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

Primary content

Read about our research on climate resilience and sustainability.

  • Improving soil and nutrient management

    Improving soil and nutrient management

    Objectives

    80% of dairy farmers report using industry nutrient management good practice by 2020.

    3 year plan focus

    • Fert$mart maintenance and delivery, including  professional development.
    • Identification of high risk nutrient loss catchments, nutrient loss hot spots and effective strategies to mitigate.
    • Effective nitrogen management practices at a field & whole farm scale.
    • Improved nitrogen/carbon cycle modelling capacity of Australian dairy systems.
    • Tools and resources to better manage and utilise dairy effluent.
    • Fertiliser, soils and water extension modules integrated into Feedbase programs.

  • Improving water use efficiency

    Improving water use efficiency

    Objectives

    Reduction in water used per kg/milk solids produced from home grown feed.

    3 year plan focus

    • Improved irrigation bay designs
    • Practical, reliable irrigation scheduling technologies
    • Low cost automated irrigation control systems
    • Guidelines and extension modules for good practice water management
    • Tools and resources to assist dairy businesses address water security risks

  • Natural capital risk and climate change

    Natural capital risk and climate change

    Objectives

    • 90% of relevant financial institutions, multinational food and drink corporations, and milk processors use/accept industry sustainability assessment tools/guidelines (ongoing).
    • Climate risk considerations incorporated into relevant FPI RD&E initiatives by 2018.
    • RDPs facilitate delivery partnerships to deliver Land, Water and Carbon on farm change programs.

    3 year plan focus

    • Improved seasonal forecasting
    • Maintaining and developing industry relevant Sustainability Framework monitoring and reporting tools
    • Monitoring and addressing international dairy sustainability reporting trends/requirements.
    • Technologies to reduce enteric methane
    • Identification of strategies to mitigate heat stress, information tools and resources to manage heat stress including Cool Cows.
    • Climate resilient strategies to maintain pasture production and address the growing summer feed gap.
    • Building the capacity of RDPs to address regional Land, Water and Carbon issues.
    • Assessment of emerging sensor technologies and associated data management systems to assist efficiency of resource use.

Land Water Carbon

Market need/context

  • Consumer interest in the sustainability credentials of the food they purchase and investors' concerns about the long term viability of their investment are driving milk processors and financial institutions to take a greater interest in the management practices their suppliers/clients. Both groups are increasingly requiring evidence that farmers are managing their natural capital and climate risk and this driver is impacting on the direction and focus of Land, Water and Carbon investment.
  • The breadth of natural capital issues makes it difficult to address all and RD&E activities are focused on areas where there are both profit and environmental drivers. These are soil and nutrient management, water use efficiency and climate risk. The estimated impact of climate change on annual productivity of dairy farms in southern Australia between now and 2040 is 0.6%/year.Predominately public issues such as biodiversity will be addressed through resources, tools and e-learning.
  • The target audience is farmers, farm advisors, milk processors, financial institutions, and government and NGO organisations with an interest in land, water and climate risk management.

General approach/strategy

  • Research investment is focused on building knowledge and understanding in the areas of nitrogen use efficiency, enteric methane technologies, nutrient loss risk in an Australian context, heat stress management strategies, seasonal forecasting reliability, climate resilient strategies; and cost effective irrigation bay design, scheduling and automation. Areas of investment reflect Dairy Moving Forward priorities and incorporate cross-sector and international collaboration where viable.
  • Development and awareness raising investment is focused on developing Fert$mart group delivery and professional development programs, sustainability framework reporting tools and data collation processes, and information, resources and tools in the areas of nutrient management for intensive systems, effluent odour, waste, precision technologies to enable resource use efficiency and monitoring, managing biodiversity (including trees for shade and shelter) and managing climate risk. Where feasible Land Water and Carbon resources and modules will be integrated into Feedbase programs.
  • With the shift to regions being responsible for managing regional Land, Water and Carbon extension and provision of technical advice Dairy Australia Land Water and Carbon regional support will focus on building the capability of RDPs to meet regional stakeholder requests for technical information as well as encouraging them to form delivery partnerships with milk companies, NRM agencies and other relevant stakeholders to facilitate increased adoption of the industry Sustainability Framework environment targets.
  • National extension activities to facilitate practice change will focus on meeting stakeholder requests for technical information, Fert$mart professional development and group delivery, professional development for milk company sustainability officers and other relevant stakeholders, NCDEA effluent design courses and Cool Cows.

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