When it comes to producing the nation’s best quality milk, South Australia’s dairy farmers have thrown down the gauntlet to their counterparts from New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria.
For the second year running, the nation’s top dairy farm hailed from the state, with Craig and Gayle Martin taking out Dairy Farmers Milk Co-operative ’s (DFMC) National Milk Quality Award for 2008.
Long-time DFMC suppliers, Craig and Gayle Martin, share farm with Brett Bugg and Sandy McNamara in the pristine dairy territory of Myponga, South Australia. They run a herd of 250 cows on more than 280 hectares (700 acres), producing almost two million litres of premium quality milk each year.
Announced as part of DFMC’s Annual General Meeting and National Convention held in Sydney yesterday, the winners’ trophies were renamed this year to honour the late Ian Stewart who made an enormous contribution to dairying on Queensland’s Atherton Tablelands, where the awards originated.
DFMC Chairman Ian Zandstra said receiving an Ian Stewart Memorial Milk Quality Award represented a major achievement for suppliers.
"The annual quality awards give well deserved recognition to suppliers for their hard work and rigorous attention to detail,” Mr Zandstra said.
“The winners have worked tirelessly over the past 12 months to produce milk of exceptionally high quality through what proved to be another testing season. I’m encouraged to see the bar being set higher and higher each year, as suppliers respond positively to DFMC’s milk quality payment incentives.
“Suppliers should feel very proud of their achievements, which have helped us maintain our reputation for producing the nation’s best quality milk and dairy products.”
To win a coveted quality award, suppliers must excel against a stringent set of criteria, which includes high protein and butterfat content in milk, which makes it thicker and creamier. By producing exceptionally high quality milk, many of these suppliers earn a premium milk price.
Regional winners of the Ian Stewart Memorial National Quality Awards 2008:
David and Marj Daley of Millaa Millaa, Far North Queensland
Martin and Rowena, and Darryn, Raelene, Mikayla and Brodie Crouch of Mt Mee, South East Queensland
Noel and Fay, and Grant, Kylie, Alec and Alicia Wieck of Brymaroo, South East Queensland
Stephen and Janine Siebenhausen of Pittsworth, South East Queensland
David and Alison McKay of Bowraville and Michael, Jenny and Ben Hurrell of Comboyne, New South Wales
Brian and Debbie Parker of Denman, New South Wales
Alwyn and Jeanette, and Tony and David Vollmer of Woodville, New South Wales
John and Emmy Keys of Albion Park, New South Wales
Pat and Michelle Quinn and sons of Cohuna, Victoria
Craig and Gayle Martin of Myponga, South Australia
Gary and Judy McNamara Dairying of Colac, Victoria
DFMC aggregates milk on behalf of more than 2,000 suppliers across Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia which it then supplies to Australia’s largest branded dairy business, National Foods.