“Grassroots to Greatness” – Lunch with Rugby League Supercoach Wayne Bennett

Immediately following the formalities of the AGM over 150 DFMC members and people from across the Darling Downs came together for the Grassroots to Greatness lunch with Queensland Rugby League great Wayne Bennett.  As some may be aware, Bega sponsor the Dolphin NRL team and so we were able to use connections to secure Wayne for the event and partner with the Toowoomba Metropolitan Rotary Club to raise funds for the Rotary District Drought Appeal’s Community Support Card – a unique ‘credit card’ concept delivered to farmers struggling in drought conditions via independent rural financial counsellors.  These cards help to make sure that the funds raised locally (across southern Queensland) are kept in local communities.

Wayne Bennett spoke on his early years developing his career in coaching, the value of leadership and the importance of creating a strong team environment and culture to ensure the highest level of outcomes.

The event generated significant interest on the Downs with three television channels turning up to cover the event.

2023 AGM farm tour

Over 30 DFMC farmers and staff took part in the DFMC South-East Queensland Farm Tour to the University of Queensland (UQ) Gatton Research Dairy and JP Bourke & Co (Gladfield, north of Warwick).  DFMC staff have been working closely with the team at UQ, so it was an ideal opportunity with the AGM being in Toowoomba to call in and let farmers see the work being undertaken by researchers on crop rotations, forage sorghum silage, Proportion of Ungrazed Pasture (PUP) grazing, dairy beef along with Farm Business Resilience Planning (available to Queensland farmers).  Farm manager Dusty took the group through the dairy, calf housing and commodity storage facilities, and confirmed that all farmers are welcome at the research dairy any time (Northern Manager Damien Tessmann has contact details available for the team).

The Bourke family (previous DFMC members) then opened their farm up to allow members to see their two compost sheds in use with their 600 cows on a 50-stand rotary dairy.  Shane Bourke talked through the operations of the farm and the journey in embracing technology (such as collars).

DFMC Board changes

Following 12 years on the DFMC board, including 6 as chair, Andrew Burnett has decided to stand down to devote more time to his family and farm.  At the recent AGM in Toowoomba Andrew was presented with a gift on behalf of all members and a couple of attendees took the opportunity to publicly thank Andrew for his time on the board and as chair.  Des Trevor, a member who drove to Toowoomba for the event from Far North Queensland with his wife Cheryl, rose to address attendees thanking Andrew for his time on the board representing farmers.  Deputy chair Trevor Middlebrook also addressed the AGM, sharing Des’ sentiments and empathising with Andrew’s reasons having stood down himself after an earlier stint on the board with similar motivations.

At a brief board meeting, held immediately after each AGM, Trevor Middlebrook was elected as chair.  As Trevor was deputy chair the directors voted Andrew Wilson from Victoria to fill the role.

As Andrew is no longer a director and no other members nominated for the position of Director for Region 2, South-East Queensland, Ross McInnes has offered to fill the casual vacancy.  Ross has vast experience “beyond the farmgate” with significant stints on the Sub-Tropical Dairy and QDO boards.

Independent director John Maher has unfortunately also had to resign his position.  John sits on several other boards and has been asked to take on some significant extra responsibilities that make it too difficult to contribute to the DFMC board as well.  The board will nominate Michael Scales, who has significant commercial experience including in the agribusiness sector.  Michael attended the AGM as an observer and members will now have information and ballot instructions for return on January 10, 2024.

2023 Milk Quality Awards

Congratulations to Kevin & Sharron Collins (plus Sean back home milking) from Ravenshoe on the Atherton Tablelands who won DFMC’s 2023 Ian Stewart National Milk Quality Award. The Collins’ had an average Bulk Milk Cell Count of 86 with averaged components of 4.21% Fat and 3.33 Protein over 1.7 million litres for the year.

The Collins were of course also the FNQ region winner. These results put them in the top 5% of farms nationally for milk quality. Dairy Australia Director Paul Roderick was on hand to present them with a Silver Award from DA. Kevin reckons the key to their milk quality success is commitment from family. Job well done Team Collins! We’re proud to have you as members of the DFMC Family. Runners-up again in FNQ was our recently re-elected Director James Geraghty & wife Sari.

Congratulations to the Jarvis Family from Bringenbrong (right on the Victorian & NSW border) who are our Victorian winners and the Ian Stewart National Milk Quality Award Runners Up.  Don and the family supplied just over 1 million litres with a Bulk Milk Cell Count of just 94 with averaged components of 4.08% Fat and 3.31% Protein across the year.

Runners-up were the David & Jennifer Croft from Nullaware East – interestingly both the Jarvis & Croft operations are organic.

A family name synonymous with quality over many years took out the South-East Queensland Award again this year for the umpteenth time – David, Cheryl, Clinton & Mel Vonhoff are sticklers for sending high quality milk from their farm at Brymaroo – last season the farm sent 1,322,972 litres at 4.49 Fat & 3.48 Protein with a cell count of 114 and average TPC of 5.

Runners up in SE Qld were the Crouch Family from Mt Mee who were also last year’s winners.

Back-to-back wins in SA for David & Kathy Leuenberger who farm at Waitpinga on the Fleurieu Peninsula. Another name no stranger to quality awards the Leuenbergers last season sent 289,966 litres at a 4.03% Fat & 3.12% Protein test, with a Cell count of 117 and average TPC of 2.

Miss ES Bowman was the NSW winner after several years as runner up. Sharefarmer Grant Maher was on hand at the Singleton Christmas lunch to be congratulated by new Chairman Trevor Middlebrook. Last year Grant sent 328,468 litres at a 4.08 Fat & 3.42 protein test with a cell count of 131 and average TPC of 4.

Runner up in NSW was the Michael Cole farm managed by Karen Tieck at Jerrara.