and highlights many of the problems in the industry previously identified in many other reports, it identifies insufficient solutions to solve the problem. The final report must have sufficiently broad recommendations that dairy farmers can be confident the failed market will be fixed – anything less guarantees future farm failures and guarantees continued campaigning for re-regulation.

Deregulation of the dairy industry has failed – the shallowness of the ACCC proposals in response are of enormous concern.  Those who advocate deregulation and the freeing of market forces (i.e. the Australian Government and its agencies, in this instance) have an unambiguous obligation to have a proper, effective, and thorough policy toolkit available to use to fix the problem, when deregulation fails.  The limited responses from ACCC – which will not resolve the problems of the dairy industry nor fix the market – expose an enormous gap in the readiness of Governments to fix their policy mistakes.  Sadly, that failure is killing the dairy farming sector in Queensland, but an appropriately strengthened final report from ACCC has the capacity to do much more.

The submission in its entirety can be viewed HERE.
See the ACCC interim report in the dairy industry HERE

Price dive ahead for 2018/19

Price dive ahead for 2018/19: spencer

Next season could see milk prices ‘significantly worsen’, according to dairy analyst Steve Spencer.  In the latest Global dairy directions report, he warns of 2018/19 average commodity milk values  ranging from  $4.30 to $4.50/kgms. The EU SMP glut, along with extra milk from the EU and US, will drive the price down, offset by lower production in Australia and weather-cramped NZ milk outputs. “You’d have to have been living under a large rock to be unaware of the risks that lie ahead for global dairy markets, and therefore Southern Australia’s milk prices,” he said.  EU milk production will top last year’s output by about 3-4% during the spring flush, seeing the EU Commission “keen to hold a clearance sale of SMP … at whatever price.” The flow-on for butterfat will see higher EU cheese production “at a time when the US is producing much more cheese than its consumers are demanding … Hence, cheese is the major risk for NZ and Australian milk values,” he said, adding. “Failure of the EU spring would be a gift, but weather outlooks show no red flags.”

Are you passionate about the dairy industry and want to help farmers?

Queensland Dairyfarmers’ Organisation (QDO) is looking for someone who is passionate about the dairy industry to fill its industry recovery officer position assisting Cyclone Debbie affected dairy farmers in the Scenic Rim, Lockyer Valley and the Darling Downs regions.

The position would suit sons or daughters of dairy farmers with university qualifications that have a rudimental understanding of the industry and on-farm processes. The position would also suit someone who has a passion for the dairy industry and who wants to learn more about financial, business and succession of dairy farmers. 

The QDO recovery & resilience industry development officer will:

  • Work closely farmers on a daily basis to get them involved in the project including very regular farm visits
  • Assist farmers access government and other assistance measures available
  • Provide natural disaster recovery advice and support
  • Organise workshops on succession and financial planning for dairy farmers with finance and business professionals presenting at workshops

It is a full-time positions with a 2 year contract. The remuneration package is negotiable commensurate with experience and suitability to the role.

To apply for this position, send a cover letter and resume to ea@dairypage.com.au or fax: (07) 3236 2956.