Western Dairy is one of eight Regional Development Programs that are spread throughout the nation’s key dairy areas and operates under the auspices of Dairy Australia.
Western Dairy has been operating since 1997 to guide the strategic direction and implementation of dairy research, education and promotion programs in the Western Australian region.
Western Dairy works closely with WA Farmers Dairy Section, the Department of Agriculture and Food WA, the South West Catchment Council, the Department of Environment; the Department of Water, together with WA dairy processors and service providers, in implementing its annual operating plan, in the best interests of WA dairy farmers.
Western Dairy is charged with:
- Ensuring responsible and timely use is made of the Dairy Service Levy paid by WA dairy farmers and where possible using these funds to lever additional monies that can then add further value to current and planned research projects;
- Participating in national priority setting and strategic planning of Farm RD&E;
- Identifying and facilitating regional projects and relationships providing benefit for the local dairy industry – RD&E; HR; and other areas;
- Building local community awareness and ownership of RD&E;
- Facilitating communication between the WA Dairy farmers and the WA dairy research and extension community;
- Advocating best practise in animal welfare, environmental management and business management in the interests of the long-term sustainability of the WA dairy sector
- Monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of all the above.
Key areas of operation
Western Dairy’s annual operating plan focuses on six key areas of operation:
- Animal Systems
- Human Resource and Farm Business Management
- Natural Resource Management
- Industry image
- Western Dairy operation and management
Western Dairy has been instrumental in the funding and/or delivery of a range of projects and initiatives. The list below is just a few examples of the many great projects we have facilitated:
- Dairy Innovation Day – the annual ‘dairy industry show window’ that showcases the latest information and technologies available to dairy farmers;
- Flexible Feeding Systems - a project that is evaluating the range of feeding management practices adopted on farms in WA. Critical success factors for each system will be identified along with an economic assessment of each that will provide farmers with a ‘check-list’ to assist with selection of a feeding system suited to their business needs.
- Greener Pastures – a project that looked at whole farm management systems with a particular focus on nitrogen, its role in increasing pasture production and quality and ways in which to ensure nitrogen management is in harmony with the environment;
- Nutrient Management Systems for Dairy Farms – a project that has demonstrated the cost benefit of whole farm soil testing and associated analysis to better match fertiliser application to soil and pasture needs;
- Dairy Traineeships – We have been responsible for linking the National Centre for Dairy Education Australia (NCDEA) with Great Southern Institute of Technology, in an initiative that facilitates nationally recognised and accredited training for the dairy industry at both a farm and manufacturing level;
- General training and information days – we convene numerous short courses around pastures, feeding, finances, animal husbandry;
- Animal Welfare Engagement Project – the development of a document designed to help farmers ‘make sense’ of the Animal Welfare National Standards and Guidelines;
- Leadership and youth programs – designed to nurture and develop our next generation of industry leaders;
- Understanding the cost benefit of on-farm compost programs – a project to help farmers utilise their waste resources and also understand the cost benefit of doing so.