Northern Victorian suppliers Bernice and Scott Lumsden are taking no chances with COVID-19 on their busy 600-cow farm at Leitchville.
“Autumn is perhaps now our busiest time of year and we really couldn’t afford to have anyone of our team contract the virus,” said Bernice.
The Lumsdens were quick to react, enforcing measures to protect their workers and maintain food safety standards.
“We practised social distancing pretty much from the get-go and have kept adopting the recommended practices as they are announced, Bernice said. “Having a rotary dairy means that milkers are not in contact during milking, which reduces food safety risks.”
“We regularly check if anyone is showing cold or flu symptoms.”
To prevent possible contamination the Lumsdens have conducted weekly staff meetings outside of the staffroom and implemented most of the COVID-19 protocols suggested on the Dairy Australia website.
“We’ve set up hand sanitizing points using our own mix of methylated spirits and glycerine, with glove stations in the vat room,” Bernice said.
“We also sanitize the outlets on the vat and door handles each day.”
A staff member who has watched the Dairy Australia webinar and studied the recommended protocols online has been assigned to ensuring that the correct practices are followed.
“Everyone is aware of the tanker times and we give the vat room a wide berth generally while the milk is collected,” said Bernice.
“Scott and one of our workers share a tractor to do our feed mixers so it has to be disinfected between users as well.”
Employees are also encouraged to carry a copy of their pay slip with them in the event they have to prove they are part of an essential service when travelling to or between farm properties.
Like a lot of northern Victorian suppliers, the Lumsdens are not only busy with regular farm duties but also operating at full speed getting pastures and crops in the ground for the season ahead.
“We’ve got most of our inputs organised which is good, but our biggest concern is losing any labour to the virus at this time of the year, be it ourselves or an employee.”
Numurkah supplier Jim Dealy has welcomed the changes to the DFMC loans eligibility, which now give members the opportunity to borrow funds for everyday business proposals, rather than just adverse circumstances.
Jim and his wife Barbara, along with sons Ryan and Greg, will milk nearly 1200 cows on their 3500 acres at Numurkah this season.
The Dealys have used DFMC loans over the last two years to strategically purchase both hay and temporary water.
“We purchased 500 megs of water in March 2019 that set our pastures up well,” Jim said. “When the rain kick started in May we were well advanced.”
“Then in spring when water was too expensive, we locked in our hay supplies to see us through the summer.”
Jim says the DMFC loans were essential in planning for the future.
“Both times we were able to use the DFMC loans to lock in a price to make sure we had what we needed squared away.
“It’s put us in a pretty good position this year and now we hope to benefit from the high milk prices for the rest of the season.”
Like many farmers, the Dealys have become frustrated at how long banks can take to gather information and assess a loan proposal.
“Farmers know a good deal when they see it – we’ve got numbers running around in our head all the time,“ Jim said.
“So when an opportunity presents to lock in an input at the right price, it’s good to know we can make an application and get funds quickly.
“It feels like we’re putting a case to people who actually understand what we’re talking about.”
Always a glass half-full sort of farmer, Jim is confident that the dairy industry can ride out the coronavirus crisis in reasonable shape.
“Farmers are pretty fortunate in that we can go about our business pretty much as usual and there is still demand for what we are producing – and we still get paid for it!”
While Jim acknowledges the potential for prices to retract in the coming year, he is still optimistic about dairying in the Goulburn Valley.
“An average season and a bit more allocation would see us through,” he reckons. “But if we could get to $6.50, it would still be pretty handy.”
https://dfmc.org.au/wp-content/uploads/Jim-Greg-Dealy-scaled-e1588659866135.jpg4991203adminhttps://dfmc.org.au/wp-content/uploads/DFMC_Logo.pngadmin2020-05-05 12:10:222020-05-07 11:37:45DFMC loans help farmers plan for future