Safe products and ingredients

WA farmers Vicki and Luke Fitzpatrick recorded some of the best milk quality in Australia.

Industry recognition for herd health

Safe dairy products start with high quality milk. The Australian Milk Quality Awards recognise farms that have achieved the best milk quality in Australia based on annual average bulk milk cell count (BMCC) across Australia’s milk processing companies.

Farmers achieving a low cell count are also financially rewarded with a premium for their milk and with significant cost savings on mastitis treatments and labour.

The popular annual awards are based on BMCC data supplied by dairy companies. Monthly averages are then used to calculate the annual average BMCC for each farm - the winners are the 5% of farms with the lowest BMCC results. Each company then sends out the winners’ plaques directly to their suppliers.

The top 100 farmers with the lowest BMCC levels are also recognised. This year, Vicki and Luke Fitzpatrick at Waroona, in Western Australia, were recognised in the top 100. The couple has adopted several changes to improve herd health and profitability. They have changed calving patterns and also reduced milking times by making changes to their dairy, including installing new milking cups and liners which have proved a great success.

Dairy Australia Program Development Manager, Erika Oakes, said the on-farm management of milk quality is key to ensuring the competitiveness of Australian dairy in the marketplace.

 “For example, analysis shows that a farmer milking 300 cows who lowers their BMCC from 300,000 to 200,000 stands to save $35,700 per year.”

The Australia Milk Quality Awards help to promote the need for continuous improvement in achieving high quality milk at the farm level.