The two main research and innovation programs that Dairy Australia invests in are DairyBio and DairyFeedbase.
A relatively small amount of levy money investment (15 per cent of the total of these programs) has attracted a significant amount of additional funding from Agriculture Victoria and the Gardiner Dairy Foundation.
Launched in 2016 the DairyBio program is based at the AgriBio facility at Bundoora on the outskirts of Melbourne.
DairyBio’s team of research scientists are focused on delivering farmer benefits through the use of bioscience to drive genetic gain – in both animal and forage – and herd improvement in the Australian dairy industry.
DairyBio includes research and International collaborations with universities, industry and farmer organisations.
To enable the DairyBio programs to get the innovation to farm, they partner with organisations such as DataGene, BarenBrug Agriseeds and other investors.
The money that is generated from these collaborations helps to fund on-going DairyBio research.
DairyBio forages is focused on developing and delivering high-yielding, highly palatable and highly persistent pastures.
This innovation will enable improved pasture utilisation on farm – including increased availability and intake for grazing animals – driving improved animal productivity and farm profitability.
DairyBio Forage research has the potential to increase on-farm income by $800 per hectare.
The DairyBio animal program is focused on delivering improved animal genetics, new improved traits, lower animal health costs and improved reliability and confidence in Australian Breeding Values.
The DairyBio Animal Program research has the potential to increase on-farm income by $350/cow/year.
DairyFeedbase focuses on applied research to gain individual cow, herd feeding and forage productivity improvements.
These projects are mainly based at Agriculture Victoria’s Ellinbank and Hamilton research farms where the research is conducted on the commercial dairy farm and large-scale pasture plots.
The DairyFeedbase projects are only 21 months into a five-year program.
A significant route to farm is through the Dairy Australia regional extension and service adviser networks, and where required, commercial agreements are being put in place to take innovation to farmers.
The DairyFeedbase program has the potential to deliver returns to the industry excess of $100 million a year within 10 years.
This bioscience and applied research innovation framework has already enabled significant advances and benefits to be delivered for Australian dairy farmers.
Key on-farm innovation successes
DairyBio Animal Program – first in the world to incorporate a heat tolerance breeding value into breeding index.
DairyFeedbase — increased profit of 72 cents per cow per day in ‘first 100 days’ with innovative supplementary feed management and a benefit of additional $1 per cow per day for the rest of the lactation.
DairyBio Animal Program – developing eight new ABVs including gestational length and mastitis – two of the biggest challenges for farmers.
DairyFeedbase – Smart Feeding – Innovative feeding can produce up to an extra daily 5 litres of milk per cows for some cows in some herds.
DairyFeedbase – Pasture Smarts – Currently on-farm proving of prototypes for automated technology measuring pasture dry matter and other pasture characteristics.
DairyFeedbase – Future Forage Value Index – Benchmarking pasture cultivars for optimal performance for different regions.
DairyBio Animal Program – Selecting sires using the Balanced Performance Index (BPI) incorporating a number of different traits in the ABVs – which utilises DairyBio genetic research. This can result in high BPI daughters delivering an additional $300 per cow more on farm.
DairyBio Animal Program – MIR (mid infra-red) technology – shining a light through milk is enabling targeted management, selection and culling decisions.