Countdown Downunder 1998-2013

Above: At a Countdown Adviser Workshop in 2012

Fast Facts


Client: Dairy Australia
Location: National, coordinated from Melbourne
When: 1998-2013

Responsibilities: To lead the national mastitis and milk quality program

Project description

The need:  The Countdown Downunder program came out of a 1997 meeting of stakeholders with an interest in mastitis and milk quality. A variety of issues were tabled and there was sufficient stakeholder commitment to resource a national effort around achieving high quality milk.

What we did:  Countdown was where it all started for the Harris Park Group in 1998. The contract to design and deliver the dairy industry’s first national extension program turned into an opportunity to lead a large, long-term effort developing many projects and products over several funding cycles.

For us, some of the major achievements of the program have included:

  • Brokering industry agreement on clear, consistent messages – as published in the Farm Guidelines and Technotes – that continue as the bedrock of the program
  • Building the capacity of the service sector to deliver technical information and services that aligned with the program
  • Creating and delivering many products, such as: the Mastitis Focus Report, the national Countdown Downunder Milk Quality Awards, the Countdown Downunder Adviser Short Course, the Countdown Downunder Farmer Short Course, the Cups On Cups Off training for farm staff…
  • Countdown being the foundation for similar programs in Ireland and NZ.

These achievements were due to the hundreds of people who helped plan, develop and deliver the various components; under the leadership of Drs Pauline Brightling (1998-2004), Rod Dyson (2004-2010) and John Penry (2010-2012). Dairy Australia has been running the national mastitis program, Countdown 2020 since 2013.