The Dairy Transition project is backed by a $556,000 investment from the state government. Agriculture Victoria specialists have also provided advice and support for dairy farmers, allowing them to move away from traditional grazing systems. This boosts farm profitability and better supports animal welfare and the environment.
An example of where this is being implemented is Mark and Kaylene Walpole’s dairy farm at Yielima, which will be modernised to adapt to climate change and other seasonal challenges through installing dairy freestalls with self-composting bedding and improved cow comfort.
“The Dairy Transition project is helping Victorian farmers navigate their way through this rapid period of change and modernisation, to ensure the sector continues to move ahead with resilience and confidence,” Victorian minister for Agriculture Mary-Anne Thomas said.
“I encourage all dairy farmers to take part in this project, by thinking of new ways they can transition into modern technologies and innovative methods to adapt to the challenges of climate change.”
Through the Dairy Transition project, some Victorian dairy farmers have implemented robotic milkers replacing their ageing milking facilities. At Macorna, north-west of Echuca, a dairy business has put into use an eight-unit robotic dairy and compost barn which is capable of housing and milking nearly 500 cows.
Other projects include modernising dairy housing systems which reuse water, recycle manure for bedding and can be adapted to capture methane for energy.
To help farmers navigate the complexities associated with transitioning to new production systems or adopting new technologies, Agriculture Victoria has partnered with industry to develop the National Dairy Feedpad and Contained Housing Guidelines.
“Dairy farmers are embracing new technology and practices at an unprecedented rate, which is why the Dairy Transition project is so timely and important,” member for Northern Victoria Jaclyn Symes said.
While the industry has been challenged by dry seasonal conditions and financial stress in recent years it is bouncing back, particularly in the state’s north where there has been a significant improvement in farm profits and a significant uptake of new and emerging farm technologies.
In 2020-21 the state government supported 80 dairy farm modernisation developments worth $577 million, which significantly increased milk production and created new jobs.