Dairy Australia - Dairy information for Australian Dairy Farmers and the industry

Primary content

Find out about genetic and herd improvement in the Australian dairy industry.

  • Dairy bioscience for forage and animal improvement

    Dairy bioscience for forage and animal improvement

    Objectives

    Deliver animal improvement innovations that will improve the genetic merit of dairy cattle by $350 per cow per lactation in 2032, which is the cumulative value delivered by both the Dairy Futures CRC and DairyBio.

    3 year plan focus

    • Improve reliability of traits measured using genomic methods/selection
    • Development of new herd management tools that use genomic information; building products and services that meet farmers™ needs for rapid analysis and reduced costs
    • Enhancement of breeding values through incorporation of traits which are of particular importance to Australian producers (e.g. mastitis, lameness, overall health) could read: Development of new breeding values for traits which are of particular importance to Australian producers (e.g. mastitis, lameness, overall health)
    • Improve bioscience R&D through activities in development, implementation and maintenance.

  • Herd improvement strategy 2020

    Herd Improvement Strategy 2020

    Objectives

    Dairy farmers maximise their profit through a vibrant herd improvement industry offering effective and highly valued services.

    3 year plan focus

    • Provide genetic evaluation and support genetic improvement extension.
    • Rewrite and upgrade the system which calculates breeding values.
    • Implement an extension, engagement and marketing plan; redesign herd test and genetics reports.
    • Create a Central Data Repository.
    • Redesign of genetic improvement governance structures through the creation of a new entity.
    • Work program including demonstration herds, desk top analysis and other activities.
    • Implement improved herd test functions; improve breed society efficiency; small projects to improve service delivery.
    • Develop project for ongoing collection of phenotypic data
    • Develop industry training program for herd improvement personnel; training and support in conjunction with NCDE

Genetic and herd improvement

Market need/context

  • The Australian dairy industry has an opportunity to realize substantial increases in dairy farm profitability by taking full advantage of the benefits of herd improvement. The potential benefits of addressing issues of market failure in herd improvement could be worth approximately $25 million in gross farm margin per annum due to genetic gain, a figure which may well rise with continuing innovation in genomic technologies.
  • The Herd Improvement Industry Strategic Steering Group (HIISSG) was convened by Dairy Australia in January 2014 in recognition that a whole of industry strategy was required to address the issues in the industry that had been impairing progress for the past decade or more. The Herd Improvement Strategy was completed in August 2014 and implementation commenced at that time.
  • The target audience is farmers, farm advisors, herd improvement industry service providers, milk processors and financial organisations.

General approach/strategy

  • Research investment is focused on: continued improvement in the reliability and accuracy of genomic breeding values and much reduced test costs; enhancement of breeding values through incorporation of traits which are of particular importance to Australian producers; and application of genomic approaches to cow herd management. Areas of investment reflect Dairy Moving Forward priorities and incorporate cross-sector and international collaboration where viable.
  • Development and implementation investment is focused on continuing to improve the ability of farmers to select for important traits, such as fertility, and develop new traits such as heat tolerance, lameness and heath. Work will also focus on creating new tools for farmers to use to make better decisions on farm, whether through genomic testing or improved use of data.
  • The development of a central data repository will enable innovation by service providers and industry through allowing access to data from many sources, also known as single-entry, multi-use data for farmers.
  • Extension activities to facilitate practice change will focus on meeting stakeholder requests for technical information and demonstrating the profit impact of herd improvement. Where feasible herd improvement resources and modules will be integrated into other programs, particularly animal health.

Major Initiatives

Focus Farms

Dairy Australia has established a network of Focus Farms to support farmer decision making.

DairyBase

DairyBase is a web-based tool that enables dairy farmers to measure and compare their farm business performance over time.

More Initiatives