The Western Dairy study tour group to Victoria will next week be treated to a tour of Australia’s leading dairy innovation facility (owned by Agriculture Victoria), Ellinbank SmartFarm in Gippsland.

The SmartFarm has the ambitious target of being the world’s first carbon-neutral dairy farm and is the hub for Dairy Australia’s Dairy Feedbase research projects.

Victorian study tour attendees will be updated on the five current key research areas of Dairy Feedbase:

  1. Pasture Smarts – Developing pasture measurement technologies for near real time information. 
  2. Smart Feeding – Understanding individual animal intake at grazing and developing strategies for more uniform intake across the herd. 
  3. First 100 Days – Nutritional strategies to optimise intake and performance in early lactation while reducing metabolic problems. 
  4. Forage Value Index Futures – Selecting the right cultivar. 
  5. Feeding Cool Cows – Developing nutritional strategies to reduce heat stress in dairy cows.

Dairy Feedbase is overseen by Kevin Argyle, Director Major Innovation at Dairy Australia. The research aims to deliver economic benefits through easy-to-use digital tools, real-time information to improve decision-making in the paddock and practical ways to strategically allocate feed at both herd and individual cow level.

Given climate change and the impact it is having on both sides of Australia, the tour of Ellinbank SmartFarm could not be more timely. “No one farm system is the same and we are seeing a huge variation as a result of climate change,” Mr Argyle said. 

As well as being co-director of Dairy Feedbase, Mr Argyle is also co-director of DairyBio, the dairy industry’s leading animal and forage bioscience research program located at AgriBio on La Trobe University campus.

Western Dairy tour attendees will also tour AgriBio and hear what DairyBio is delivering for farmers in medium to longer-term transformational research and innovation into animals and forage. 

Mr Argyle believes West Australian dairy farmers will benefit from the current research coming out of DairyBio. “We are looking further into warm season pasture species and the aim of breeding cows with improved longevity and resilience to climate change,” he said. 

Both Dairy Feedbase and DairyBio are a joint venture between Dairy Australia, Agriculture Victoria and the Gardiner Foundation.

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