The Victorian government has launched DairyBio21-26, a $55 million, five-year research partnership with the dairy industry as part of its Transformational Agriculture Strategy.
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Victorian scientists will be working on methods to reduce the environmental footprint of the Australian dairy cow and to create a more profitable and sustainable dairy sector.

The $55 million partnership will fund scientific research focusing on genetic improvements in animals and forage species. The initiative is supported by Dairy Australia and the Gardiner Dairy Association.

Victorian agriculture miniter Mary-Anne Thomas said: “DairyBio21-26 will support our world-leading scientists to meet the challenges facing our dairy industry head-on and to deliver practical solutions to our dairy farmers as they adjust to operating under a changing climate.”

Australia’s dairy industry is led by Victoria. It is valued at $2.1 billion and accounts for 77 per cent of the nation’s dairy exports. The gross value of milk produced in Victoria is worth $2.7 billion.

It also contributes around 1.6 per cent of total national greenhouse gas emissions.

It has been forecast that climate change as well as trade issues mean the dairy industry needs to increase productivity by 1.5 per cent a year to remain profitable.

The funding from DairyBio21-26 will support scientists in their research to target an additional value of $200 per cow each year for Australian dairy herds by 2040. This strategy will be achieved through genetic improvements to make cows live longer and produce less emissions – resulting in reduced costs.

Dairy Australia chair James Mann said DairyBio21-26 will improve the herd and pastures.

“New inventions, matched with real industry needs and support from across government and commercial sector are what excite us at Dairy Australia,” said Mann.

The goal of the project is to provide farmers with the tools and information to breed and feed cows that produce more milk, healthier calves, reduce methane levels and increasing the industry value is the end goal of this research partnership, he said.

Gardiner Dairy Foundation chair Dr Len Stephens said: “The next five years of DairyBio will bring about a broader range of outputs, including some exciting new forage cultivars, that will deliver sustained value to dairy farmers,” said Stephens.

Thirteen congressional members from New England are urging the U.S. Department of Agriculture to intervene on behalf of farmers left in the lurch by Danone SA, the French food giant that owns the Horizon Organic brand.

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