DFSV acknowledges that there will be challenges in the aftermath of the fires in the south-west of Victoria.
Your safety and welfare should be your first priority. Animal welfare is also critical and, for dairy farmers, this may require animals to be moved temporarily for milking. Where there are existing electronic tags in ears, you should update the NLIS database to reflect the movement. Alternatively, contact Agriculture Victoria for assistance. If you have had to make arrangements for milking away from your licenced premises, you should also notify DFSV as soon as practicable.
It is also important to be aware of the impact of this event on food safety. Under duress, cell counts in milk will rise and cows will be more prone to developing mastitis. Plus, the impact of power outages or infrastructure damage may affect your ability to cool milk within required parameters.
In these circumstances, the company you supply will determine whether they will accept your milk for processing. The acceptance of raw milk will be according to existing specifications as documented in each manufacturer’s food safety programs.
In situations where milk is not acceptable it will need to be discarded. The options for the disposal of milk without causing pollution, smell or damage to pasture are described on the Agriculture Victoria website.
Dairy Food Safety Victoria is liaising closely with other agencies responding to the situation and is available to provide practical advice to licensees during this difficult time.
For advice on relief and recovery from fires visit the VicEmergency website. For anyone suffering personal hardship or distress call the VicEmergency hotline on 1800 226 226 to find out about the assistance available.
Farmers in the affected areas with urgent animal welfare issues should call the Agriculture Victoria Relief and Recovery Team on 5336 6721.
For NLIS enquiries or assistance, contact Agriculture Victoria on 1800 678 779.
Farmers that need fodder, water, generators or equipment please call UDV/VFF on 1300 882 833.