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DairyBio is the dairy industry’s leading bioscience research program and is a joint venture between Dairy Australia, Agriculture Victoria and the Gardiner Foundation. The new phase of the DairyBio program, DairyBio21-26 began in July 2021 and will continue on from DairyBio16-21 to drive transformational productivity and profitability improvement on-farm.

2040 Forages

The future forages program has an exciting range of research – from some with lower risk and more immediate impact through accelerated uptake of mature technologies, through to higher risk and medium to long term impacts through exploration of new breakthrough technologies. The types of biological science that delivers this level of transformational on farm improvement can be time and investment intensive. That is why the programs were designed with what the industry and the climate and systems modelling have told us we will need in 2040 and 2050.

2040 Cows

The cows in 2040 may not look different, but they will be more profitable for dairy farmers. They will be more resilient to our changing climate and provide greater flexibility in replacement decisions – whether it be from extra productive life or optimising the timing and number of new replacements. DairyBio will deliver genetic improvement and management tools that directly address the vision for the ‘desired cow' on an Australian dairy farm in the year 2040.

Headline targets of DairyBio21-26

3x rate of genetic gain in short term ryegrass and a range of future forages

DairyBio will continue to drive genetic improvement through a range of technological innovations including developing and implementing genomic selection and targeted gene editing in perennial grasses and other temperate species.


Forages adapted to changing climates

DairyBio will deliver a targeted breeding program for forage species that have been modelled to be important for the Australian dairy industry in the future. Developing and applying new precision breeding technology and gene editing technology to identified forages will allow the industry to secure the competitive advantage of home-grown forage for the next three decades. Part of these projects will include modelling and trials which will enable a greater understanding and prediction of the roles that targeted forage species will have in the future.


15% unit increase in herbage quality

DairyBio will be creating higher quality future forages with high value traits to perform in a challenging future environment in a range of farm systems. Initially, DairyBio is targeting increased digestibility to improve the nutritive quality by making more energy accessible from the feed.

Deliver 20% increase in biomass in short term and perennial ryegrass enhanced by demonstration sites

The delivery to industry of the F1 Hybrids and the application of the technology to ryegrass will boost the biomass of perennial and annual ryegrasses by 20%. DairyBio will also expand this technology into relevant and important species for the dairy industry. Rapid breeding processes including genomic selection, F1 hybrids, and integration and exploitation of genome edits in ryegrass species will be further developed and delivered.

20% increase in farm profit through farmer uptake of technology enhanced by demonstration sites

Seeing the application of technology in person is an important way for farmers to assess the options and determine confidently the appropriateness of the technology and products for their production system. 

1.5x rate of genetic gain compounding - Long lasting resilient cows for lifetime profit without loss of diversity

The next phase of DairyBio will accelerate the annual rate of genetic gain in dairy cattle by 1.5 times. This is on top of what the DairyBio16-21 has already been delivered in conjunction with commercial partner DataGene.

10% lower emissions and cows adapt to warming faster than climate change

Breeding more efficient, profitable cows that produce less greenhouse gas emissions is crucial not only for the industry’s sustainability, but also to meet future consumer expectations. A valid mechanism for achieving efficiency gains and methane reductions is through animal genetics. There are currently two main opportunities for dairy farmers to breed for lower methane emissions: selecting for high feed efficiency and selecting for longevity. Selecting for feed efficiency is important for profitability and reducing emissions per unit of milk produced. Feed efficiency is already available through the Feed Saved (ABV) Australian Breeding Value updated by DairyBio last year.

Selecting low methane emitting bulls is a current research project of DairyBio and will soon be ready for industry consultation. 

Agility in a changing regulatory, natural and social environment

DairyBio technology and data will offer solutions to future issues, while working on known pressures and opportunities including climate change, ‘right to farm’ and regulation.

Currently DairyBio is looking at known biomarkers of cow health, but with the improved molecular phenomics technology we have developed, we can also pivot to new opportunities.

Greater lifespan by 2040

DairyBio is aiming for dairy farmers to breed cows with improved longevity and inherent resilience to withstand current and future Australian production environments. Improved longevity and resilience will come from better predictions for animal survival and new traits associated with resilience, improved selection methods for replacement heifers all while balancing herd rejuvenation with longevity and resilience.

Reduced health and management costs

DairyBio’s individual animal prediction including using genomic information combined with milk data, clinical data, and sensor data sources to predict real-time animal performance will lower health and management costs. DairyBio plan to use a from birth approach to health, fertility and resilience to offer high performance tools and models for improved selection decisions for metabolic disease resilience, profitable cow ranking and improved fertility outcome prediction.

For more information visit the DairyBio website.


  • Dairybio dairyfeedbase leaflet

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