Dairy Industry Fund

The Dairy Industry Fund was established by the NSW government to fund projects that contributed to the growth and efficiency of the NSW dairy industry. There were two rounds of funding available (2015 and 2017).

NSW Dairy Industry Fund projects

Dairy Innovation Australia Ltd was awarded $158,808 in 2015 to establish a network for small dairy processors in NSW. The project was completed in July 2016.

The project delivered a series of workshops for small dairy processors, created technical resources and achieved network membership of 41 processors. Due to circumstances unrelated to the project, DIAL was wound up following completion of the project and consequently there was no leading organisation that was able to maintain the network moving forward.

Dairy NSW was awarded $168,375 in 2015 to “engage dairy farmers in NSW with exemplars, resources and support systems to build their awareness, understanding and confidence to plan incremental and sustainable change/s to improve their farm business performance”. The project was completed in late 2017.

The project delivered a series of five case studies and associated industry engagement activities focussed on Dairy Moving Forward’s priorities: animal performance; people; feedbase and animal nutrition; farm business management; land, water, carbon.

The key output was a series of case studies published as e-books and several video testimonials. Industry engagement activities included farm walks and presentations and a panel session with all five case study farms at the 2017 Dairy Research Foundation annual NSW dairy industry conference.

The Dairy Research Foundation was awarded $48,400 in 2015 to lead a whole of industry process to develop a NSW strategic plan that would provide industry and government with a plan to positively develop the NSW dairy industry for the benefit of industry participants, regional economies and the citizens of NSW. The plan was intended to represent the issues and challenges the industry faced within this plan and form the basis of collaborative action into the future, clarifying relative priorities and the roles of organisations and regions in enacting this plan.

The Dairy Research Foundation established the Collective Industry Action Group, with representatives from across industry, and the purpose of developing a strategy to grow and develop the dairy industry in NSW. The Strategic Action Plan was launched by Minister Blair in March 2016.

The launch of the plan was followed soon after by events that culminated in Murray Goulburn retrospectively dropping prices paid to farmers, followed by reductions from all processors. These events undermined the vision of industry growth.

The NSW Dairy Industry Strategic Action Plan informed the 2017 Dairy Industry Fund call for projects and has more recently informed the work of the NSW Dairy Advocate and dairy industry advisory panel in developing the soon to be released NSW Dairy Industry Action Plan.

Harris Park Group Pty Ltd was awarded $158,300 for TechKISS, a project that aimed to help dairy farmers ‘get what they want’ from individual cow management technologies: auto-drafting, computerised bail feeding, in-line milk meters and activity meters. Using these technologies on farms has the potential to significantly increase productivity in key management areas such as feeding, milk quality, cow health and quality assurance. The NSW DPI Dairy unit was a collaborator on this project.

Information was compiled from 141 dairy farmers, 20 tech suppliers & 35 advisers in 2018 and 2019 to identify the extent of technology use, and ‘tips and traps’ around having it work on farm. The TechKISS Project report includes findings in seven areas that the project team believe have significant implications for industry:

  • Technology use by farmers
  • Available products
  • Integration of technology on farm
  • Support services for technology
  • Herd level productivity gains
  • Use of technology by animal health advisers
  • Animal health metrics

In addition to the project report, the project produced a series of fact sheets, videos and a “technology matrix” of technology and suppliers, all published on the project web pages and made available on the NSW DPI Dairy website too.

Murray Dairy was awarded $265,000 for a project delivered in partnership with Dairy NSW, Subtropical Dairy, Murray Local Land Services and NSW DPI to accelerate adoption of farm business management practices. The aims of the project were to:

  • Identify current barriers to adoption (technical, physical and social)
  • Assess current program offerings
  • Design targeted, attractive and effective programs addressing key skill, knowledge and motivation gaps
  • Build Farm Business Management capability and capacity of NSW service sector; and
  • Deliver Farm Business Management programs based on market research findings.

The project has undertaken a survey of industry and desktop audit of farm business management programs to identify barriers to adoption and design a program of activities to support farmers and service providers. Other activities undertaken to date include workshops for farmers, workshops for service providers, one-on-one support sessions for farmers and group activities for farmers. This project is due to be completed by 31st December 2021.

Dairy NSW was awarded $164,450 for a project delivered in partnership with Subtropical Dairy and Murray Dairy. The aim of the project was to “reduce the growing voluntary employee turnover rate of the NSW dairy industry and to promote sustainable succession of dairy industry leaders” by:

  • increasing awareness and engagement by young employees with career opportunities provided by the NSW dairy industry
  • providing structured and engaging career development plans for NSW dairy youth
  • sustaining consistent supply of dairy leaders actively involved in championing the industry

However, following research undertaken by the project team in phase one of the project, the project team recommended a change in the objective to focus of the employers of farm labour (rather than employees).

The amended objective was: ‘to develop an extension piece focusing on farm level leadership and culture, with the purpose of enhancing staff engagement and retention, and further fostering an awareness and desire to pursue advanced leadership opportunities across the NSW dairy supply chain’. A revised project plan was approved by the Dairy Industry Fund committee.

The project developed and delivered a series of highly successful leadership development activities for dairy farmers, called “Farming My Team”. The project is currently being finalised and it is understood Dairy Australia is considering funding a national roll-out of Farming My Team.

NSW DPI’s Tocal Agricultural College was awarded $25,000 to develop three online learning modules to support Dairy Australia’s Farm Business Management Fundamentals training program. This allowed for blended delivery of the training program. The NSW DPI Dairy unit was a key collaborator on this project.

The modules are The Dairy Office - Getting organised, Standard Chart of Accounts and The Balance Sheet.

The University of Melbourne’s Cariology Research Group was awarded $50,000 to undertake a clinical trial that assessed whether soy drink increases the risk of tooth decay as suggested in preliminary research.

The project involved a double-blind randomized crossover in situ study to compare the effect of soy drink with cows’ milk on the demineralisation/remineralisation of enamel subsurface lesions. The results of the study were published in the Journal of Dentistry with the following findings:

  • “Conclusions: In this randomized, double-blind in situ clinical trial consumption of a soy beverage demineralized enamel whereas bovine milk produced remineralization.”
  • “Clinical Significance: Although soy beverages are promoted as healthy alternatives to bovine milk the added sugar and low calcium bioavailability of the soy drink makes frequent consumption a caries risk.”