Head: CowTime cracks a century

1 November 2006

CowTime – the project that makes milking easier – racked up a major milestone this month (1 November), delivering its 100th Shed Shake-up in just three years.

Thousands of dairy farmers have gone home from Shed Shake-ups to make simple changes that made milking easier and more productive. The benefits relate mainly to time saved, reduced stress and improved lifestyle. Based on a ‘field day with a difference’ the Shed Shake-up offers dairy farmers the opportunity for lively discussion with other farmers and technical experts plus low-cost simple ideas that work on-farm.

It’s been a very popular format, with part of the appeal being some time away from the farm and the informal setting. Each year, the Shed Shake-up covers a different theme:

· Go with the Flow (2004) focussed on improving cow flow through the dairy;

· Pits ‘n’ People (2005) focussed on improving work routines and reducing the impact of milking on the mind and body; and

· Watts ‘n’ Your Dairy (2006) focussed on saving energy in the dairy.

Tyran Jones, Gippsland dairy farmer and Chair of the GippsDairy Board, said CowTime has a reputation for providing practical tips that can reduce the labour required to milk cows.

"Shed Shake-ups provide farmers with the opportunity to get up to date with the latest milking techniques, talk to other farmers and to take home some ideas to try for themselves," said Tyran.

"CowTime is a good example of our Dairy Service Levy delivering research results in a practical and relevant format. By applying CowTime ideas on-farm we can benefit directly from our levy investment," he said.

Project leader, Dr Rob Greenall, said it was fitting that the 100th Shed Shake-up was the pilot for next year’s series Shorter Milking Secrets which focuses on ways to spend less time in the dairy without working harder or compromising milk quality.

The pilot gave Gippsland farmers their first glance of the new milking techniques developed from the Shorter Milking Times research project.

"We are confident it will be a winner because this new research will have such impact on so many farms. CowTimers know from experience that they’ll go home with ideas that make a big difference on farm, without having to fork out big money. And right now, that’s just what dairy farmers need!"

CowTime will roll out Shorter Milking Secrets nationally in the first half of next year.

For more information visit CowTime’s website (www.cowtime.com.au) or phone 03 5624 2221. CowTime is supported by Dairy Australia through the Dairy Service Levy, DPI&F-Q, DPI-VIC and the University of Melbourne.

ENDS word count: 430

Media contact: Lee-Ann Monks ph (07) 5450 0946 mob 0419 349 244 email: lmonks@monkscom.com.au

Background information for media: CowTime is a national extension project for the Australian dairy industry, aimed at helping farmers make milking easier. CowTime is proudly supported by Dairy Australia, QDPI&F, DPI Vic, and Melbourne University.

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