COVID-19 on Dairy Farms
The information provided here is in summary form so you are able to quickly access the most relevant information for your needs.
More information is available on Dairy Australia’s website.
Preparation & planning
If you don’t already have a plan to prevent your farm being affected by COVID-19, you should prepare one now. The plan should include:
- Know your legal responsibilities to provide a safe work place, and how you will do this.
- How you will reduce the likelihood of COVID-19 being brought onto your farm and where are the areas on farm that are shared contact touch points? Information about preventing the spread is available on the Dairy Australia website.
- How you will manage milking if one or more of your milking staff test positive for COVID-19 – do you have other milkers you can contact/can you split your current staff into shifts so as to limit risk? Remember that a positive finding can impact other workers on your farm and may affect other on farm tasks such as harvesting.
- Retrain your staff on how to reduce the likelihood of infection, and how to help ensure the workplace remains safe. There is a video available about preventing the spread of COVID-19 during milking on the Dairy Australia website. This could be used during staff training sessions.
- Bringing new workers into a business - the importance of isolating prior to joining the existing workforce.
- A plan should include limiting service providers/visitors and minimising exposure to vulnerable cohorts on farm. Key principles to control the risk of COVID-19 - it is strongly recommended that farmers, service providers and others in higher risk age groups, plus those with underlying high-risk health conditions, do not engage in non-essential service provision on-farm - setting up your workplace to protect vulnerable people.
If an event occurs:
You should understand these points now, before they may be needed:
- How to conduct an environmental clean before introducing new staff to the workplace (keeping in mind your responsibility to provide a safe workplace), including what chemicals to use. A document explaining how to clean effectively is attached, together with a really useful checklist for disinfecting the dairy. Remember also shared surfaces outside of the dairy – eg, who uses the quad bike/tractor/other equipment? Who opens and closes gates? Also – don’t forget lunchrooms, bathrooms etc. Think in terms of who touches what from the farm gate entry point.
- Changes that may be required from your supply company or tanker driver to continue to pick up your milk (contact your supply company here for information)
From someones who's been there:
For first hand information from a farmer who has been impacted, listen to the Dairy Australia podcast
from someon'es who's been directly affected by COVID-19.
COVID-19 is here now and will be with us for some time. It can be expected that it will continue to impact workplaces, including dairy farms, but we know that Tasmanian dairy farmers are resilient, and support each other well in times of crisis. Please know that TDIA are also keeping up to date with all developments, and are working closely with other Departments and Dairy Australia to best support you during this time.
Dairy farmers remain important to our community and economy, and work is ongoing in the background to ensure the best information and resources are being gathered to assist with any concerns you may have.