Treating Dairy Farm waste water - research study.

The research team at the University of Queensland has developed an innovative process for low cost treatment of waste-water in agribusiness and dairy farm using environmental friendly reagents. By treating and reusing the water, the farmers can reduce the water levy and energy expense of pumping ground water and consequently reducing the cost and protecting key natural resource. The treatment train consist of traditional floatation process followed by a compact hydroxon process that can help to remove nutrients, organics and pathogens from the water and making it ready for reuse in the farm.

The research team is seeking the participation of a medium to large dairy farm business with a daily water consumption of >20-25KL or herd size of >400-500, to provide a host site for technology testing. The test will be carried out for a period of 1 year inorder to examine the efficiency of the treatment process in all seasons. The test activity will be fully funded by the inventors of the technology together with a grant from the government. The dairy farm business will incur “zero” expense during the test period and the testing activities will not cause any kind of hindrances in daily activity of the farm business. The treated water will be freely available to the farming business for reuse.

If you are interesting in participating in the testing activities and for more details, please contact Dr Pradeep Shukla: Pradeep.shukla@uq.edu.au Mob: 0421470523

 

Johne’s disease scoring system update.

The scoring system for managing Johne’s disease has been simplified for 2019.  The new plan is called Johne’s Disease Dairy Score.  Queensland dairy farmers will want to make sure they understand the changes.

The 2019 plan has less reliance on calf separation than the 2016 plan that it replaces.  It recognises vaccination as a method of reducing the impacts of Johne’s disease and continues to value the farm biosecurity plan and herd testing.  The new plan also has a new date for ending the transition period for farmers to adopt a score, now of 30 September 2019.

In the context of Johne’s Disease Dairy Score, a farm biosecurity plan should specifically address Johne’s disease risks, and a herd test will ordinarily be a Herd Environmental Culture (HEC) Test on a sample of slurry.

To meet the new transition date of 30 September, sampling for HEC testing will need to be completed by 30 June 2019.

This is a summary of how the changes will affect Queensland dairy farmers:

  • If you have elected to be a Dairy Score of 8 under the 2016 plan, continue your annual discussion and endorsement of your biosecurity plan with your veterinarian, and the deadline for sampling for your first HEC Test is now 30 June 2019.

  • If you chose to have a Dairy Score of 7 under the 2016 plan by doing a HEC Test but without veterinary endorsement of your biosecurity plan, you may either:

o   Upgrade to an 8 by engaging your veterinarian in your biosecurity plan (and ensuring you’ve completed your first HEC Test by 30 September 2019, or

o   Maintain the score 7 if you have already done the HEC Test and have a suitable biosecurity plan.

  • To maintain a Johne’s Disease Dairy Score of 8, you must continue to engage your veterinarian every year in discussion and endorsement of your biosecurity plan, and complete a HEC test with negative results every two years.  If you don’t engage your veterinarian every year in your biosecurity plan, your score will lapse to 7.

  • To maintain a Johne’s Disease Dairy Score of 7, you must continue your biosecurity plan and complete a HEC test with negative results every two years.  If you don’t do a HEC test with negative results every two years, you could do a HEC test every three years and your score would lapse to 6, or do no further HEC tests and your score will lapse to 4.

  • If you chose to manage JD risks under the 2016 plan by only having a biosecurity plan and not by any herd testing, your property was score 3, or score 4 if you had the 3-step calf separation in place for at least 4 years.  In either case, your Johne’s Disease Dairy Score is now 4 under the 2019 plan.

  • Herds which don’t have a biosecurity plan that addresses Johne’s disease risks default to score 0.  Due to the requirements for a farm biosecurity plan by both LPA and most dairy processors, score 0 should not apply to any dairy farm.

  • The score for any property on which there has been a clinical case (scouring and wasting diagnosed as due to JD) in the past 5 years is determined initially by the time since the last clinical case.  The score may then progress through vaccinating and herd testing with negative results.

Further information is available at:

Dairy Australia - https://www.dairyaustralia.com.au/farm/animal-management/animal-health/bovine-johnes-disease

Source: Lawrence Gavey BSc (Hons), BVSc, Grad Cert Bus (Public Sector Mgmt); Principal Veterinarian, Animal Disease Containment, Animal Biosecurity and Welfare, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries

Farm invaders to be hit with swift enforcement action.

The Palaszczuk Government has moved fast to crack down hard on animal rights activists who invade farms and meatworks after two further disruptive protests on the Darling Downs and Southern Queensland last Monday.

Before the end of the month, militant animal rights activists will face $652.75 fines issued either on the spot or later after review of evidence from the protest site.

The fines will be issued by Police or biosecurity officers.

The Biosecurity Regulation 2016 will be amended to include this new penalty aimed squarely at animal activists who consider their cause is above the law.

The move was fully endorsed by the Animal Industry Security Taskforce comprising officials from the Department of Agriculture, Police, AgForce and the Queensland Farmers Federation when they met last Thursday.

Minister for Police Mark Ryan said the new on-the-spot fines are a very welcome new measure for Police in combatting illegal and dangerous behaviour by reckless animal activists.

“Those breaking the law will soon be hit hard financially,” Mr Ryan said.

“A taskforce established by the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries and supported by Queensland Police is also putting processes in place to de-escalate these tense situations and to maintain the safety of everyone involved.”

Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner said the escalation of farm and meatworks invasions we’ve just witnessed are completely unacceptable.

“As well as on-the-spot fines, these disruptive and illegal protestors could also face the courts and possible jail time on trespass charges, once affected landowners complain officially to police and evidence supports their arrests,” Mr Furner said.

“We take animal welfare very seriously and so does an overwhelming majority of our agricultural businesses.”

Mr Furner said the Palaszczuk Government had moved quickly to establish a strong deterrent for activists thinking of breaching biosecurity restrictions where livestock were kept.

“We have acted decisively and drawn a real line in the sand,” he said.

“Animal rights zealots invading farms are a real threat to biosecurity and are putting their lives and the lives of farmers, workers and indeed the animals they claim to care about at risk.

“If they behave in this way then they will pay the price.”

Activists who move from location to location for multiple protests will face being slapped with multiple $652.75 on-the-spot fines.

Five people have now been scheduled to face trespass charges in the Toowoomba Magistrates Court on May 9 following a trespassing incident at a Millmerran property last month.

Initially charges were laid against a 29-year-old woman and 26-year-old man, both of Margate, who were alleged to be the principal organisers of a protest and trespassing incident at a Bostock Road, Millmerran, feedlot.

Investigations remain ongoing.

Source: Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries. The Honourable Mark Furner

Thank you RACQ.

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When a natural disaster strikes, RACQ Foundation is there to help those in need. The Foundation helps Queensland community groups recover from severe weather events including the tornadoes that tore through the Burnett region in November last year. 

The RACQ Foundation approached QDO and offered to assist members who, months later were still cleaning up and repairing buildings, fences and yards damaged by the strong winds and driving rain. 

Seven dairy farms in South Burnett Region were assisted by twelve RACQ staff (6 mechanical, 6 non-mechanical) during a week-long project. Over forty mechanical items were serviced/repaired (tractors, machinery, harvesters, vehicles, 4X4, motorbikes); 3km of fencing erected, 2 buildings painted and 3 gardens established.

QDO wishes to thank RACQ for reaching out and offering much needed assistance to members.

Getting proactive about mental health.

The past few years have been very hard for farmers and their families – financially as well as emotionally; and many people are not sure where to turn for help.

Talking with farmers across Queensland every day, QDO staff hear about the difficulties members face due to weather conditions, relationships problems and financial worries.

More frequently members contact QDO to get help in accessing resources for financial assistance, but few are aware that the QDO staff are also trained to assist farmers with their emotional well-being.

Over the last 6 months QDO staff members completed a Mental Health First Aid course and a SafeTALK Suicide Prevention course to better assist those who may need emotional counselling and support.

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These courses help us identify the signs of emotional stress and to provide us with tools to help us help you. Assistance is completely confidential.

If you’re going through a rough patch; worried about a loved one or a friend, please reach out and give one of us a call. We’re here to help you in anyway.

Contact:

Kerrie: 3236 2955 (Office hours 8am – 3.30pm)

Torie: 0400 971 615

Tony: 0400 669 994

24/7 numbers:  Mental Health call: 1300 64 22 55 / Beyond Blue 1300 22 46 36 / Lifeline 13 11 14

 

Dairy farmers thank retailers for helping move the industry forward.

Late yesterday afternoon, the Australian dairy industry rejoiced with the announcement from Coles and Aldi that they intended to remove $1/L milk across all stores from today.

While we celebrated when Woolworths first announced the removal of $1 milk from its shelves, the dairy industry could not claim success until Coles, Australia’s second largest supermarket in terms of market share, also agreed. That Aldi followed closely behind is no surprise.

“We are delighted by Coles’ announcement last night” said QDO President Brian Tessmann. “They have recognised that a fixed base price for milk was unsustainable and it is great that Coles appears keen to play a key role in helping move the Australian dairy industry forward. “

“$1 milk is dead and gone and it’s time to move on. We’re looking forward to working closely with all retailers, processors and government to address the larger systemic issues within the dairy industry. Finding and implementing long term, sustainable structural reforms is our next goal. Getting there will need to be a concerted effort by all parties” said Mr Tessmann.

“Having key political leaders including Agricultural Minister David Littleproud, Llew O’Brien and Matt Canavan keep the pressure on supermarkets throughout our campaign has been instrumental. Their continued support, and the support of all politicians, will be imperative to move the dairy industry forward” said Mr Tessmann.

The battle to end $1 milk has been waged by various state and national dairy industry bodies since it was introduced just over 8 years ago. Until now, it has been easy for supermarkets to ignore the noise and whinging.

 “We have never said that a 10-cent increase was our end goal. It’s nowhere near enough. While all dairy farmers appreciate the goodwill of the Australian public in response to the drought, at the end of the day we can’t survive on charity and don’t want to. We simply want to get on with business and make sure that we can continue to provide Australians with fresh dairy produce” said Mr Tessmann.

“That the statement by Coles implies that they want to play a leading role in making this happen is not just a good thing, but a great thing” said Mr Tessmann.

For more information contact QDO 0424 416 317

In the News: Milk price increased.

The increases come months after Queensland dairy farmer Joe Bradley told Today that, without an added 10 cents per litre of milk bought, future generations of Australians will not have fresh milk available.

“I’m getting less for my milk now than I was in 2000. We had 26 dairy farmers in my local community here, I’m the only silly one left and I believe 10c a litre would go a long way to helping us survive,” he said at the time.

“That’s all we’re asking for - I don’t think it’s too much. Give us a fair go, help us survive, not only us, but to ensure that your kids and your grandkids will be able to drink milk in the future, because the way it’s going, it won’t happen – I can guarantee you, it won’t happen.”

The price increases come months after Queensland dairy farmer Joe Bradley first told Today that the extra 10c a litre was necessary to help save Australian milk. (9news)

Mr Bradley this morning applauded the move, but said he hopes the “interim measure” put in place by Coles does not mean it will be revoked in coming months.

“That’s what they did last time. This time, this has to be a permanent solution, the extra money on the milk has to stay there,” he said.

“It’s not just milk this has to go across the whole dairy cabinet because every farmer in Australia at the moment is absolutely struggling. Milk is getting that short in this country, by next year Australia is going to become a net importer of dairy products.”

The farmer from Dayboro, north-west of Brisbane, also told Today that the added 10 cents could equate to thousands of dollars to help struggling farmers.

Mr Bradley today applauded the move, but said a Royal Commission is now needed into the dairy industry to ensure fresh milk is available in Australia in the future. (9news)

“For the ordinary family who might buy 10 litres of milk a week, that’ll be an extra dollar that you’ll be paying,” he said.

“For a farmer like myself, I produce 150,000 litres of milk a month, that’s an extra $150,0900 a month to help me feed my cows. This is huge, but every farmer needs to get it and every farmer needs to get that to help them feed their cows.”

The announcement is a back-flip on the supermarkets’ decision last month to keep its milk at $1-a-litre milk.

At the time Federal Agricultural Minister David Littleproud savaged the move, dubbing it a “$1 milk disaster.”

"Publicity stunts like (Coles) asking shoppers to donate at the counter to help struggling farmers are just a smokescreen to hide the fact they pay bugger all for milk," Mr Littleproud said.

Mr Bradley said the number of dairy farmers who are struggling or who have left their properties out of devastation is enough cause for the government to investigate. (9news)

"The farmers wouldn't need donations from the public if Coles and Aldi paid fair prices."

Dairy Connect, an advocacy group for dairy industry players, echoed that Mr Littleproud’s comments, urging consumers to force Coles and Aldi to change their ways.

Woolworths stopped selling its home-brand milk at $1 a litre in February, upping the price by 10 cents with the extra money to go back to farmers.

Mr Bradley also called on the Federal government to consider a Royal Commission into the dairy industry, saying the effect supermarket giants have had on Australian farmers has been devastating.

“What we’ve gone through the last six to 12 months - the amount of farmers who have had to just walk away from their farms because of what the supermarkets have done to us - we can’t let this happen ever again,” he told Today.

“We need once and all a final solution to make sure that everyone in this chain gets a fair go.

“We don’t want handouts, we don’t want gifts, we just want a fair go, a fair price for our milk so that yours and mine and all the next generations of people can have fresh milk to drink.

“The term that we use is that the dairy industry is in crisis and the dairy industry is in severe crisis at the moment.”

Source: Nine News - TODAY Show

In the News: Dollar milk ends as Coles, Aldi fold to pressure with pledge to raise prices by 10 cents a litre.

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PHOTO: Peter Garrett said the milk price rise helps people see a future beyond the next few months. (ABC Rural: Lydia Burton)

Major retailers Coles and Aldi have increased the price of cheap milk in a bid to help struggling dairy farmers.

Key points:

  • Both Coles and Aldi will match Woolworths and charge an extra 10 cents per litre for their home brand milk

  • The supermarkets say the measures are temporary, to aid struggling dairy farmers

  • However, both retailers said industry reforms were needed to address the problems facing dairy producers

Dairy suppliers are celebrating the victory in the war against $1-a-litre milk, with the major retailers increasing the price of their private label milk.

They have railed against cheap milk, which they argue has devalued their product since it was first introduced in 2011.

The supermarkets have now commitment to return an extra 10 cents per litre direct to dairy farmers, mirroring a commitment from Woolworths last month.

Chair of dairy cooperative Norco, Greg McNamara, one of two processors with contracts with Coles, said some of Coles' 10 cent increase may already be factored into a previous lift.

"We started that process with Coles around two months ago, around trying to put a price increase through, so every customer took a price increase around 6.5 cents," he said.

"Coles at that point chose not to raise the price and wear that themselves, which is quite kind of them really in one respect, and now they've come out and said we're going to change it and we're actually going to raise the price."

Farmers said while milk is still cheaper today compared to in 2010, they hoped the change had "broken the back" of dollar milk which they claim has contributed to crippling the industry.

Agriculture Minister David Littleproud recently called on Australian shoppers to boycott Aldi and Coles for as long as the supermarkets continued to offer cheap milk.

Sustained pressure

Coles and Aldi both issued statements on Tuesday night announcing the price of two and three-litre home brand milk at their stores would increase by 10 cents per litre from March 20.

 Coles described the price increase as an interim measure, and Aldi said the price hike was a short-term solution.

Both supermarkets said the proceeds would be passed on to dairy farmers.

"This victory is a good start in the war against $1-a-litre milk," Mr Littleproud said.

"I welcome this news and I encourage supermarkets and processors to spread this right across the dairy range."

 Coles chief executive Steven Cain said drought had compounded many of the difficult issues Australian dairy farmers are facing.

Announcing the price increase, Mr Cain said the retailer was "continuing to explore long-term solutions with government and industry stakeholders" to help the dairy industry.

"However, we know that many dairy farmers cannot wait for structural reform to be delivered so we are moving to provide relief right now," Mr Cain said.

In a written statement, Aldi Australia spokesman Oliver Bongardt said the German retailer would work with dairy processors to support the long-term viability of the dairy industry.

"Our decision to increase fresh milk prices has been reached in recognition of the significant issues currently impacting the dairy industry and the fact that broader government-led policy reform is unlikely to occur in the short term," Mr Bongardt said.

Norco, which supplies Coles with milk for its home brand milk product with another processor, Saputo, had recently informed its suppliers of a 6.5 cents-a-litre increase in farmgate price from April 1 for three months.

The Norco management team is meeting today to discuss Coles' 10 cent increase and to work through the details to determine what increase its suppliers would receive.

Forget dollar a litre milk. The dairy crisis has more to do with global trade wars than it does with cheap supermarket milk.

Chair Greg McNamara said Coles had to be congratulated for finally deciding to lift prices of its home brand milk.

"I think the biggest challenge for the industry is we should never go through this again, where we actually hold pricing at these levels and the consumer is actually taken to paying a reasonable price increase in one hit," he said.

"It should be incremental just like wage increases."

Norco supplies Coles with 70 million litres of milk per year, about a third of its business, for its supermarket home brand milk.

Suppliers note long fight

The price increase comes as Australian dairy farmers are expected to produce the lowest level of milk since the mid-1990s.

A growing number of dairy farmers are exiting the industry, saying it costs more to produce the milk than they are paid for it.

Drought, a downturn in crucial export markets, and high feed, water and electricity prices have made it difficult for farmers to compete since a global downturn in mid-2016.

Dairy farmer Vanessa Todd, a Coles supplier based in Bodalla in NSW, said it had been a long time coming.

"I think it's fantastic, it's what farmers have been pushing for for a long time. It's soul destroying to see your product sold at such a low price," she said.

"I'm not sure what the increase in price will mean to me, but it's farmers that have to keep the pressure on processors to make sure this will be passed on in full to farmers.

Whether the change had come through lobbying from politicians, consumers or processors, Ms Todd said the change has been led by farmers.

"I think it's continuous lobbying from a small group of dairy farmers who have been knocking on doors, working behind the scenes and saying 'you cannot keep undervaluing our product'," she said.

"There needs to be huge structural change to the Australian dairy industry.

"If we don't see a change in the structure in the way dairy farmers are paid we will continue to see milk prices fall and dairy farmers leaving the industry."

Southern Queensland dairy farmer Peter Garrett said today was a historic day.

"It's the first step of what needs to be an industry wide reform towards a more sustainable price," he said.

"Ten cents isn't going to do it long term, but it's certainly a huge shot in the arm for the dairy industry.

"We're not saying it's the absolute saviour of the industry, but it is certainly the saviour of farms here and now as it helps people see a future beyond the next two or three months and continue farming hopefully."

Mr Garrett said it will help cover some of his increased feed costs due to the drought.

"I think it [the price increase] takes out about a third of my daily costs of feeding my cows," he said.

"I'm not sure it gets us back in the black yet, but it certainly gets our head well above the water and gives us a bit of breathing room so we can step back and make considered decisions going forward."

Queensland farms nearly halve

Queensland Dairy Farmers vice-president Matthew Trace said the news was absolutely fantastic and a game changer for the northern dairy industry, which focuses on fresh milk.

"It's a bit surreal … when you've been fighting such a tough battle for so long and so many people, including some farmers, said 'you won't beat them, you can't beat them, they're stronger than the government'," he said.

"Yet I think we've shown by working with consumers we have been able to defeat the retailers. It just shows what power consumers have."

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PHOTO: Mary Valley farmer and Queensland Dairy Farmers vice-president Matthew Trace says the price rise "gives us a chance to farm". (ABC Rural: Jennifer Nichols)

He said he hoped the change will convince farmers to stick with the industry after the number of Queensland dairy farms dropped from 700 to 360 in recent years.

"It's been absolutely devastating in Queensland. We've virtually lost one in two dairy farms and unfortunately these price rises now can't bring them back," he said.

Feed prices have also spiralled because of the drought, and it is hoped the price rise will make a big difference.

"It's different from farm to farm, but this money will put some farmers back in the black and being able to pay their bills," Mr Trace said.

"I've heard some talk of up to 20 cents a litre that their costs have increased.

"It's not as though everyone's going to be out there making money and going 'fantastic', but what it does do is it gives us a chance to farm."

Source: ABC News. With additional reporting by Joshua Becker/Bega, Lydia Burton/Toowoomba, Kim Honan/Lismore and Jennifer Nichols/Sunshine Coast

Changes to the Environmental Protection (Great Barrier Reef Protection Measures) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2019 – a synopsis.

QDO Project Officer, Tony Mills undertook the arduous task of reviewing the recently announced changes to the Environmental Protection Bill and how it will or may impact the dairy industry within reef catchments. Tony’s synopsis is below:

The focus remains on improving the water quality of the Great Barrier Reef which is one of the Queensland Governments six priorities under Our Future State: Advancing Queensland’s Priorities. The key focus is practices that will limit runoff from land-based agricultural and industrial land uses.

This bill covers the following acts:

  • Biodiversity Act 2004

  • Chemical Usage (Agricultural & Veterinary) Control Act 1988

  • Environmental Protection Act 1994 (EPA – 1994)

  • Fisheries Act 1994

  • Nature Conservation Act 1992

  • Vegetation Management Act 1999

 The acts with amendments made relevant to agricultural production are:

  • Chemical Usage (Agricultural & Veterinary) Control Act 1988

  • Environmental Protection Act 1994

  • Vegetation Management Act 1999

  • This bill will update and amend several key words and definitions relevant to each act and has been broadened to include all key agricultural sectors which includes Bananas, horticulture, grains, sugarcane and grazing (Beef);

  • Research and advice sought into the bill amendments has confirmed that the Dairy Industry continues to be considered a low risk and low impact agricultural environmentally relevant activity (Agriculture ERA);

  • Our vigilance towards self-regulation remains a cornerstone to minimising the impact as well as continually working towards applying innovation and good management decision in those on-farm practices that influence nutrient runoff and sediment load.