Keeping it simple pays off for SA dairyfarmer

A singular focus on the health and happiness of cows has paid off for Strathalbyn farmer Brett Fiebig, who has just been been listed in the top five per cent of producers in the 2020 Australian Milk Quality Awards. The awards recognise the farms with the highest milk quality in Australia based on bulk milk cell count (BMCC). 

For just under four years, Brett has been leasing 240 acres of dry land milking between 100 to 130 cows all year round. Prior to this he was sharefarming with his parents in Mt Gambier for six years.  

“After starting my own dairy farming business in 2017  - and leasing the owners cows - I have since bred up my own numbers of registered animals to the point where I no longer need to lease cows,” Brett explained.  

“This has resulted in a younger herd of cows which has led to a higher quality cell count”. 

The listing in the 2020 Milk Quality Awards still came as a surprise to Brett, who admits it wasn’t something he was particularly aiming for.  “Being listed in the awards is an honour, and makes me realise that the focus I’ve had on the health of my cows does pay in the end,” he said.  

Brett said there was no ‘big secret’ to producing high quality milk but credits it to keeping a close eye on each cow’s health and wellbeing, maintaining thorough hygiene practices, and having a passion for the dairy industry. 

Brett is a sole operator, doing all the milking himself which allows him an extra level of vigilance on his cows. In turn, his herd has minimal mastitis issues with the payoff being a quality cell count.  

He attributes the quality cell count to factors including low stress stock handling by not using dogs, eliminating water around udders when milking, and maintaining the milking plant to a high standard. “My top three priorities are to keep a close eye on cows milking out correctly, teat spraying and keeping the cows well fed,” Brett explains.  

“I believe the low bulk milk cell count is very much related to the health and happiness of the animals, and my approach is pretty simple - “happy cows equals quality milk”.’  Dairy farmers can access a range of resources to improve milk quality and prevent mastitis from our Mastitis page.  

More information on Cups On Cups Off courses can be found by contacting Dairy Australia’s Regional Development Programs in each dairy region. 

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