The Holstein-Friesian Association of Australia Inc. held its thirty-sixth Annual General Meeting on Wednesday 20th September in Bunbury, Western Australia.
A future focus
Holstein Australia President, Garry Carpenter, reported that future focused activities, putting the building blocks in place to drive the Association forward, had been a focus over the previous 12 months.
The Member Advisory Committee, approved by members at a Special General Meeting, will be a representative member forum contributing to programs and activities to ensure the Association effectively engages with members.
Every Holstein Australia Sub-branch has the opportunity for direct representation on this new committee, with the Sub-branch representative nomination process underway.
Over the second half of the year Holstein Australia worked with Jersey Australia on creating a defined pathway focused on developing skills and creating leadership opportunities to equip young people for a dairy career.
Involving all dairy breed associations, work is progressing to create an industry wide dairy youth framework with the associations at the centre.
In the second half of the financial year there was a lot of discussion around export to China, which dropped off considerably towards the back end of the year.
The Board has provided full support for management’s focus on capitalising on opportunities in existing export markets and developing new markets.
Holstein Australia hosted delegations from Pakistan and China during the year, and CEO Rohan Butler spent time at World Dairy Expo and in Pakistan during the year.
With Pakistan’s focus on registered Holstein cattle backed by genomics, this work to develop trade with the fourth largest dairy producer in the world has never been more important.
Mr Carpenter also reported that member sales of registered animals continue to outperform non-member sales by around $1,500 to $2,000 per animal or more..
Solid financial performance
Audit and Finance Committee representative, Phil Hall, reported gross profit in 2022/23 increased by 49% over the previous year, up by $140,000 from 2021/22, on the back of a significant increase in the investment fund value.
A $259,000 funding allocation for major initiatives - including the ‘Why Holsteins’ and IT / database projects – contributed to an operating expenses increase of just under 9%, saw operating profit decline by $351,000 to $139,000. Each revenue category, except export, was in line with budget expectations or above.
While export revenue increased 8% to $1.22 million, this was well below budget due to the significant reduction in live export over the final two quarters of the financial year, despite the conservative forecast approved by the Board for the 2022/23 financial year.
Total Assets increased by just under 3% to $5.46 million. While trade receivables were down by 3% on 30 June, this was more than outweighed by the increase in financial assets.
Breed development update
Breed Development and Conformation Committee Chair (BDCC), Gino Pacitti, reported on a review of the Semex Holstein Australia All-Australian Photographic Competition.
Focus areas included competition timing, international judges, eligible shows and photography post-production and any potential impact on the competition. Any changes to the existing format based on this review will be notified to members.
On judging of All-Australian shows, the BDDC confirmed that shows must be judged by an HA panel judge or a qualified panel judge from any other Australian breed association or international panel.
Over the year the BDCC reviewed the breakdown of points that make up the Master Breeder award, determining that the points allocation for the Award should remain unchanged.
A definition of what constitutes an ‘active breeder’ was also determined, being ‘a member who registers an animal within 3 years of the animal’s birth’. All active breeders will be eligible to apply for Master Breeder status in future.
Year-on-year classifications rose from around 27,000 to approximately 31,000 in the most recent financial year. The service is a vital part of many member breeding programs, with the BDCC looking forward to introduction of the upgraded classification system, which will include improvements to post-classification member reporting. This will add further to member value.
The appointment of new and returning Board and Committee members was announced during the AGM.
National Board Members, Jacqueline Suares and Gino Pacitti, having served for three years retired by rotation and were eligible for re-election. Following re-nomination, Mr Pacitti was elected to the Board for a further three year term. Mrs Suares did not re-nominate.
BDCC members, Phil Daniel and Brett Cirillo, having served for three years retired by rotation and were eligible for re-election. A nomination was received from Mr Bill Morgan, who was elected to the BDCC for a three year term.
Good position for future growth
Holstein Australia CEO, Rohan Butler, reported a busy and productive year with a good combination of maintaining current services alongside work behind the scenes to achieve the strategic plan objectives.
Work progressed during the year on introduction of classification software, with this update scheduled to be introduced prior to the end of the year. The result of this will be significantly improved hardware and software efficiency and reliability. Improved reporting will also be implemented as part of this process.
Mr Butler also reported on the ongoing IT review, with scoping for the Association’s future requirements in this area continuing.
The meeting was also advised that HA will be offering an ear tag that also takes a tissue sample for DNA testing, with an online ordering system being developed to facilitate sales of these tags.
A study was also completed during the previous 12 month to update the links between type traits and profitability. This will enable HA to ensure classification system weightings are optimised, with the full report to be made available to members.
Mr Butler also reported on member services, with a solid year for registrations and classification utilisation returning to pre-Covid levels. Following the steep rise in genomic testing over the past few years, this levelled off over the last 12 months, due in the main to the slowdown in exports over the second half of the financial year.
Holstein Highlights 2023
The Board would like to thank the WA Region of Holstein Australia for hosting the AGM as part of Holstein Highlights 2023.
Over the week of Holstein Highlights, 80 members, stakeholders and guests visited Carenda and Angelis Holsteins and attended the Associations’ National Awards Dinner at Bunbury’s Dolphin Discovery Centre, as well as exploring WA’s prime dairy and wine producing region.