Dairy industry innovation

In November 2011, Agriculture and Food Security Minister Peter Walsh released a report on “The impact of innovation on the dairy industry over the last 30 years”.

Dairy Australia and DPI commissioned the evaluation to determine the impact of RD&E investment on industry performance from 1980 to 2010, and to capture learnings for future investment.

Dairy Australia Managing Director, Ian Halliday, and DPI Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Research and Development, Bruce Kefford, talk about the findings in this short video... 

The impact of innovation on the Australian dairy industry


Key findings

  • Major increases in on-farm production have increased VIC dairy farm profitability by around $10 billion from 1980 to 2010.
  • 1/2 appears attributable to farmer and industry initiatives, the other 1/2 to on-farm RD&E which is estimated to have increased farm profitability by approx $7.7 billion in net present value terms.
  • This RD&E is estimated to have cost an estimated $2.3 billion in net present value terms.
  • This suggests an estimated $3.30 economic benefit for each dollar invested in R&D. However, for every dollar dairy farmers invest, their return may be well over (ie double) $3.30 because more than 1/2 has been paid by external sources. Moreover, many of the benefits from RD&E will continue to flow into the future.
  • The major changes driving the increased profitability have been increased pasture production and utilisation, increased supplementary feeding and more efficient cows. Increased farm scale, improved animal health and natural resource
    management have also been contributors.