DMK’s Milkmaster, the bonus program that rewards responsible and sustainable dairy farmers, was rst launched in January 2016. It raises awareness amongst farmers for such topics as safety, quality, animal welfare and the environment, and to reward commitment in these areas.
At the time, the Milkmaster program was comprehensive and future-orientated, distinguishing it in the industry and the market. But the sector and the market have continued to develop since then, so Milkmaster, as a dynamic program, has also been optimized, based on the experiences of the last few years.
From 2020, there will be a further program upgrade to meet pragmatically the changed requirements from agricultural practice as well as customers and society. The optimized Milkmaster application is much more straightforward and transparent, without losing any of the initial idea. In particular, a new platform plays an important role in this more modern version; DMK’s online “myMilk,” which creates a digital interface between the company and its farmers, and provides a new home to the revamped Milkmaster program. As of 2020, participation in the Milkmaster bonus system will be possible exclusively online and can therefore be carried out much more
The main goal of the revamp was to simplify the handling of the program and significantly reduce complexity for farmers, and to focus on the aspects which are most relevant to society. In particular, the bonus system, which had already been revised in 2017 and 2018, was again scrutinized.
As of 2020, milk volume planning will be the only prerequisite for a bonus. A self-assessment is no longer necessary. The bonus will be adjusted to a maximum of 0.5 cents per kilogram of milk, which also means an increase in the basic price paid by DMK at the same time.
Due to the focus on content, only four criteria from the original 13 bonus criteria remain from the areas of animal welfare and animal health: Life expectancy, grazing (full grazing and, new, partial grazing), udder health and herd management. There will no longer be an audit as an additional assessment for a bonus — instead this will be assessed online via “myMilk.” The bonus payment and settlement takes place with the December milk bill of the respective bonus year. There will therefore no longer be an advance payment on the bonus during the year, nor will there be any repayments or reclaims in subsequent years. The bonus criteria are valid for one year and will be assessed again in 2020.
Starting in 2020, all farmers will face a new audit timetable for the quality management standard that applies across the industry. In general, announced QM audits will be held every three years (regular) or every year and a half (if there is a score shortfall), rather than every two years as previously. The bonus assessment will no longer take place via self-audits but will be carried out online via “myMilk.”
The mission statement of the Milkmaster programme, the Code, is now being revised to focus on the most relevant sustainability issues. It was sharpened, focused on essential content and made more compact so that the scope could be significantly reduced without losing any of its significance. From 2020, it will be available digitally on "myMilk" and will be made available in printed form to all farmers newly admitted to the cooperative
It is important for DMK to provide intensive support for its farmers on their way to more sustainable agriculture and consultancy is therefore available for comprehensive advice. In this context, innovative test projects from the “Milk Sustainability Module” with be launched in the course of the coming year, focusing on environmental aspects in agriculture.