Innovation doubles milk production in Victoria's dairy industry transcript
Voice Over: Victoria's Department of Primary Industries and Dairy Australia recently conducted an evaluation of the contribution of the last 30 years of farm research, development and extension (R,D&E) to Victoria's Dairy Industry.
Dr Bruce Kefford: Dairy is our largest agricultural industry in Victoria, generating over $2 billion worth of exports and it also dominates the national production and export production.
Governments and industry spend a lot of money on research, development and extension which generates significant benefits. In the 1980s the industry was suffering from very difficult economic conditions and milk pricing arrangements which were inhibiting its competitiveness. It is now a vastly more competitive industry because of the reforms that were undertaken right through to 2000 that de-regulated the industry. We have also seen significant changes in the scale and sophistication of the farming systems which again make it much more competitive.
In a period where we have seen declining terms of trade and quiet a few years of drought, milk yield from the industry has doubled. I think this is a remarkable performance. We have seen per cow production double, stocking rates increase and the yield per hectare triple during that time. This has been achieved through much larger farm scale, better farm systems and much better feed production and feed conversion efficiency.
R, D & E adds to the contributions from farmers themselves, inputs suppliers and processors, and it accounts for about half the gains we have made in this study. The cost benefit ratio is about $3.30 benefit for every $1.00 investment by governments and industry.
The three major areas of improvement have been in the production and utilisation in feed, both in the pasture area and supplements area, and also improved cow efficiency in terms of feed conversion efficiency. We have also seen gains in animal health and the natural resource management areas.
Mr Ian Halliday: I was really pleased with the outcomes of the 30 year mega evaluation. It was a wonderful piece of work that really analysed in depth around some of the key research that has been undertaken over the last 30 years. I think we will use those findings to help inform priorities into the future, where we might invest in a collective sense, in a collaborative sense and I am talking about investors ranging from government investors to private enterprise to organisations like Dairy Australia, and particularly under the National R, D & E Framework that has been established that we've titled "Dairy Moving Forward",
I certainly see the opportunities in the future as wonderful for the industry. We know from a demand perspective, both domestically as well as internationally, there is strong demand growth. I think we have some really exciting technologies coming through for example robotic milking, voluntary milking of cows and genetic research around animal performance and plant performance, so some great technologies that are coming through. Linked to that are some of the initiatives we have got with people, about attracting, retaining and developing people so they can make the most of the technologies. I think it really does all go well for the future for the industry.