Care for all animals

A boy feeding baby cow

Training and tools to improve animal health and welfare

Dairy Australia’s Countdown Mastitis Toolkit App is not only improving cow health and milk quality but also helping farmers save thousands of dollars every year.

The app has had more than 3000 downloads since it was first released in September 2013. It was designed in consultation with dairy farmers, advisors and vets and is based on the Countdown mastitis control program and associated resources.

A new set of easy-to-use visual guides has been created by Dairy Australia’s Countdown team to help farmers minimise mastitis in the dairy. The Countdown Shed Guides feature key aspects of the Countdown Farm Guidelines and clearly illustrate the steps required to prevent, monitor and treat mastitis through a pictorial format. The new approach to mastitis control should also help reduce the use of antibiotics for mastitis treatment.

InCalf advisors trained by Dairy Australia through the 10-month post graduate Repro Right course have a central role in assisting farmers improve herd reproductive performance through the application of a consistent, integrated and scientific approach. They will also assist the dairy industry to achieve the goal to phase out routine calving induction. Graduates from the first two courses work in businesses servicing 1800 farms nationally. This program has a target for the Repro Right advisory network to reach 30% of the national herd by 2017.

Thirty new trainers attained their Certificate IV TAE (Training and Education) in 2014/15. This additional capability is now enabling delivery of industry accredited training courses such as “Cups On Cups Off” and “Euthanasia of Livestock” in all dairy regions of Australia. Extension and support materials for lameness courses “Healthy Hooves” have been revised for new workshops to be conducted by Regional Development Programs in 2016.

The Australian Animal Welfare Standards for Cattle (recently agreed by State and Territory governments) will be essential legal requirements that must be met by all dairy farmers. Australian government regulations help ensure farmers deliver an acceptable standard of care for their animals.

The standards will take time to implement in State legislation, but they are based on the former Codes of Practice for Cattle and are consistent with the National Dairy Industry Animal Welfare Strategy.

Codes of practice for the welfare of animals (including for cattle and land transport) have been reviewed with input from industry and the wider community to produce Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines.

Standards are legislated minimum requirements and are enforceable while Guidelines are advisory and non-legislative.