About raw milk products


A little boy the same age as our own Alex is dead after drinking raw milk sold as “bath milk”. I’ve reposted this piece about raw milk as some background. Please, don’t mess with raw milk. Do what we do on our dairy farm and make sure you only drink pasteurised milk. UPDATE: Actually, the best place to read about the Mountain View Organic bath milk tragedy is at Dr David Tribe’s blog: http://gmopundit.blogspot.com.au/2014/12/an-avoidable-child-death-from.html

Originally posted on The Milk Maid Marian:

Farmstead cheese

Photographer: Michael Robinson, pic courtesy of Cheese Slices

Did you know there is such a thing as “Real Milk Activism”? These activists believe the only real milk is unpasteurised milk.

Currently, it is illegal in Australia to sell unpasteurised “raw” milk but Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) is conducting a review that could (although it is unlikely, I suspect) see it hit the shelves.

Milk has caused very little illness in Australia over the past decade. According to the FSANZ paper A Risk Profile of Dairy Products in Australia:

Microbiological survey data for pasteurised dairy products in Australia show a very low incidence of hazards of public health significance in these products. Overseas data demonstrates that pathogens are frequently isolated from raw milk and raw milk products. Pathogens were detected in raw milk in 85% of 126 surveys identified in the literature.

In surveys of raw milk cheese pathogens were rarely detected. Pathogens are found…

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Filed under Farm

Singing in the rain: a pony introduces herself to the herd

Meet our newest family member, Dixie the divine.

DixieYesterday, the cows were in the house paddock for the first time since Dixie came to live with us and they were intrigued to meet her, lining up by the horse paddock and bobbing their heads in astonishment at the strange “brown cow that whinnies”.

The stars of the show line up to meet the new Queen

The stars of the show line up to meet the new Queen

It was a misty, drizzly morning and while the cows and Dixie were separated by perhaps 50 metres of paddock, the effect was magnetic. Dixie whinnied. The ladies mooed. And so on for a good half hour. Continue reading


Filed under Family and parenting

Skeletons in the dairy case


We know we are not perfect, we realise we must do better and we are proud of how far we have come.

Our cows live better lives than they did when I was a girl. Careful breeding has reduced the incidence of mastitis and lameness, while a new understanding of bovine nutrition has reduced the risk of calving trouble and helped us insulate the cows from the impact of both drought and flood. Our first generation of naturally polled (hornless) calves has just been born.

Even so, dairy farmers will one day earn a prime-time feature for all the wrong reasons. It could be someone doing the right thing that looks like the wrong thing: Continue reading


Filed under Animal Health and Welfare, Community, Environment, Farm, Research

Meet the dairy farmers aspiring to the DA board room

You’re about to meet Lisa Dwyer and Michael Spitse. In weeks, one of them will be among the most powerful dairy farmers in Australia, occupying a spot on the Dairy Australia board. Continue reading


Filed under Community

In the height of Sprummer

Sprummer's fading good looks

Sprummer’s fading good looks

The season’s first stuttering “skeet, sekeet, sekeee” of a cicada this afternoon confirms it all: Sprummer has peaked.

This is the time of year that makes callow dryland dairy farmers like me uneasy. Continue reading

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Filed under Climate

Isn’t doing the right thing good enough?

I am itching to watch an industry sustainability promo that stands apart courtesy of three missing words: “billion”, “economy” and “jobs”. Continue reading


Filed under Community, Environment, Farm

From family farm to corporate farming in Australia

I am not Farmer of the Year, just Ms Average Australian Dairy Farmer, with around 260 milkers doing a respectable 7000 litres each on 500 rain-fed acres. But the ground is shifting beneath my feet. Although family farms make up 98% of Australian dairy right now, the big corporates are moving in and moving people like me on. Continue reading


Filed under Community, Farm