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Wednesday, 1 December 1976

Mr Lloyd asked the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice:

(   1 ) Is there a possibility of a breakdown in the dairy herd improvement schemes of the various States due to the inability of dairy farmers to pay for herd test and artificial breeding services.

(2)   Does the Industries Assistance Commission's study on National Dairy Herd Improvement provide an opportunity to assist herd improvement and provide a better basis for progeny testing.

(3)   If so, what steps will be taken to discuss and implement these herd improvement proposals.

(4)   What opportunity will there be for herd improvement organisations to submit proposals.

Mr Sinclair -The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1)   It is increasingly difficult for dairy farmers to remain viable under the present climate of rising costs and depressed returns. As a result some dairyman with smaller herds will be obliged, at least temporarily, to curtail some of their normal expenditures.

Herd testing or the use of AB services may come into this category. The extent of any such lower level of participation would vary from State to State.

(2)   , (3) and (4) It is possible that the recent favourable report by the IAC on a benefit-cost study of dairy herd improvement will help lead to Australian-wide arrangements that could include provision of a more comprehensive range of services at competitive prices.

A Steering Committee appointed by the Australian Agricultural Council is presently formulating, in specific terms, a proposal for a National Dairy Herd Improvement Scheme to be presented to Governments for consideration.

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