Advancing Australian Dairy through Your Levy
Since 2003, Australian dairy farmers have been investing in a wide range of Research, Development and Extension initiatives as well as promotion and reputation management, through Dairy Australia.
While Dairy Australia’s mandate prevents it from lobbying, it has close ties with – and is accountable to - the Australian Government, which adds to the farmers’ fund to ensure critical, long-term R,D & E projects continue.
These projects and scientific trials identify smarter ways to do dairy better and increase farm profitability. Many programs previously forged by Dairy Australia have evolved to simply become the way we farm today. You may be surprised how many Dairy Australia-initiated projects have touched your business and been adopted by your service providers and advisors.
Dairy Australia has multiple programs under way around the country at any given time.
Here are just 10 quick examples of how DA is currently working for you.
1. Better farm decisions
Training, information, support and DairyBase help farm managers confidently plan for the future.
Example: Taking Stock – Free one-on-one session on your farm with an experienced consultant to review your business, identify next steps and plan for the future.
Impact: Over 900 farmers have registered. 98% of surveyed farmers who have done Taking Stock say they understand their business better and would recommend the program to other farmers.
2. Boosting herd genetics
Direct and indirect use of breeding values deliver gains and improvements across the Australian herd, including increased milk production.
Example: Good Bulls Guide & App – Resources to help you identify desirable genetic traits for your herd to ensure generational improvement.
Impact: Three decades of research underpin genetic gains, estimated to equate to extra profit of $13 per cow per year with average production increased from 2,000 litres to 5,000 litres per cow.
3. Improving feedbase
Using more home grown pasture and efficient use of supplements improves profit.
Example: Feeding Pastures for Profit - This accredited course, combining theory and on-farm educational days, helps participants apply the principles of profitable feeding. Includes a one-to–one consultation to support your pasture management decisions using the Rotation Right Tool.
Impact: Returns ranging from $18,000 to $43,000 per year were recorded in a trial of 1,300 farms.
4. Managing natural resources
Managing soil health and fertiliser use, can deliver more feed, reduce environmental impact and help improve waterways.
Example: Fert$mart – Based on the latest science, this program helps farmers and advisors make informed fertiliser management decisions using a16-step planning process and online tools including the Dairy Soils and Fertiliser Manual.
Impact: Lower fertiliser costs and more productive pastures can add $5,000 to the bottom line. 65% of farmers are adopting Fert$mart principles.
5. Lifting Milk Quality
Better milk quality and lower cell counts ensure maximum return for milk, minimising wastage and costs of treating mastitis.
Example: Countdown Downunder – This program improves milk quality and reduces mastitis by upskilling service providers and farm milking teams, through the ‘Cups On, Cups Off’ course, online resources and ‘Microbes in Milk’ project.
Impact: 79% of farmers report an annual BMCC under 250,000/cells/ml compared to 63% in 2000. Over 500 advisers have been trained to help improve practice, including vets, factory field officers, chemical suppliers and equipment technicians.
6. Providing extension via the RDPs
Tailored education, information and support that is right for your region and season.
Example: Regional Development Programs – In 2016, Dairy Australia took on responsibility for Extension through its RDPs. DA staff in all 8 dairy regions are now responsible for providing local training, events, education and information specifically relevant to their local farmers and conditions.
Impact: Annual tracking data shows over 7/10 levy payers are happy with the services provided by their Regional Development Program team.
7. Attracting and developing staff
Improved farm recruitment and management practices result in less staff turnover and improved productivity.
Example: Employment Starter Kit (ESKi) – A human resources manual containing all the mandatory requirements for dairy businesses that employ staff as well as suggestions for improving the employment experience to help farms attract and retain staff.
Impact: 2,389 ESKis have been requested by farm businesses. 86% of users state that ESKi has helped them manage staff.
8. Gaining market access
Securing, growing and protecting international markets for Australian dairy ensures a market for the total milk pool, which exceeds domestic demand.
Example: China Free Trade Agreement – Dairy Australia, together with ADF, supported and actively participated in the lengthy Government-to-Government negotiations to achieve the China FTA.
Impact: Reductions in tariffs paid on Australian dairy imported by China are estimated at $800m over 10 years (2016-2026) via China FTA.
9. Promoting your industry and products
Science underpins dairy’s essential role in everyone’s diet, providing health influencers with the confidence to recommend dairy consumption.
Example: Nutrition Science Policy –Through credible research, partnerships, policy submissions and educational resources, DA positively influences both policy and regulatory decisions ranging from product composition and labelling to dietary recommendations.
Impact – Extensive submissions to the Australian Dietary Guidelines review committee, recognising the significant scientific evidence for the benefits of dairy foods, ensured that dairy remained a core food group for all ages when the Guidelines were updated in 2013.
10. Protecting dairy’s reputation
Meeting community expectations in areas such as animal wellbeing and environmental stewardship builds trust, respect and support.
Example: Australian Dairy Industry Sustainability Framework - The Sustainability Framework, led by ADIC and underpinned by DA, promotes the industry as a producer of safe, quality, healthy food. It monitors progress towards sustainability goals to improve the wellbeing of people and animals; reduce environmental impact; enhance livelihoods and stay competitive.
Impact: The industry is aligned with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and was the first dairy industry accredited under Unilever’s Sustainable Agriculture Code.