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WestVic Dairy invests in, supports and manages a wide range of programs aligned to dairy industry priorities. Find out about our current programs here

WestVic Dairy Programs 

WestVic Dairy programs are funded through the Dairy Service Levy; State, Commonwealth and local Government agencies; regional NRM and development boards; and commercial businesses as relevant and appropriate.

Programs listed by the following focus areas:

  • Animal Performance
  • Feedbase
  • Farm Business Management
  • People
  • Land Water Carbon

Focus area:  

Animal Performance

Project   Overview
InCharge Fertility 

This project is a five day course delivered over eight weeks and focuses on improving cow fertility.

Local experts present on different topics, such as calving systems, transition cow management, heat detection, synchrony, AI, bull management and heifer rearing. It helps farmers to evaluate their current herd’s reproductive performance and develop an individual plan to improve their performance.  

Advanced Nutrition in Action 

This project is an eight day course delivered over eight months.  

It is designed for farmers and advisors, who already have a solid grasp of dairy nutrition and feeding management, but are looking to take their capabilities to the next level. The goal of the program is to improve herd nutrition practices on-farm by providing the technical knowledge, problem solving and strategic planning skills, as well as tools to develop and implement appropriate, nutrition related management strategies which support personal and business goals.

Cups On Cups Off

This two day accredited course is designed to achieve best practice in milk harvesting including the detection and treatment of clinical cases of mastitis.

Topics covered include: how and why infections occur, practical mastitis control, the importance of teat disinfection, reducing the risk of infection, how to detect and deal with clinical mastitis and the real cost of mastitis.

On-farm workshops  

These are stand-alone workshops, which deliver current Dairy Australia programs to farmers in a format that suits their needs. They can be tailored to the specific demands of a group and will utilise local experts.

The workshops available include Rearing Healthy Calves, Heifers on Target (Heifer management), Transition Cow Management (Dry to Springer to Calver), Lameness, Cool Cows (Minimising Heat Stress), Euthanasia of Livestock, Heat Detection, Down Cows, Countdown 2020 (all aspects of milk quality) and Genetics – breeding more profitable herds. 

                      

Focus area:

Feedbase

 Project Overview
Top Fodder 

This two day course looks at the science and economics of silage making and is usually run in late winter early spring for farmers and service providers.

A comprehensive range of silage topics are covered, including:

  • selecting the right crop at the right time
  • silage additives
  • feed testing and fitting silage into your system
  • controlling losses throughout the process including cutting, wilting, raking, bailing, storage and feeding out  
Nutrition Fundamentals  

This is a new workshop that is being developed to roll out in 2018. It will give farmers an understanding of the basic nutritional requirements of cows.  

Feeding Pastures for Profit  

The key outcome from this program is to educate farmers about best practice for pasture management and feeding decisions.

This project is run over a twelve month period and includes two class room sessions commencing in autumn where the foundation understanding is extended. These are followed by five on-farm days in autumn, winter, early spring, late spring and summer.   

Profitable Feeding Systems  

The Profitable Feeding Systems program aims to educate farmers how to best utilise the resources on their farm to maximise home grown feed and hence profitability. It offers tools in feedbase planning and management to ultimately improve performance. The program provides a catalyst to drive participation in other feedbase programs including Feeding Pastures for Profit. Workshops are generally held in spring and autumn with three workshops each season held across the region.


Focus area:

Farm Business Management

Farm Business Management Courses 

Workshops are delivered on two levels, Fundamentals and Analysis, offering farmers the opportunity to learn about financial management with the aim to improve farm business skills.

Delivered in small groups, the three workshops (each four hours in length) allow farmers to apply the skills gained directly to their own farm data.

Farm Business Fundamentals

Learning outcomes:

  • good record keeping systems
  • understand the difference between management and tax compliance
  • understanding the Standard Chart of Accounts
  • recognize business obligations – tax, banks, people and the law
  • prepare an annual farm budget
  • introduce participants to Dairy Australia’s DairyBase

Farm Business Analysis

Learning outcomes:

  • accurately interpret and analysis data DairyBase
  • industry comparison analysis of their business
  • review budgets and compare to actuals
  • prepare and interpret a balance sheet

Setting up the farm office

Learning outcomes:

  • tips from office managers on the best ways to set up your office
  • basic understanding to cloud based software
  • best methods for filing documents
Business Focus Farms 

The Business Focus Farms give farmers the opportunity to learn hands-on about key profit drivers and business management. The Business Focus Farmers are supposed by a support group, made up of farmers and service providers, as well as an experienced farm consultant. The group meets several times a year and focuses on increasing profitability on the Focus Farm.  

Discussion Group Support Program 

Dairy Discussion Groups have always been a great way for farmers to get together, catch up with neighbours, share experiences, thrash out new ideas and explore new technologies. Dairy Australia invests in group-based extension and practice change activities that support the adoption and application of new technology and best practices. Dairy Australia supports farmers to improve farm business management performance through Discussion Groups.


Focus area:

People

Young Dairy Network (YDN) 

The YDN caters to the needs of young farmers and service providers aged 18 - 40 in the region. The focus is on helping young farmers set up for the future and develop their leadership skills. The YDN holds various educational and social events per year. Regional YDN groups are based in Warrnambool, Corangamite, Colac and Glenelg.
YDN events in 2017 included:

  • Financing Your Farming Future events
  • trivia night
  • Healthy Hooves workshops
  • bull tour
DairySage 

The project aims to provide the Australian dairy industry with a sustainable framework to establish mentoring relationships by partnering experienced, inspirational and dynamic mentors with people from all sectors of the dairy industry. This includes farm, manufacture and service sectors. Partnerships are supported by a ‘mentoring manual’ and workshops. 

The People in Dairy Website  

This website forms the foundations of the people space within Dairy Australia. The website holds resources and information for all things people, employment and safety on farm.  

Farm Safety 

Dairy Australia has developed a Farm Safety Starter Kit (FSSK) and a Farm Safety Manual, which are both available to farmers and other industry personnel. The FSSK has been widely distributed to date and is in its third version. The Manual is set for release in early 2018, and will form the basis of a series of farm safety workshops.  

Employment Starter Kit Initiative 

The Employment Starter Kit initiative (ESKi) is a well-used resource within our industry.  It is an employment guide written and published by Dairy Australia.  The kit is available electronically on TPID website, as well as in form of a folder, for which updates are provided regularly.  

Employment Basics Workshops 

In 2017, Employment Basics workshops were developed and ran across the region. The workshops give attendees an overview of employment in a farming context and clarifies issues. These workshops will continue into 2018.  

Stepping Up, Stepping Back 

This program is designed to give both aspiring farmers and retiring farmers ideas on how to progress within the industry (step up), as well as plan for retirement (step back). The program is currently being remodelled and the new look program will include two workshops: one aimed at stepping up, the other at those stepping back. The stepping back workshop has been developed recently and will be launched in our region in the first half of 2018 titled ‘Getting your game plan’.  

HR Updates 

Every second year or as required, a HR update is run in the region for service providers, and farmers. These sessions utilise the skills of well-regarded industry professionals.  

HR Support 

Direct support is provided to farmers and service providers, in the form of email and phone queries. As time allows, farm visits are also performed giving one on one support to farmers with specific HR queries.  

Other Group Sessions 

Sessions relating to employment compliance, safety, share farming, leasing, succession planning and other related topics are conducted on request, particularly at discussion groups and other industry meetings.  


Focus area:

Land, Water, Carbon

Fert$mart 

The Fert$mart project demonstrates that retaining nutrients on-farm makes good financial and environmental sense.

Workshops and one-to-one farm visits are used to improve farmer skills and capacity to adopt sustainable and profitable nutrient management practices. The Fert$mart workshop component teaches the 4R’s concept - applying the Right source of nutrients in the Right place, at the Right rate and Right time - to meet plant requirements and optimise production. Detailed nutrient management plans and maps produced for each farm following extension work, enable participants to better understand and account for the recycling and redistribution of nutrients within their dairy enterprise.  


Special Events

Dairy Awards 

Over the past twelve years the Great South West Dairy Awards have become a regular event in the dairy industry calendar. The Awards set out to recognise and reward the skill, dedication, leadership, ingenuity and environmental responsibility of our farming community in south west Victoria.

In 2017 the Awards recognised dairy farmers in the south west in the following categories:

  • Gardiner Dairy Foundation Farm Business Manager of the Year (Runner-up sponsored by GreenCon)
  • Dairy Australia Employer of the Year (Runner-up sponsored by GreenCon)
  • Murray Goulburn Employee of the Year (Runner-up sponsored by GreenCon)
  • Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Young Farm Leader (Runner up sponsored by Fonterra)
  • Cowbank Share Farmer of the Year
  • Colac, Wannon and Corangamite UDV Branches Natural Resource and Sustainability Manager of the Year
  • Dairy Farm Photo
  • Dairy Industry Honour Board
Sungold Field Days 

This year, WestVic Dairy joined together with AgVic and the UDV to provide an interactive Dairy Farmer Central hub to display and promote our services at the Sungold Field Days.

Ladies Lunch 

The Ladies’ Luncheon brings together up to 300 ladies to relax, reflect and rejuvenate while enjoying an inspiring speaker to enlighten and drive the passion for dairy farming. The luncheon provides a valuable opportunity for ladies to network with those involved in other dairy farming businesses and industry representatives. 

Innovation Day

WestVic Dairy’s inaugural Innovation Day was held in September this year.

The one day event was designed to equip dairy farmers and service providers with information, contacts and skills to advance their business.

The event aimed to provide opportunities for skill development and networking through:

  • Delivering key messages that expose the industry to innovation and new technologies
  • Demonstrating different farming processes and potential development options for the future
  • Promoting dairying opportunities and success stories
  • Understanding industry investment in research and development
Blokes BBQ 

The Blokes BBQ has been held for the past two years as a social activity aiming to bring farmers together. Light hearted speakers delivered key messages on leadership, health and well-being.  

Phone a farmer 

The phone a farmer project was developed over the last 12 months.

The project involves contacting western Victorian dairy farmers to explain the roles and services offered to farmers. The calls provide an opportunity to update our database records and ensure farmers receive relevant and timely information. 

 

Major Initiatives

Focus Farms

Dairy Australia has established a network of Focus Farms to support farmer decision making. Find out how Focus Farms looks at the factors impacting decisions at any point in time, including seasonal and market conditions.

DataGene

DataGene is an independent and industry-owned organisation responsible for driving genetic gain and herd improvement in the Australian dairy industry and is an initiative of Dairy Australia and industry.

More Initiatives