The Australian dairy industry is committed to tackling the growing challenges posed by climate change and practicing sustainable environmental stewardship to protect our natural resources.
Like other agricultural industries, the dairy sector is dependent on natural resources to remain viable and profitable. Therefore, protecting water, biodiversity and soils, and implementing measures to reduce waste and emissions, is a high priority. In fact, the industry has formalised this commitment through the Australian Dairy Industry Sustainability Framework.
The biggest land management challenges for Australian dairy farmers include pest animals, noxious weeds, and soil health. These are closely followed by insect pests, biodiversity and waterways management.
The Farm Environmental Tracker is an online tool enabling farmers to qualitatively understand, benchmark and action improvement on their farm’s environmental performance, covering a range of topics from animals to energy to effluent and biodiversity. The Farm Environmental Tracker is supported by an online learning course, case studies and a suite of supporting resources.
Water use efficiency
Water is a critical resource for all farming systems in the Australian dairy industry – including pasture based, irrigated systems and housed animal systems. Water management is becoming increasingly important, as the ever-increasing challenges and physical impacts of climate change on Australian agriculture is linked to more water scarcity and drought conditions.
The dairy industry has set a target for all silage wrap to be recycled by 2030. However, the availability of recycling and collection facilities to make this a reality, is proving a barrier to achieving this goal. That is why Dairy Australia has initiated the Silage Plastic Recycling Scheme, which supports farmers disposing of silage plastic for recycling and preventing it ending up in landfill.
The Federal Government is piloting a range of programs through the Agriculture Biodiversity Stewardship Package, which are aimed at trialling how a market-based approach could reward landholders for increasing biodiversity.
Dairy Australia will continue to provide updates in this space as projects progress and markets mature.