Cowaramup dairy farm in cream of the crop

Zach RelphCountryman
Cowaramup diary farmers Rodney and Nicole May with their son Justin, 20.
Camera IconCowaramup diary farmers Rodney and Nicole May with their son Justin, 20. Credit: Western Diary

A South West dairy farming family has been named as one of Australia’s top suppliers of quality milk.

The Mays, of Cowaramup, were among five WA dairies announced in Dairy Australia’s Milk Quality Awards’ top 100 milk farmers last Wednesday.

The award is based on annual average bulk milk cell count records. The bulk milk cell count is an indirect measure of subclinical mastitis — inflammation of a cow’s mammary gland — across a whole herd.

Rodney May, a dairy farmer of 55 years, and wife Nicole run the family’s dairy enterprise across 437ha about 10km north of Margaret River.

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Their 20-year-old son Justin also plays a major role, monitoring for mastitis during daily milkings.

Producing more than two million litres per year with a 230-strong herd, Mrs May acknowledged the Harvey WA College of Agriculture graduate’s attention to detail as a catalyst to their success.

“We are all very proud of what Justin has achieved,” she said.

He’s very thorough when it comes to milking and keeps a close eye on our cows.

Luke and Vicki Fitzpatrick, of Waroona, Busselton farmers Ian and Ruth McGregor, the Italiano family, of Benger, and Harrison family, of Rosa Glen, were also featured in the awards top-100.

Dairy Australia managing director David Nation said this year’s winners placed a strong focus on year-round production of high-quality milk.

“For many farmers, it reflects dedication over many years to get to this level,” he said.

“These awards recognise the quality and safety of Australian milk that all farmers should take pride in.”

Dairy Australia analysis shows that a farmer milking 300 cows who lowers their operation’s bulk milk cell count from 300,000 to 200,000 would be financially better off by about $35,700 annually.

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