Forbes dairy farmers Cassandra and Andrew Kath achieved a career high when a cow they bred was named the Supreme Champion dairy female at the Sydney Royal Show last month.

“Andrew and I appreciate that some people can show for years and not achieve something like this,” Cassandra said. “So yes, it was very exciting.”

Elite showing is something the couple enjoy – it was, in fact, how they met when Cassandra was an agricultural student and Andrew a dairy farmer from Toowoomba.

They met at the Ekka Royal Show in Brisbane and, after they married, bought his family farm before moving to a larger property at Forbes where they have built a 400-strong mixed herd.

And therein lies their dilemma.

Cassandra and Andrew both enjoy elite showing, but are firmly focussed on growing their dairy business. They say it is too hard to do both.

“It is a struggle between the stud show world and the commercial reality of running a dairy farm,” Cassandra said.

“There is a lot of work that goes into elite showing.

“It is not like she (their award-winning Kathleigh Gun Grace) was brought out of the paddock last week and taken to the Sydney show.

“There is the preparing, the clipping and showing for the week.”

And, with trying to run a successful dairy farm business and raise their three young children aged 8, 10 and 12, they looked for a solution.

The answer was two-fold.

While Cassandra and Andrew bred and identified Kathleigh Gun Grace, she said it was their business partners Brad and Jessica Gavenlock, from Tallygaroopna in Victoria, who did all the work in preparing her for showing.

While the couple work seven days a week on their dairy farm from 4.30am until often 7pm, they now employ a full-time staff member and three part-timers have joined their team.

“We have had to learn to be employers,” Cassandra said. “But part of us moving from a smaller farm in Queensland to a larger one in NSW was to develop the business.”

She said it also gave them the ability to take their children to football training or dance classes.

Kathleigh Gun Grace took the title in Sydney by just one point after coming close last year. She was also winning supreme intermediate champion in 2016 and took out best Jersey udder three years in a row.

“In a business sense winning the title means different things to different people. It adds value to her and her progeny, but in the day-to-day scheme of things, it doesn’t add more to our milk price.”

As for the next generation of Kaths, Cassandra said all three of their children were starting to get interested in showing.

“The Kaths have been breeding jersey cows for 100 years,” Cassandra said. “The next generation may well keep that tradition going.”

Photo caption: Supreme Champion dairy female at the Sydney Royal Show, Kathleigh Gun Grace, pictured with Casandra Kath, Penny, Jessica and Brad Gavenlock and Andrew Kath who shared the joy in winning top ribbon. Image via The Land News.


Lion Dairy & Drinks’ new Crush Mate Bottles are finalists in the 2018 Packaging & Processing Innovation and Design Awards (PIDA).

The PIDA Awards, which recognise those making a significant difference in their field across Australia and New Zealand, are the exclusive feeder program for the prestigious WorldStar Packaging Awards.

Crush Mate Bottles are a finalist in both the 2018 Sustainable Packaging Design Award and also the 2018 Design Innovation of the Year Award (Beverage Category). The Sustainable Packaging Design Award is designed to recognise companies that have developed innovative packaging or processing solutions that incorporates sustainability considerations.

The new 2L bottles, which is the most commonly purchased milk bottle size – are easy to crush and recycle and come with an easy grip that make them really easy to pour.

The lightweight bottles offer better pouring control thanks to the design’s larger hand size that suits everyone.

The benefits are also that they are easy to crush as the design allows them to be easily compressed. The Crush Mate bottles have been designed for more effective recycling which allows customers and consumers four times as many bottles in the recycle bin.

The Crush Mate Bottles are now used across our Dairy Farmers, Pura and Masters 2L white and flavoured milk products. If you want to see these very clever and sustainable Bottles in action, watch the video here


Lion Dairy & Drinks’ Morwell dairy manufacturing site celebrates two decades of production, with this milestone also marking 20 years of active involvement with the local community.

The Morwell site was officially opened on 31 March 1998 and has grown to produce 75,000 tonnes of product each year, manufacturing over 90 milk based products including some of Australia’s most loved yoghurt and dairy dessert brands. The site had an official opening by the then Victorian Premier, Jeff Kennett.

Today, the Morwell site manufactures stirred yoghurt, set yoghurt and dairy desserts from around 65 million litres of milk sourced from Victorian farms. The yoghurt is sold throughout Australia and also exported to South East Asia.

The products made at the site are for some of Australia’s most loved brands:

  • Yoghurt – Yoplait, Farmers Union, Dairy Farmers, Fruche and Petit Miam
  • Dairy desserts – Yogo and Divine Classic
  • Sour Cream – Dairy Farmers

In addition to growing the production line, the Morwell site has become an integral part of the local community, employing 160 people as well as supporting community initiatives that are important to locals.

The Morwell Schools Breakfast Program is one such initiative, set up to provide students with nutritious breakfasts, in a safe and nurturing environment at the start of each school day.

The Lion Dairy & Drinks Morwell site has been supporting this program since 2013 by donating Yoplait, Yoplait Petit Miam and Pura Milk product for local students. Additionally, employees of the site volunteer each week at the breakfasts for the duration of the school term to offer hands on assistance.

“We are extremely proud to be celebrating 20 years manufacturing at our site in Morwell and it’s great to know that 28 team members have been with us since that first production run in 1998,” said Tim Fleay, Lion Dairy & Drinks Yoghurt Supply Chain Director.

“Our site is really proud of what we have achieved during this time and in particular it’s fantastic for us to be involved with the Morwell Schools Breakfast Program, and a privilege to give back to the community we’ve called home for 20 years.

“Through our involvement with the program the number of breakfasts served has grown from around 140 per week to 270, and our employees love getting out there and lending a hand to this great initiative.”

The manufacturing site has also offered support to the local TAFE and Federation University, donating machinery no longer required by the site for educational purposes.


It is an exciting time for us at Lion Dairy & Drinks as in the next few weeks we are launching a number of new dairy products.

“Nutrition is always convenient and convenience isn’t always healthy so we are tackling this with an array of new product launches across multiple fresh dairy categories,” Nicola Richardson, Sales Director, Lion Dairy & Drinks said.

This includes:

  • Moving Masters into the convenience of a resealable on the go bottle in both 300ml and 750ml
  • Expanding 500ml FUIC with an exciting new FUIC Edge “Protein and Fibre” offering for everyday wellness
  • Expanding Dare in a frozen format for enjoyment and pleasure
  • Expanding Dairy Farmers Thick & Creamy across both 150g and 600g formats with interesting new gourmet offerings

Nicola said we are taking a holistic approach to building awareness and engagement with our brands and products and our approach is to invest in a complete media mix covering free-to-air and subscription TV, radio and outdoor advertising.

“It is about reminding consumers at the point-of-purchase through a combination of sponsorships, sampling, digital advertising and social media activity to build word of mouth,” she said.

“Digital is a key focus for us and our advertising strategy is adaptable based on the audience for each brand and the message that we are looking to share. As you’ll have seen from our recently launched Dare TVC’s ‘Hipster Invasion’ and ‘Drink it Through’ we’re not afraid to be creative in the execution of our ideas in the dairy category, and this is something that really resonates with our consumers.”

Nicola said at Lion Dairy & Drinks we are focused on reviewing and reshaping our dairy portfolio to deliver nutritionally better choices to our consumers, whilst also focusing on key innovation platforms that deliver to the market trends we are seeing shape the grocery channel and the dairy case.

“It’s an exciting time for the sector and there are many opportunities to develop now product variants and packaging options that support our customers in leading healthy lives.”

She said the dairy category was performing strongly in grocery and supermarket, with dairy contributing 61% share of value and 57% of value growth to the chilled department (which has grown +2.9% vs YA in value ).

“We’re seeing particularly strong performance in the white milk category” Nicola said.

Nicola said dairy products with a convenience offering such as iced coffee or liquid breakfast will continue to be popular as consumers increasingly desire an ‘on the go’ option to accommodate their busy schedules.

Products that appeal to health-conscious consumers are also continuing to be popular, she said, most relevant within the dairy category through unflavoured and flavoured Greek or Greek-style yoghurts that are perceived by customers to be purer and less processed than other category options.

“Interestingly, we have also seen a consumer shift towards full fat and full cream dairy as awareness has grown around the importance of dairy and good fats in our diets. Personalisation and choice will continue to be a huge trend globally as shoppers are looking to choose their own range, leading to rising popularity of single product variants rather than multi-pack options,” Nicola said.

“There is a shift away from products that contain high sugar content and little functional benefit as consumers are becoming increasingly savvy with ingredients, and making product choices based on health.

“There is a conflict between consumer’s desire for choice in fresh products in the chiller, superior taste linked with fresh vs. UHT and the retail pressure on waste and markdowns.

“We are working closely with retail partners to balance choice, availability and profit return on space. At store level, navigating the dairy case remains an ongoing challenge. We are working with retail partners to clearly define categories and segments, and enhance navigation cues to help direct shoppers to the dairy case.”

Asked how consumers can best be educated about a dairy case offer, Nicola said a smooth consumer journey was essential, ensuring ease of navigation so that customers can quickly and easily find what they want.

“Additionally, with the increased focus on ‘natural’ choices, consumers want to be reassured that chilled products in the dairy case are fresh, to increase their likelihood of engaging with the offer.”

Of the unique opportunities the dairy case market offers, Nicola says this department of the store attracts high foot traffic and, largely, contains nutritionally beneficial products. If the correct dairy case layout is considered there is the opportunity for consumers to cross-shop within this section and purchase dairy products that fulfil different requirements of their lifestyle.

As an example, she says where possible locating yoghurt, cheese and milk beverages at front of store can be a valuable way to position these products as a healthier snack alternative for consumers and encourage purchase. Additionally, ensuring appropriate signage and navigation cues for the dairy case is vital to increase consumer engagement with the dairy case.

Nicola said key global consumer trends that will have an impact on the dairy case this year include:

  • Simple, ‘natural’, foods: consumers are increasingly seeking products they view as fresh, natural and better for them. Refrigerated dairy will play a role here as shoppers continue to seek products that need to be refrigerated, and as such are less likely to contain excessive preservatives.
  • Time scarcity: consumers have increasingly hectic lifestyles, driving on-the-go snacking and breakfast products. Impulse formats that support this will be increasingly relevant to Australian consumers.
  • Enhancement and excitement: consumers’ desire for sensorial experiences through new, exotic and indulgent flavours is likely to continue throughout 2018.

“Additionally, changing societal trends will also play a role in the dairy sector, for example smaller pack size consumption may be driven by the increase in smaller households that make regular shopping trips throughout the week,’ she said.

“Health concerns and the pursuit of wellbeing are changing the way consumers shop food and beverages, with shoppers actively seeking out products that they perceive to have extra benefits to their health and wellbeing, and investing in these.

“Dairy products contain innate goodness which is of benefit to these consumers, so our challenge is to ensure they are well educated on this topic – something Lion Dairy & Drinks has begun work on through the Milk Loves You Back extended labels, informing consumes of the eight essential nutrients contained within milk.

“Portion size is becoming increasingly important to consumers as in many cases it drives permissibility for daily consumption of certain categories (such as flavoured milk or iced coffee) and enables control over consumption of sugar and fat which we understand are key consumer priorities.”

Nicola said we will continue to see a blurring of categories driven by new product trends and will need to redefine category definitions and flow of products to evolve with these trends.

“Trends where we have seen incremental growth such as health-focused functional beverages and snacking formats will require designated sections within the dairy case to support their growth. It’s also likely that designated areas with products that cater for the specific needs of children will represent an extra sales opportunity.”

This interview originally appeared in Retail World


Australia’s diverse climate means that – regardless of the season – drought risk cannot be ignored. As we enter a new season it may be timely to consider revisiting your drought preparation plan, and ensure that you have given thought to the key challenges faced during periods of drought:

  • Use of available water
  • Forages to grow
  • Feed purchases
  • Number and class of animals to be fed or culled
  • Level of feeding
  • Herd replacement and reinstatement.

VIC Drought Support
The Victorian Government is providing $27 million to support drought affected communities in Victoria.

The support measures complement the support already available to farmers, small businesses, families and communities impacted by drought. You can read more here.

The Bureau of Meteorology reports that it has been a very dry start to the year across much of mainland southeastern Australia.

Areas of rainfall deficiency are present at this 3-month period across large areas of northwestern Victoria into southeastern South Australia and some central and western parts of New South Wales, with some areas having less than 25 mm of rainfall over the last three months. Whilst these deficiencies are at a climatologically drier time of the year for this region, the Bureau of Meteorology will monitor the situation closely for any further deficiencies as the southern cropping season begins.

You can read more here.

The Lion Dairy Pride Farmer Personal Support Program (PSP)
Beyond impacting your business, periods of drought can cause tremendous strain on your mental health and stress levels.

Lion is committed to helping all our suppliers navigate through these difficult times, and have established the PSP initiative to assist our dairy farmer suppliers through the challenges and demands of work and personal life. This professional counselling service offers confidential short-term support for a variety of work related and personal problems.

Issues PSP can help with include:

  • Interpersonal conflict and tension
  • Work-related stress
  • Changes in your work environment
  • Harassment and grievances
  • Relationship or family matters
  • Personal and emotional stress
  • Grief and bereavement
  • Career issues
  • Mental health concerns
  • Personal crisis or trauma

Phone or in-person counselling sessions can be made by calling 1300 687 327 during office hours (8 am – 6 pm Monday to Friday). You can access counselling assistance 24 hours a day, and all discussions are completely confidential.

Other resources that may be valuable during tough times include:

To learn more about how Lion can support you through drought, and what government support is available to you, please talk to your Farm Services team member.


Vescio v Randall – two AFLW stars are reminding young Australian women across the country that ‘milk loves you back’, as they go head to head in a ‘battle of the smoothies’.

As both players prepare to battle it out this Saturday night at Norwood Oval, the stakes will be just as high off the field, as fans decide who has the best smoothie recipe – giving one lucky supporter the chance to win a year’s supply of milk (as a $1000 grocery store voucher).

Pura milk has been much loved milk brand in South Australia for many decades and Adelaide Crows Football Club, while high protein milk brand, The Complete Dairy, was recently announced as the Official Recovery Partner of the Carlton Football Club’s AFL and AFLW programs.

With eight essential nutrients found naturally in milk from Pura and The Complete Dairy, it’s an easy way to help maintain healthy, active bodies.

Today the players are sharing their smoothie secrets, with Vescio highlighting the taste of The Complete Dairy, and Randall backing the flavour of Pura.

“At a time when nourishing your body is so critical, many young women and teen girls are missing out on the nutrients milk can provide,” the Crow’s Chelsea Randall said.

“That is why I have chosen to use Pura in my recipe and want to raise awareness for the Milk Loves You Back campaign.

Naturally, with 8 essential nutrients, Pura milk helps me look after my body and contains calcium which is great for my bones*, so I can be at my best on the field week after week,” Chelsea said.

Carlton forward Darcy Vescio says: “The Complete Dairy milk is an ideal way for me to get the protein I need for muscle growth and repair.*

“In smoothies or on cereal, it provides a variety of nutrients to support my training and game recovery.

“As a young woman, I also know I’m at a critical age where strengthening my bones is very important.”

The players are inviting fans to vote for their favourite smoothie recipe for their chance to win a year’s supply of Pura or The Complete Dairy milk (in the form of a $1000 grocery store voucher). Go to and vote for the protein recovery smoothie you think is best – Darcy Vescio’s The Complete Dairy smoothie, or Chelsea Randall’s Pura smoothie – and fill in your details to enter.

Competition starts 7am 03/03/2018 AEDT. Ends 19/03/2018 AEDT. Open to AU residents, 14 yrs and over. u/18 must have parent/guardian consent. Max one entry per person. Promoter: LD&D Australia Pty Ltd. Full T&Cs: automation-3508.pdf. NSW Permit No. LTPS/18/22356.

Pura and The Complete Dairy are owned and made in Australia by Lion Dairy & Drinks.

Darcy’s The Complete Dairy Smoothie
1 cup The Complete Dairy Milk
1 banana
½ cup Farmers Union Greek Style Natural Yogurt
1 small hand full of almonds
1 tbspn peanut butter

Chelsea’s Pura Smoothie
1 cup Pura Light Start Milk
1 banana
½ mango
½ cup Farmer’s Union Greek Style Yogurt with Coconut
1 hand full raspberries

*when consumed as part of a balanced diet.
1 ABS 2016. 4364.0.55.012 – Australian Health Survey: Consumption of Food Groups from the Australian Dietary Guidelines, 2011
– 2012 (
2 Dairy Australia, Healthy Bones Action Week, Why Strong Bones – Teens (
3Thomas B Bishop J. Manual of Dietetic Practice (4th ed). Blackwell Publishing: Carlton; 2007
4Mobasheri A, Mendes AF. Physiology and Pathophysiology of Musculoskeletal Aging. Frontiers Journal. 2012;3 (260): 39-61
5National Health and Medical Research Council. Eat for health: Australian Dietary Guidelines. Canberra: Australian Government; 2013


Our Dairy Farmers brand is proud to announce a major two-year sponsorship of the Sydney Royal Easter Show which kicks off at the 2018 event (23 March – 3 April, 2018). Dairy Farmers’ sponsorship is a show of support for the dairy industry and our farmers, but is also a great opportunity to present our dairy brands to almost one million event visitors, and many millions more through media coverage of our activities at the Show.

The sponsorship focuses on promoting our Dairy Farmers brand and will include naming rights to Working Dairy and the Milking Barn to provide show visitors with a hands-on farm experience, plus naming rights to the Working Dairy & Cattle Awards.

Smoothies will be served at Lion Dairy & Drinks’ retail stand courtesy of Dairy Farmers and The Complete Dairy, with visitors using ‘Bike & Blend’ modified exercise bikes to power their blenders.

Also included within our sponsorship is a radio promotion with WSFM’s Amanda and Jonesy in concert with the Show, offering 16 lucky listeners a year’s supply of Dairy Farmers milk in the form of a Woolworths gift card. Of course, no Royal Show visit would be complete without giveaways. Dairy Farmers will be giving away branded squeezable stress cows and Woolworths redemption vouchers of Buy 1 get 1 FREE (Buy 1 Dairy Farmers Lite White, New or Skim 2L and get Dairy Farmers Original 2L FREE) to be redeemed at Woolworths stores.

As part of our partnership, Lion Dairy & Drinks has access to discounted tickets to the Show. If you or your family are interested in attending, please click on the image above and use the code: DFA18SRES20 for a discounted rate.

You can find our stand in the Woolworths Dome. See you at the Show!


A new Tasmanian Heritage campaign aims to encourage consumers to buy specialty cheese for more than special occasions. The award-winning Tasmanian Heritage cheese – which is crafted from Tasmanian milk and sourced from the state’s renowned environment – will be at the forefront of The Pure Taste from Tasmania’ campaign.

Cameron Bruce, General Manager Cheese at Lion Dairy & Drinks, said in coming months The Pure Taste from Tasmania’ campaign would be featured in print, digital, outdoor advertising and on social media to appeal to millions of fans.

“On social media alone we expect to reach more than 1.4 million fans to share the message that specialty cheese is not just for a special occasion, it is for any occasion,” Cameron said.

The campaign will also focus on the popular South Cape fetta.

South Cape is the branded market leader in fetta and has a key role to play in driving sustainable category value and accelerated growth.

“We’re encouraging meal preparers looking for some creative inspiration to think of South Cape Fetta as the perfect accompaniment to break the mundane,” Cameron said.

The South Cape campaign will also be supported with an online video expected to reach 2.4 million this year and in magazines where the brand will be aligned with cooking features in mass-reach titles such as the Australian Women’s Weekly and Woman’s Day.

“Half of shoppers purchase specialty cheese between one and three times a year believing it is for formal entertaining occasions only,” Cameron said.

So Tasmanian Heritage, the market leader in Brie, launched ‘The Pure Taste from Tasmania’ to show it is the ideal brand for all occasions.

South Cape will also help drive maximum reach across Australia with its Fetta campaign – Liberate Your Plate®

South Cape is the branded market leader in Fetta and has a key role to play in driving sustainable category value and accelerated growth.

We’re encouraging meal preparers who are stuck in a rut when it comes to meal creations, to perceive South Cape Fetta as the perfect accompaniment to break the mundane!


In South Australia’s Lower Murray River region, the Bartlett family own a dairy farm managed with an environmental and sustainability focus.
Over the years, systems have been installed to recycle water used in the dairy shed and water run-off from their flood irrigation waterings.

They have also installed solar power and a variable speed drive to reduce energy usage. Due to the unreliability of their power supply, the family has purchased a generator to back up power in the dairy shed during blackouts, but this has now become a cost that needs to be managed.

Adding to this is the next generation who want to work on the farm. For them to come home the family needs to reduce the farm’s operational costs and expenses so that an additional employee can be paid.

Fundamental to this cost cutting is the family’s commitment to its environmental and sustainability goals, and to make way for their children to return to the farm. The Bartletts decided to look at energy efficiency equipment to help achieve this, which is why they replaced the dairy shed lighting with energy efficient LEDs and installed a heat recovery system.

Lion Dairy Pride Landcare Grant helps reduce energy

After seeing an email about the Lion Dairy Pride Landcare Grants, Kate Bartlett decided to apply for a grant to fund the installation cost of the heat recovery system and dairy shed lighting replacement.

Once informed of the success of their grant application, work started in the first half of 2017 with the purchase of locally sourced LEDs, installed by the Bartletts, followed by the installation of the heat recovery system in the shed.

“We had looked at both [lighting and heat recovery unit] over the past three years and should not have left it this long to do something about it,” Kate said.

Kate added the process of installing and upgrading was hassle free but suggested getting more quotes and full installation requirements prior to ordering.

“We did our homework but the cost of plumbing the heat recovery unit into the vat and current hot water service was slightly higher than expected,” she added.

The results

Installing the new system and lighting in June 2017, Kate said they have reduced their energy use, but it is still early to estimate the impact on their power bills.

“The new solar power system was installed in the same billing period so it’s hard to work out what impact the lighting and heat recovery unit had as individual installations.”

“We estimate prior to the heat system our hot water costs were likely 10 percent higher than other South Australian businesses. Going forward we will look more closely at the actual hot water system we are using, the existing one is over 10 years old and we believe there could be more efficient ones currently on the market,” Kate said.

The heat recovery system captures heat that had been wasted to warm the water to the temperature needed to clean and sterilise the milking equipment.

In addition, the Bartletts have made further savings by using their Lion Dairy Pride Landcare Grant to replace their 500-watt lights with 150-watt LEDs. Not only a Kwh saving, but they were surprised at the brightness in the new lights ‘lit up the dairy like a Christmas tree’.

“Any infrastructure that lowers the Kwh used is a win-win, especially in the dairy shed,” Kate said.

The Lion Dairy Pride Landcare Grants Program is producing exceptional, positive financial and environmental results for the farms selected to receive support. You can read more here


King Island Dairy Discovery Ash Brie 175g was last night named Champion White Mould Cheese at the prestigious 2018 Australian Grand Dairy Awards.

Discovery Ash Brie is a rich, creamy Brie with a creative twist. Hand rolled in coconut ash, it has a striking appearance and delicate smokiness and the judging panel of industry experts agreed by naming it Champion.

These prestigious Awards are the Grand Final of all dairy competitions in Australia, recognising the country’s finest dairy products.

Only manufacturers of gold medal-winning products that are made from Australian milk and have already been through a rigorous judging process at Australian qualifying competitions are invited to enter the prestigious annual Australian Grand Dairy Awards.

Cameron Bruce, the General Manager, Cheese, for Lion Dairy & Drinks (Lion) said King Island Dairy had been producing award winning and world class specialty cheese and dairy products since the early 1900s.

“And we’re proud to say that we still call this tiny island in the heart of Bass Strait our home,” he said.

King Island Dairy was born more than 100 years ago, when settlers discovered that King Island’s abundant rainfall, mineral-rich soil and constant spray of sea salt created an unusually rich and sweet milk.  Originally producing butter and other dairy products, we began manufacturing specialty cheese in 1972 and the rest is history.

“Our King Island Dairy manufacturing site produces our full range of specialty cheese products, creating more than 1,500 tonnes of delicious cheese each year,” Cameron said.

“Our dairy employs around 80 people and this number increases to around 100 during peak periods – and is the beating heart of the King Island community. We also welcome tens of thousands of customers annually to our on-site King Island Dairy cheese store, which is open seven days a week.

“Almost every drop of milk produced on the island makes its way into the 14 million litres we use annually to create our white, blue, washed, cheddar and Black Label cheeses.”