Social distancing, regular sanitation protects Victorian dairy from COVID-19

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.”