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Read about pasture and feeding technologies that have the ability to optimise feed conversion efficiency.

Pasture and feeding technologies

Low cost production of home grown pastures and forage have underpinned the competitive advantage of Australian dairy farmers.

Technologies that measure pastures and allocates feed based upon feed available, growth rate and pasture cover targets will assist in improving the utilisation of home grown pastures/forages.

Furthermore, technologies that assist in the management and delivery of supplemental feed to better match the nutrient requirements of the individual dairy cow will optimise feed conversion efficiency.

  • Copy Link Drones

    Drones and Australian Dairy Farms

    There has been recent interest in using drones fitted with cameras to estimate pasture growth. Can flying a drone with sensors or cameras estimate pasture mass quicker, easier and more accurately than more traditional methods such as the rising plate meter, pasture rulers, CDAX bike readers or by eye?

    Drones and Australian Dairy Farms (PDF, 736 KB)

    This fact sheet, prepared by the staff at the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture Dairy Centre at Burnie, Tasmania describes how drones, cameras and other new technology may assist in estimating pasture mass. In addition, they also examine the benefits and limitations of using drones mounted with a camera for measuring pasture biomass.

  • Copy Link Automatic calf feeders

    Automatic calf feeders

    Automatic calf feeders enable the feeding of calves on an individual basis, even when they are reared in groups. This technology saves labour and allows for additional milk to be distributed to under-performing calves and also promotes a better weaning process by gradually reducing milk to individual calves

    Adoption of new technologies: Automatic calf feeders (PDF, 536KB)

    This fact sheet, prepared by Matthew Reynolds, Project Officer at the Victorian Department of Environment and Primary industries, describes how automatic calf feeders work and the implications of installing and using this technology. In addition, Matthew has examined the benefit:cost of this technology.

  • Copy Link Computerised bail feeding systems

    Computerised bail feeding systems

    Computerised bail feeding systems allow different amounts of supplements to be fed to individual cows in the dairy while they are being milked.

    More information

    Precision dairy technology: Computerised bail feeding systems (PDF, 315KB)

    This fact sheet describes computerised bail feeding systems and the application of this technology on Australian dairy farms. A discussion on the comparison of feeding individual cows different amounts of supplements depending upon current milk yield, days in milk, body condition, etc. or feeding all cows at a flat rate is also included.

  • Copy Link Electronic pasture meters

    Electronic pasture meters

    Electronic pasture meters can help you to measure pasture height and estimate pasture mass, over your entire farm in just a few hours.

    More information

    Precision dairy technology: Electronic pasture meters (PDF, 3.2MB)

    This fact sheet describes how the quad bike based pasture meters work and how dairy farmers can use the information generated by the technology. Contact details of the major suppliers, together with approximate cost and other relevant information is included.

    Accelerating Change Newsletter 2, September 2015: 'Monitoring and Measuring' section (external link)

    In 2015 the Victorian Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources began conducting a comparison of the two major electronic pasture meters that are commercially available - the Pasture Reader and the C-Dax pasture meter - as part of the Accelerating Change Program of Murray Dairy. Further details and a video clip of the Pasture Reader in action is provided in the September newsletter.

    Case Studies

    The following case study demonstrates a dairy farmer's experience with the electronic pasture meter. This information is presented as both a short two-page document and a recorded video with the dairy farmer.

    Duncan MacDonald, Yolla, Tasmania

    Duncan Macdonald manages two 550 cow dairy farms at Yolla in north-west Tasmania. The farms are about 5 km apart and each have a 180 hectare milking platform that is a mix of dryland and irrigation . He measures the amount of pasture in each paddock on a regular basis with a C-Dax pasture meter.

    Precision dairy technology: C-Dax Pasture Meter: Case study: Duncan MacDonald (PDF, 3.6MB)

  • Copy Link Soil moisture monitoring

    Soil moisture monitoring 

    Best management practice in irrigation includes regular monitoring soil moisture level throughout the irrigation season.  Farmers should adopt and use long term soil moisture monitoring to help achieve optimum water use and maximum crop and pasture yields.

    More information

    Precision dairy technology: Soil moisture monitoring (PDF, 214KB)

    Prepared by Robert O’Connor, Irrigation Officer, Victorian Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources, this Fact Sheet describes how soil moisture monitoring devices work and how dairy farmers can use the information generated by these soil moisture probes.


  • Copy Link Variable Rate Irrigation

    Variable rate irrigation is an exciting new technology that can have great benefits on some farms. This technology can be retrofitted to centre pivot and linear irrigators and allows farmers to deliver precise amounts of water to different parts of a paddock. For farmers with varying soil and topography across paddocks this technology can deliver better pasture growth, together with lower water and power use.

    More Information

    Precision dairy technology: Variable Rate Irrigation (PDF, 500KB)

    Prepared by Dr James Hills, Senior Research Fellow, TIA Dairy Centre, Burnie, Tasmania, this Fact Sheet describes how Variable rate irrigation systems work and how dairy farmers may make more efficient use of this technology.

    Planning for Variable Rate Irrigation: EM38 soil mapping for irrigation planning (PDF, 520KB)

    This Fact Sheet is part of the Profitable Dairying Series and describes EM38 mapping for zoning soil types in preparation for variable rate irrigation.

    Video of variable rate irrigation
    This video describes the use of variable rate irrigation technology to grow more pasture with less water.


Our Farm, Our Plan

Our Farm, Our Plan is a new program designed to equip farmers to clarify their long term goals, identify the actions needed and to manage uncertainty and risk.

Hay and grain reports

The hay and grain report is commissioned by Dairy Australia to provide an independent and timely assessment of hay and grain markets in each dairying region. The report is updated 40 weeks per year.

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