On The Land

15 March, 2024

Dairy is 'cream of the crop' with outstanding wins

A LOCAL dairy is celebrating after winning top awards at the 2024 Sydney Royal Cheese & Dairy Produce Show.

By Brigitte Daley

Outstanding in their field: Michelle Bell-Turner proudly showcases two gold medal-winning products - Mungalli Lactose-Free Biodynamic Pouring Cream and Mungalli Full Cream Biodynamic Milk.
Outstanding in their field: Michelle Bell-Turner proudly showcases two gold medal-winning products - Mungalli Lactose-Free Biodynamic Pouring Cream and Mungalli Full Cream Biodynamic Milk.

Mungalli Creek Dairy excelled at the recent show, receiving Champion Cream as well as two gold medals for their biodynamic milk and cream, a silver medal for their natural yoghurt, and five bronze medals for their lactose-free milk, feta, Broken Nose vanilla ice cream, Greek yoghurt and passionfruit organic frozen yoghurt.

Today, people are increasingly exposed to large amounts of food produced with the extensive use of artificial fertilisers, pesticides, chemicals, growth hormones, antibiotics and sometimes genetic engineering. And, some ask whether this could this be the reason for our declining overall well-being.

Mungalli’s Rob and Dan Watson believe it is vital for food to be produced as naturally as possible and use biodynamic farming methods.

They believe in working with nature, rather than perpetually struggling against it.

Their motto is “Happy cows, healthy earth, real food”, with their dairy products described as “nurtured by nature”.

Mungalli public relations manager Michelle Bell-Turner said it was great to get the recognition for the quality of the dairy’s products and for all the effort that their farmers and team put into making the best biodynamic dairy products.

“Our milk and cream will now be eligible to enter the Grand Dairy Awards which will be held later this year,” Michelle said.

The biodynamic aspect of the operation began in 1987, while the processing side commenced in 2000-2001. A total of eight farms supply milk for processing at the Mungalli Creek’s on-farm processing facility.

Three farms are run by the Watson family and another two biodynamic farmers in the local district supply milk into their premium biodynamic brand.

The biodynamic farms have a mix of Jersey, Swiss Brown and Aussie Red cows as they are well suited to an organic farming system and produce extra creamy milk for their products.

Another three local family farms supply milk for their conventional Misty Mountains Jersey Milk brand.  All farms are located in the Millaa Millaa, Ravenshoe and Malanda District. 

Mungalli Creek Dairy chooses to farm biodynamically and is all about healthy vital soil, diverse pastures, happy cows, great tasting food and sustainability way into the future.

An enhanced organic method, biodynamics focuses on maintaining a healthy and vital relationship between the soil, the animals, the environment and the people.

No artificial fertilisers, pesticides, chemicals, growth hormones or Genetically Modified Organisms are used. Instead, natural composts and herbal sprays using specially fermented biodynamic herbal preparations made from manure, plants and minerals are used.

“You can’t grow nutrient dense food from nutrient deficient soil”

Their farms’ pastures include grasses, legumes, herbs, weeds and shrubs with chicory, setaria, Pinto peanut, Shaw creeping vigna, plantain and rye grass all being different species which are found in the “salad bar pastures”.

Offering a diverse range of herbage to the cows enables them to effectively balance their nutritional and mineral requirements.

Mungalli Creek Dairy CEO, co-founder and farmer, Rob Watson, said it was a multi-generational farm and his eldest son would be the first of the next generation to come home to manage one of the farms in the next few years.

In terms of current and future directions, he is concentrating on improving pastures to help naturally increase the production per cow and is working on the expansion of the ice cream making facility.

He is passionate about actively regenerating the land and leaving it in a better state for future generations, as well as growing the business sustainably to ensure great products for the community and a good future for family, staff and other family farm suppliers.

“Biodynamic farming is all about the soil,” Rob said.

“You can’t grow nutrient dense food from nutrient-deficient soil.”

Biodynamics, initially developed by Rudolph Steiner in Europe, required adaptation for Tropical North Queensland and it took some time to pioneer its implementation to tropical conditions.

Rob can now effectively convert a farm in two to three years.

Biodynamics is a fully certified method of farming which is found across the world. Mungalli Creek Dairy is certified A Grade Biodynamic with Demeter Australia.

Michelle said the biodynamic dairy had been recognised locally and further afield for sustainability and for the integrity of its products.

Supplying premium biodynamic and organic dairy products, its dairy products are produced with minimal processing with milk simply being filtered, pasteurised and then created into milk, yoghurts, cheese and lactose-free ice cream.

“Mungalli Creek Dairy processes over three three million litres per year,” Michelle said.

“Our products are in high demand due to both the quality and ethical standards that we use to produce them.

“Our newest range of lactose-free ice cream is going very well and with such a positive demand for ice cream, we are currently working on a project to expand the production facility to produce more ice cream, as currently 40 litre batches are made by hand.

“Most is sold locally and a small amount goes to a consolidator in Melbourne that supplies Japan.

“The new project will enable Mungalli to increase capacity.”


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