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Australia meets Unilever standards on sustainable dairy sourcing

Australian dairy sector compliant with Unilever’s Sustainable Agriculture Code.

Australia has become the first country to ensure its entire dairy sector is compliant with Unilever’s Sustainable Agriculture Code.

All dairy production accredited by Dairy Australia – which represents the country’s entire dairy sector – now meets the demands of the code, which measures 11 key indicators: soil health and fertility, soil loss, nutrients, pest management, biodiversity, energy, water, social and human capital, local economy and animal welfare.

As a result, all Australian-produced milk is now recognised as 100% sustainably sourced.

Dirk Jan de With, Procurement VP Ingredients & Sustainability at Unilever, said: “We have partnered with Dairy Australia over the past 18 months to benchmark the Australian dairy industry’s production standards against our Sustainable Agriculture Code standards. We were encouraged to find that Australia’s dairy industry is compliant with the Sustainable Agriculture Code.”

Dairy products from South East Asia & Australasia account for about 5% of Unilever’s total dairy supply.

Ian Halliday, Managing Director of Dairy Australia, says: “We are absolutely delighted that ours is the first dairy industry in the world to be recognised as meeting Unilever’s sustainability standards. We intend to show continuous improvement towards improving sustainable dairy farming.”

As a next step, to drive even higher standards of sustainable production, Dairy Australia, together with suppliers Murray Goulburn, Fonterra, and others have agreed to implement a pioneering sector-wide project to focus on soil use, biodiversity and waste management. This partnership for improvement will involve about 100 farms across Australia’s eight dairy regions.

Unilever also continues to work to drive sustainability initiatives with other suppliers around the world. As part of its Sustainable Living Plan, it aims to source 100% of all dairy produce used sustainably by 2020. At the end of 2012, it had achieved 31% of its goal, up from 10% in 2011.

By taking a long-term view on sustainability, Unilever hopes to ensure the security of its supply of raw materials, to reduce costs and to protect scare resources.

Case studies

Caring for calves after birth

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Max and Barb Jelbart rear about 400 calves a year on their dairy farm near Leongatha in Gippsland, Victoria. Over the year they have developed systems to improve calf health, minimise scours and avoid unnecessary use of antibiotics.

Calving pattern in a variable climate

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Changing his herds calving pattern is one option being explored by Kane Smolenaars to help manage the variable climate on his dairy farm near Airly in the Macalister Irrigation District.

Our experiences with 3 in 2 milking – Grant and Melanie Rogers

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Grant and Melanie Rogers farm in southern Tasmania. Grant is a vet and Melanie managed large herds in New Zealand. This is their story of their experiences with 3 in 2 milking. They describe the pros and cons of 3 in 2 milking.

(Images courtesy of Dairy Australia.)

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