Local dairies named cream of the crop
By Daisy Baker,
August 07, 2019
Several North-East dairy farmers have been acknowledged in Dairy Australia’s 2019 Milk Quality Awards, which recognise farmers who produce the nation’s best milk based on bulk milk cell count (BMCC).
Gold Awards recognise the ‘top 100’ dairy farmers nationwide for milk quality, while Silver Awards are given to the top five per cent of producers.
West Scottsdale farmer Matthew Goss and Herrick famer Ronnie Fenton were named in the top 100.
Len Goss of West Scottsdale, Gary Oliver of Winnaleah and Martin Nailer of Ringarooma were also recognised in the top five per cent for their milk quality.
Matthew Goss is not one for accolades but he said it is nice to have some recognition.
“Milk quality is something I’m always conscious of. It’s nice to get recognition for being in the top 100 but at the end of the day it doesn’t make any difference to the bottom line,” he said.
“There’s no monetary advantage for having a low cell count but the advantage of having a low cell count is that if you do get issues, it’s a reflection of animal health so if you’ve got issues with your cattle or an increase in your cell count it’s a bit easier to pin point.”
Dairy farmers are usually paid premium quality if their cell count is below 250,000.
Mr Goss said his average of the last 12 months would have been between 50-60,000.
Having a low cell count can help prevent herd issues such as mastitis.
He said every few months a sample from each cow is sent off to TasHerd who can provide a report showing the individual cell count for each cow.
Mr Goss and his wife Jackie run the family dairy farm, milking around 150 Jersey cows.
“Because of the scale of our farm I can do all the milking myself, which probably helps the cell count,” he said.
“I know all the cows so if there’s something up with them, I can generally tell.
“Just like people, if they’re usually a ball of energy and one day they’re a bit quiet and withdrawn, there’s probably something happening.”
Dairy Australia managing director Dr David Nation congratulated the 2019 winners.
“You can’t achieve an award like this without focus across the year on milk quality,” Dr Nation said.
“For many farmers, it reflects dedication over many years to get to this level.
“These awards recognise the quality and safety of Australian milk that all farmers should take pride in.”
Data for the Milk Quality Awards is supplied to Dairy Australia by dairy companies across the country.
To be eligible, dairy farms must have data for a minimum of nine months in a calendar year. Monthly averages are then used to calculate the annual average BMCC for each farm.