Numbers don't stack up for milk purchases in survey.

The findings in a recent survey by leading research group, Canstar, show that the majority of Australian’s want to support our dairy farmers by purchasing branded milk. A whopping 68% of Australians believe they are buying milk that supports the farmers, and yet the majority (60%) of all milk sold in Australia is private label $1/litre.

The research goes on to say that most of the respondents to the survey (90%) feel that the supermarkets should be doing more to help Australian dairy farmers, with 68% of shoppers saying they’d be happy to pay more for a supermarket private label if some of the money went to the farmers.

So why are our farmers still not receiving more for their milk?

In QDO’s own quantitative research, we found that people were confused about which brands support dairy farmers and which are detrimental to our industry. With the assistance of the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, QDO is embarking on a new Fair Farmgate Price Logo scheme that will help shoppers readily identify the brands that are paying a fair price for milk.

QDO has already been talking with independent processors to gauge interest in the scheme with at least 90% being very enthusiastic about the opportunity that this on-pack logo and awareness campaign will bring to their brands. We will keep members posted as the project progresses.

Queensland irrigators encouraged to have their say on water prices.

The Queensland Farmers’ Federation (QFF) will hold workshops across the state to encourage and assist Queensland irrigators to make submissions to the Queensland Competition Authority’s (QCA) investigation into the state’s irrigation schemes.

QFF President Stuart Armitage encouraged irrigators and interested parties to take the opportunity to have their positions heard and make a submission.

“The QCA’s examination of water prices in SunWater and SEQWater irrigation schemes across the state will determine new prices for irrigators for the 2020-24 period,” Mr Armitage said.

“QFF is undertaking independent assessments of each bulk and distribution scheme’s costs and the pricing implications for Queensland’s irrigators.”

“Workshops are planned in a number of locations across Queensland over the coming weeks to present the cost analysis of each scheme to help irrigators prepare their submissions to the QCA.” (details below)

“It is essential that the QCA listens to and considers the concerns of Queensland irrigators’ regarding significant water price increases and contributing to dam safety infrastructure and flood management and monitoring services.”

Submissions to the QCA as part of the irrigation price review close Friday 22 February 2019 and can be made here:

Source: QFF

QFF welcomes postponement to Queensland Waste Levy.

Farmers and rural communities will have more time to prepare for the Queensland Government’s new Waste Levy following continued advocacy by the Queensland Farmers’ Federation (QFF) and other industry associations.

The Waste Levy will now begin on 1 July 2019, be set at $75 per tonne for general wastes sent to landfill and may now include the Goondiwindi local government area in the levy zone, after it was initially scheduled to commence three months earlier at $70 per tonne.

QFF President Stuart Armitage said QFF had expressed concerns that the original date did not align with administrative timeframes and did not give local governments time to install the necessary infrastructure to administer and collect the levy.

“This new date also allows the state government to address the lack of awareness surrounding the impending levy among many farmers and regional businesses,” Mr Armitage said.

“The Queensland Government must ensure that regional businesses located inside or operating within the levy zone, which currently includes 38 local government areas, are fully aware of the increased costs associated with the disposal of wastes.”

Mr Armitage said QFF had been working with farmers and rural communities to recognise the importance of farm sustainability and to grow and develop the resource recovery sector in Queensland.

“While the levy provides opportunities for the development of the resource recovery sector in Queensland, it is essential that funding from the disposal levy is returned to regional communities to build infrastructure, support jobs, and stimulate new and domestic markets for recovered materials.”

Source: QFF

Queensland Feral Pest Initiative.

Fed up with feral animals and invasive weeds on your property? Contact your local council to see if they are applying for round three of the Queensland Feral Pest Initiative and see how you can be involved in the project. Applications for the funding round close 23rd November so be sure to get in touch with them ASAP.

The Queensland Government is investing a further $6 million in the construction of cluster fencing in western and southern Queensland. The investment is part of the 2017 State election commitments and 2017-18 State Budget. An additional $1 million of funding from the Federal Government is also available for invasive plant and animal management in Queensland areas that are or were drought declared as at 1 July 2018.

The Queensland Feral Pest Initiative provides funding to eligible organisations including:

·       regional natural resource management (NRM) groups,

·       incorporated industry associations,

·       local governments and

·       a regional organisation of local governments or equivalent body.

Please see link for further information in the current round including the guidelines and supplementary information

Review of Natural Resource Management Projects.

QDO has contracted Senior Dairy Extension Officer Ross Warren from Department of Agriculture and Fisheries for six weeks to assist QDO Industry Development Officer Torie Harrison in conducting a thorough review of Natural Resource Management projects. Since Ruth Chalk’s resignation Torie has been the acting NRM Project Manager. Projects that fall under NRM, and will be involved in the review, include Dairying Better ‘n Better, Dairy & Fodder Water for Profit, and the Reef Programme in the Burnett Mary and Wet Tropics catchments. 

Ross has over twenty years of experience in the dairy industry and has worked with QDO with some of the delivery in these NRM projects. This prior background and understanding of the NRM projects along with the great rapport Ross has built with farmers and industry bodies will greatly aid the review in identifying possible impediments and pathways to progress and improve the projects.

 The desired outcome of this review is to provide recommendations to the QDO board on the structure of the NRM space into the future. It is important that previous work undertaken is evaluated so that problems are solved in the future workplan to ensure funding targets and outcomes can be achieved. It is also of great importance to QDO that the work we undertake in the NRM space delivers real outcomes to Queensland dairy farmers in line with QDO’s two priorities of increasing profits or mitigating risk for members.

As part of the review Ross and Torie will be in contact with several farmers over the coming weeks to gather feedback and suggestions on the projects. If you would like to have input in this review please contact Torie 3236 2955 or email

Concessions for drought-affected at popular Toowoomba school.


Bursaries available at St Saviour’s College

ST SAVIOUR’S College is doing its bit for drought relief by offering eight bursaries for young women, from Years 7 through to Year 12.

The bursaries begin in 2019 and cover 75% of all boarding and tuition fees for the entire duration of the student’s stay at the college.

“As a proud Mercy College committed to the holistic learning of young women, the college is dedicated to following in the footsteps of Catherine McAuley, and the traditions of the Mercy Sisters, who opened the college in 1873,” principal Sharon Collins said.

“Catherine provided education and support to young women in times of need. She empowered the women of their time, to liberate themselves through their education to promote their resilience and independence. St Saviour’s College continues this Mercy legacy today.”

The college boasts an extensive curriculum across a variety of pathways, providing an inclusive, quality education, that is individually tailored so all students experience academic success.

Recent NAPLAN results indicate learning performance improvement, having ranked fourth top school in Toowoomba for Year 9.

The college is also known for strong “relative academic growth” in their students, indicating that Year 7 results are consistently improved in relation to a cohort’s Year 9 results two years later.

Over the past two years the college has seen a $1 million upgrade in its boarding facilities. The college has new bathroom and toilet facilities, living areas, window fittings, furnishings, mattresses and air conditioning. Students also enjoy a variety of nutritious, tasty meals that are prepared on site.

For more information, phone 4637 1600 or email


National minimum wage increase.

The National Minimum Wage was increased by 3.5% with effect from the beginning of the first pay period commencing on or after 1 July 2018.

This means the NMW will increase by $24.30 per week or $0.64 per hour to $719.20 and $18.93 respectively. Award wage rates will also be increased by 3.5%.

Please refer to the Pastoral Award figures in the spreadsheet by clicking here...

Accredited certifiers for cattle tick updated. 

Earlier this month the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries updated the list of accredited certifiers for cattle tick.

Accredited certifiers are trained and authorised by legislation to certify the cattle tick status of livestock. They may be used when moving livestock between cattle tick zones or verifying the effectiveness of an eradication program in the free zone.

Accredited certifiers can issue biosecurity certificates and may inspect and/or treat livestock in order to verify a tick-free status. Inspection and treatments may be performed on property or at a clearing facility. On property inspection and treatments will allow livestock to be certified at their place of origin and moved directly to their destination. For the list of currently accredited certifiers go here…

Funding for Women's Leadership Development.

The Women & Leadership Australia (WLA) have a range of funding opportunities available for women in farming and agriculture. This follows on from the success of WLA’s #100daysforchange campaign, in which more than 200 organisations and individuals pledged a change to increase gender equity in their workplace. 

As a result, many women are being provided with opportunities for progression and empowerment. The funding has been specifically allocated on the back of the project’s success, but must be apportioned by the end of 2018.

End of year funding grants are currently available to women who work in the agriculture sector to support their participation in a professional development program.

Up to $7,000 scholarships available
The fee support opportunity provides a scholarship of up to $7,000 for women to take part in one of three leadership courses.

The grants have been provisioned for use by women who are working in male-dominated industries, with a specific focus on the agriculture industry.

How to register
At this stage, Expressions of Interest are being sourced until 7th December via this link: The programs are suitable for junior managers right through to executive level women.


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.