A singular focus on the health and happiness of cows has continued to pay off for Strathalbyn, SA, farmer Brett Fiebig.
Mr Fiebig was listed in the top five per cent of producers for the second consecutive year in the 2021 Australian Milk Quality Awards.
The awards recognise the farms with the highest milk quality in Australia based on bulk milk cell count (BMCC).
For just under five years, Mr Fiebig has been leasing 97 hectares of dry land, milking 140 cows all year round.
Before this, he share-farmed with his parents at Mt Gambier, SA, for six years.
"After starting my own dairy farming business in 2017 - and leasing the owners' cows - I have since bred up my own numbers of registered animals to the point where I no longer need to lease cows," he said.
"This has resulted in a younger herd of cows, which has led to a higher quality cell count."
Being listed for a second year in the Milk Quality Awards still came as a surprise to Mr Fiebig, who admits it wasn't something he was thinking about.
"Last year being listed in the awards was an honour and being listed again is nice recognition for the continual focus I've had on the health of my cows this year too," he said.
Mr Fiebig said there was no big secret to producing high-quality milk but credits it to keeping a close eye on each cow's health and wellbeing, maintaining thorough hygiene practices, and having a passion for the dairy industry.
This year's award is extra special with half belonging to my partner Steph for all her hard work.- Brett Fiebig
Mr Fiebig - with support from his partner Steph - predominantly does all the milking, allowing an extra level of vigilance. In turn, the herd has minimal mastitis issues with the payoff being a quality cell count.
He attributes the quality cell count to factors including low-stress stock handling by not using dogs, eliminating water around udders when milking, and maintaining the milking plant to a high standard.
"My top three priorities are to keep a close eye on cows milking out correctly, teat spraying and keeping the cows well fed," he said.
"I believe the low bulk milk cell count is very much related to the health and happiness of the animals, and my approach is pretty simple - 'happy cows equals quality milk'.
"This year's award is extra special with half belonging to my partner Steph for all her hard work."
Want to read more stories like this?
Sign up below to receive our e-newsletter delivered fresh to your email in-box twice a week.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.