A $6.5 million research partnership will boost the Australian dairy industry

A $6.5 million research partnership will boost the Australian dairy industry

Dairy
Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture dairy farm manager Bradley Millhouse and dairy leader James Hills.

Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture dairy farm manager Bradley Millhouse and dairy leader James Hills.

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Dairy Australia and the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture are focussing on nitrogen use.

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The Australian dairy industry is set to benefit from a new $6.5 million partnership between the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture and Dairy Australia.

The five-year agreement will deliver a national dairy research and industry development program, to drive profitability and sustainability for Australian dairy farmers.

TIA dairy leader Dr James Hills said the program - called Dairy HIGH 2 (short for 'high integrity grass-fed herds') - would focus on feedbase research.

It aims to help farmers maintain efficient, profitable and sustainable pasture-based dairy systems into the future.

"We are setting an ambitious target to help dairy farmers grow the same amount of dry forage matter from irrigated pasture, produce the same amount of milk solids per hectare, but halve the amount of nitrogen fertiliser," Dr Hills said.

Dairy Australia managing director Dr David Nation said the investment with TIA was an extension of a successful research partnership that had first commenced in 2012.

"The research is targeting significant sustainability gains in pasture production through efficient nitrogen fertiliser use and the reduction of a key input cost for dairy farms," Dr Nation said.

"It will directly benefit farmers in temperate pasture-based dairy regions across Australia."

A key part of the program will be the establishment of farmlets or 'mini farms' to test research theories under real farm conditions.

This innovative approach to research is not happening anywhere else in Australia.

It will involve managing four separate dairy herds under different pasture mixes at the TIA Dairy Research Facility in Elliott, Tasmania.

"The advantage of the farmlet approach is that it's focused on the whole farming system," Dr Hills said

"This means we can do a really good comparison of different scenarios to identify the benefits and issues that dairy farms will face on their properties.

"The results will be highly relevant to farmers, who will be able to see the outcome of the way the herd is managed, and the impact different approaches have on their entire business."

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