Adapting Dairy Farm Systems

Project Background

The Adapting Dairy Farm Systems project began in 2019 and aims to provide dairy farmers with information and resources to support them to make well-informed decisions when considering new feeding and housing systems.

The Australian dairy industry is currently in a state of unprecedented and rapid transformation, with numerous dairy businesses in northern and southwest Victoria, inland New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia making changes in the production system to address evolving feedbase and climatic pressures.

Without targeted and strategic support to facilitate farming system adjustment, there is significant risk parts of the dairy industry may not transition quickly enough, and farmers could make poor investment decisions.

This program has formed collaborative partnerships with Agriculture Victoria, Murray Dairy, NSW DPI and subject matter experts both within and outside of Australia. A National Feeding System Strategy Advisory Committee (a community within dairy Moving Forward) has also been established to serve as a consultative group for work around feeding and housed systems Research, Development and Extension (RD&E) priorities and provide constructive technical and strategic advice in this area.

Project Objective

The objective of the Adapting Dairy Farm Systems program is to provide Australian dairy farmers with information and resources that will support them to make well informed decisions when designing and using cattle feeding and housing systems, to ensure profitability is maximised and risks are minimised. Specifically, the program will:

  • Provide farmers (and their advisers) access to robust and evidence-based information to support their decision making as they contemplate change in the areas of feedbase alternatives, cattle feeding infrastructure and housing infrastructure.
  • Provide farmers access to a decision support process that will identify and mitigate risks before any capital is invested and farm systems changes are enacted. This decision support process may also be used to optimise infrastructure management post investment.
  • Provide farmers with access to Australian based service providers with recognised expertise and skills in the areas of intensive farming systems or cattle housing design.
  • Provide industry recognition and support for the farmers currently using or intending to move their businesses towards forms of intensive feeding system and/or housing system.

Project Activities

Adapting Dairy Farm System program areas of research, development and extension:

Feeding & Housing System Descriptions

Due to a combination of mitigating factors such as constraints around irrigation water availability and pricing, pasture persistence, varying climatic events, higher production cows, better feeding efficiencies there is a shift in some dairy farm systems towards more complex combinations of feedbase, feed delivery and herd management including cattle housing systems.

Good infrastructure investment relies on sound analysis of your available options. Descriptions of off-paddock facilities:

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