Monday, 11 September 2017 15:20

Milking It: Synthetic milk; Repacholi vs Webcke; The Big Pitch

Written by  Stephen Cooke

Executive director of the Global Dairy Platform, Donald Moore, recently told an Australian audience that the biggest future threat to the world dairy industry could be synthetic milk.

 Although synthetic milk may conjure thoughts of vegan companies engaging scientists to overthrow the farming sector, it wouldn’t surprise us if the world’s largest dairy companies have already investigated the concept.

As an example, Kodak was once a world leader in cameras and printing. One of its employees actually invented the first digital camera.

However, the company thought it would be a fad, and did not want to encourage a process that would eliminate one of its biggest sources of revenue, printing.

Kodak sold its technology to what would become its competitors. It filed for bankruptcy in 2012.

Astutue dairy companies will embrace the technology in a bid to safeguard their future. Where this may leave farmers is an entirely different question.

Watch out, Norman

Dairy Australia’s Norman Repacholi sat next to a fellow speaker at the Queensland Dairyfarmers’ Organisation conference, unaware he was the only person in the room not to recognise the Queensland legend in their midst.

Unbeknownst to Norm, the WorkSafe ambassador was none other than rugby league legend (and Queensland woolgrower) Shane Webcke, one of the toughest players to represent his state and country.

When the self-deprecating Webcke was introduced to speak and subsequently told Norman had no idea who he was, he replied: “He must be a Victorian.”

Webcke gave an emotional talk on how his father was killed while working on a farm, and the continual impact on his family.

Big spenders

Moon Lake Investments, owners of Van Diemen’s Land farms in Tasmania, spruiked its decision to upgrade the rotary dairy on one of its farms.

Moon Lake Managing Director Sean Shwe said the $2.7 million upgrade was part of his company’s commitment to invest $100 million over five years on its Tasmanian operations.

“The company spent $6.3m in capital expenditure in 2016, with a further $6.6million in capital committed in 2017,” Mr Shwe said.

By our calculations, they’ll need to spend another $87.1 million in the following three years to meet their commitment.

That’s a fair whack of cash - they might want to get a wriggle on.

The pitch

Fair to say the farming community contains its fair share of geniuses and unheralded engineers.

Problems that need to be solved on farm normally result in a creative solution.

Well now the brains trust behind the Australian Dairy Conference will give 10 farmers the chance to pitch their brilliant ideas at the ADC in Melbourne next February.

A shortlist of up to 10 finalists will be given five minutes to present their concept to a judging panel and conference delegates.

They’ll need to demonstrate why their idea is the number one thing farmers should introduce when they get back to the farm.

Like all great ideas, we’re guessing simplicity will be the key.

Entries close October 2. Head to to register.

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