Dairy farmers are getting sick, and that’s hurting them financially.
That’s the conclusion of a recent report that looks at the health of dairy farms in NSW and Queensland.
It is a report from the Dairy Farmers of Australia (DFA), which represents about 30,000 farmers and about 20,000 workers.
The DFA’s report shows dairy farmers are suffering from an average of nine different types of diseases.
It includes a coronavirus-like illness known as the coronaviral encephalitis, or COVID-19, which can lead to pneumonia and brain damage, and an encephalomyelitis that can cause muscle spasms.
DFA dairy operations in Queensland are experiencing similar problems, while the industry in NSW has had an increase in COVID infections.
The report says a number of farmers are starting to show symptoms, and the majority are beginning to contract some of the more serious illnesses.
Some of the farmers who are contracting the encephalitic illness are also receiving treatment for COVID.
But there is no cure for the disease.
The number of dairy farmers contracting COVIDs has risen dramatically in recent years, the report said.
The rise in cases of COVID is linked to the introduction of high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) into the Australian diet, the increase in the number of HFCS factories and the increasing popularity of packaged food.
It’s also linked to a number more farm-related issues.
In 2016, there were about 2,400 farms that were reported to have a coronacovirus infection, which means they were the worst-hit.
The overall figure in NSW is around 3,600 farms.
A large number of those farms have not been able to respond to coronaviruses and so are suffering a slow, but steady decline in cases.
There are also concerns about the health outcomes for dairy workers, with the DFA saying dairy workers are more likely to contract COVID than other sectors.
The dairy industry’s overall decline in COVS cases has slowed from the early 1990s to the early 2000s, but the rate of decline continues to be low.
Dr Tim Kelly, DFA Dairy Medical Officer, said: “Dairy farmers are experiencing some of these issues and are experiencing an increase [in COVID] rates.”
In the dairy industry, there are two main things that are impacting the health and welfare of dairy workers and dairy producers in NSW.
“First is the introduction, especially of HCFs [high fructose corn syrup] into the dairy system.
We know there’s a link between HFCs and increased incidence of COVEs [co-infections],” Dr Kelly said.
“Second is the increased prevalence of coronavids.”
The report said the rise in coronavid cases coincided with the introduction in NSW of high fructose corn gas, which has been blamed for causing a number other COVID related issues in the dairy and meat industries.
Dr Kelly says HFC S is a significant contributor to the rise.
“HFC S and other HFC products have a number, a very large number, of potential carcinogens in them and are now commonly used in dairy farming,” he said.
It was also revealed that some farmers are contracting an increase of COVIS-19.
The figure was 2,600 cases in 2016, and it’s now rising rapidly.
Dr Shannon O’Connor, DFO of the DFO’s Dairy Health and Wellbeing Centre, said the high rate of COVS was linked to more people coming into contact with farm animals, particularly cows.
“Farm animals are in close contact with each other and we see a lot of the cattle that are coming into our dairy farms are being treated by people in the community,” she said.
But Dr Kelly warned that dairy workers had to be vigilant.
“We don’t want to let down the dairy workers.
We have a very tight and protective relationship with the dairy farmers.
If you have a disease or illness that we don’t understand, then we have to make sure that we take all of the appropriate precautions and we know what to do,” he told ABC News Breakfast.
The most common cause of COVI in the milk industry is the HFC treatment.
“The majority of dairy producers have the HCF [high-fiber corn syrup], which is a very, very common and highly concentrated form of HFS [high temperature] that has been used for many years and has been shown to have adverse effects on the dairy herd,” Dr Kelly added.
“If we have a high incidence of the HFS, then the milk production and the milk safety can suffer greatly and this can be very costly for dairy farmers.”
The DFO says the DAFSA (dairy industry federation) is working to address the issue of HCA [HFC-related acute bronchitis] in dairy.
But that could take a few years.
Dr O’Connors says the