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TAS Country : November 25th 2010
8 Tasmanian Country Friday, November 26, 2010 News STRATEGIC: Dairy Australia's Ian Halliday and DairyTas chairman Bob Bush. Picture: KAROLIN MacGREGOR New plan to pump up production KAROLIN MacGREGOR 'We are the jewel in the crown of the national dairy industry in Tasmania' ---DAIRYTAS CHIEF MARK SMITH MILK production in Tasmania could be boosted to 860 million litres a year under the new five-year Tasmanian Dairy Indus- try Strategic Plan. Launched last Friday at Smithton, the strategic plan maps out a course of action for the state's dairy industry from 2011-15. The plan has been formed through a reference group representing all sectors of the industry and was officially announced by Primary Industries minister Bryan Green. This is the third dairy industry strategic plan. The initial plan was formu- lated in 2002, be- fore a second plan in 2006. DairyTas executive officer Mark Smith said a lot had changed in the Tasman- ian dairy indus- try since the first plan was introduced. ''We are the jewel in the crown of the national dairy industry in Tasmania,'' he said. Milk production across the state is currently about 670 million litres a year. Mr Smith said that to keep the industry expanding, management strategies to cope with market volatility and efficient pro- cessing capacity within the state were vital. Ian Halliday, from Dairy Australia, said Tasmania consistently out-performed the mainland when it came to the dairy industry. ''The strategic plan epitomises what DairyTas and Dairy Australia is all about,'' he said. ''Tasmania almost achieved the very ambitious production targets it set itself in 2002, it's a terrific outcome and I think everyone should be congratulated.'' With global demand for dairy products forecast to keep increasing, the future for the state's dairy industry looks bright. Since 2006, the number of dairy farms in Tasmania has dropped from 490 to 440. However, the number of dairy cows in the state has increased from 135,000 to 143,000 and the average herd size has jumped from 275 to 326 cows. Milk production per cow has also been boosted from 4250 litres a year to 4725. Tasmania now produces 7.5 per cent of the country's milk. Some of the key areas of focus in the new strategic plan include im- proving the repu- tation and image of the state's dairy in- dustry, developing more profitable bu- sinesses across the supply chain, continuing to expand the industry, adoption of research and inno- vation and working closely with Govern- ment. ''This plan brings together all the key areas to take the industry forward and ensure its growth,'' Mr Halliday said. Fonterra's general manager of supply for Australia and New Zealand, Bruce Donnison, was also a guest speaker at the plan launch and said Tasmania had significant advantages when it came to dairying. ''Low-cost production of milk is a key and Tasmania has a natural advantage over other areas,'' he said. ''Maintaining a low-cost efficient production platform is the key to our business.'' Import permit a must for fox and dog scats KAROLIN MacGREGOR PERMITS will now be required to bring any dog or fox scats into Tasmania under new regulations introduced by the Depart- ment of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment this week. Tasmania's chief veterinary officer Rod Andrewartha said the new permit system had been introduced to ensure Tasmanian retained its hydatid-free status. He said there was little reason to import scats into the state other than for trial work or detector dog training. Fox scats have been brought into the state to help train scat-detection dogs for the Fox Eradication Program. However, Mr Andrewartha said these imports had not put at risk the state's hydatid-free status. ''The research and detector dog training by the Fox Eradication Program has been carried out with good biosecurity prac- tices and has not compromised Tas- mania's freedom from hydatid disease,'' he said. Hydatid is present in mainland states and fox or dog scats have the potential to carry hydatid eggs. Mr Andrewartha said the new permit system would not apply to dog faeces in cages or vehicles from dogs being im- ported into the state. He said all dogs coming into the state have to be treated for hydatid tapeworms before being transported, so those ani- mals' faeces did not pose a risk. Tasmania is the only hydatid-free state in the country after a successful eradi- cation program was introduced by the community and the State Government in the mid 1960s. Hydatid is a parasite that can infect various animals and humans. The small hydatid tapeworm lives in the intestine of dogs and foxes. 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