Improving environmental outcomes for intensive animal industries - 2018 symposium

In December 2018, over 140 delegates from around the world gathered at Agriculture Victoria's Centre for AgriBioscience in Bundoora, to attend a symposium exploring the changing nature of intensive animal production systems.

Hosted by Agriculture Victoria, this two-day event covered a range of subjects under the banner of improving environmental outcomes for intensive animal industries.

International and domestic speakers delved into a range of areas, including:

  • the changing nature of animal production systems
  • managing atmospheric and water quality impacts
  • getting better value from manure
  • developing effective research-based policy and regulation.

Victoria's growing livestock industries

Victoria's major livestock industries — dairy, beef cattle, poultry, pig, and sheep — each play a critical role in providing a livelihood for thousands of Victorian farmers. The animal industries employ around 52,000 people in regional Victoria.

This growing sector is vital to the regional economy and currently contributes around 60 per cent ($7.6 billion) of the total value of agricultural production.

A sustainable future

With demand for protein increasing globally, the connection between science and policy will be critical in defining the best way to sustainably grow Victoria's animal industries.

The symposium provided opportunity to explore the latest thinking in this space and was reflective of our focus to drive economic development in a way that also protects the environment and long-term interests of all Victorians.

The symposium is just one of the ways we recognise and support innovation in the food and fibre industries — a fast-growing sector with huge potential for growth.


[Mike Gooey:] Look, today's a fantastic day at AgriBio. We've got people from just about everywhere, from Denmark, New Zealand, the States, Canada, all over and we're here to talk about a range of opportunities that sit with intensive animals management, from manure management through to climate change and carbon management and nitrogen. So it's a great opportunity for people to come and talk about things but also connect up ideas, and that's the importance of symposiums like this.

[Dr Karl Richards:] I think events like this are really interesting in that you get to share ideas and, I suppose, see common approaches to improving sustainability of agricultural systems, learn from each other and share your expertise.

[Dr Cecile de Klein:] I'm really looking forward and have already heard really interesting things about how Australia is dealing with environmental issues, the research that's going on, but also the challenges that Australia particularly is facing, and actually I started to think a little bit about already how we in New Zealand could utilise some of the information coming out. [Music]

[Professor Lin Ma:] The livestock production in China increased very fast, especially for intensive breeding systems, then the big challenge is about manure management. Therefore, I think this symposium is really important for me to learn with case studies in Australia and other countries.

[Dr Karl Richards:] So in Ireland we're very similar. So while our climates might be a little bit different, the systems — and I suppose how those systems are organised and run and arranged — are very similar, which means the challenges that we're facing are very similar in terms of how do we get carbon-neutral dairy products from our farms, how do we improve water quality. Difficult questions and global questions that everybody in temperate systems are trying to answer.

[Mike Gooey:] It's really important that we work with industry with our scientists and also with our policymakers to make sure that we can help the industry drive its productivity and profitability for the future.

[Music] Authorised by Victorian Government, 1 Treasury Place, Melbourne

Videos from the symposium

You can watch all videos from the 2018 symposium on YouTube.

Page last updated: 19 Jun 2020