The State Government has committed $1million to build a new state-of-the-art dairy at the Vasse Research Centre to support Western Australia’s dairy industry in the South-West.
South-West Minister Norm Marlborough said the Department of Agriculture and Food’s new dairy would replace an existing 21-year-old facility, and make use of the latest in electronic technologies for milking, management and monitoring of the dairy herd.
“The dairy will be funded from the sale of excess land, however the State Government is advancing the money so the project can begin immediately,” Mr Marlborough said.
Tenders for the construction of the dairy closed recently and are currently being assessed, and the project should be completed early in 2007.
The Minister said the dairy industry was vitally important to the South-West and the WA economy, generating close to $78.3million in exports in 2004-05.
The industry was adapting to the challenges of a deregulated market and slimmer margins with some producers opting to scale-up their operations into large farm businesses.
“The research and development efforts need to be relevant to scaled-up dairy production, including the management of large herds, intensification of pasture production and grazing management, and the use of modern electronic technologies for cow identification,” Mr Marlborough said.
“The existing Vasse dairy facilities were not set up to manage the current type of intensive and large-scale work, including the new Greener Pastures research project.”
The Greener Pastures project aims to provide dairy farmers with tools to increase the profitability and sustainability of nitrogen use on dairy farms.
It promotes better pasture use, fodder quality and improved milk quality, as well as managing environmental risks associated with broad scale nutrient pollution.
Mr Marlborough said the new purpose-built dairy would be able to accommodate 40 cows in the shed at any time, meaning that up to 500 cows could be milked in routine dairy operations, directly benefiting research activities.
The Minister said the new rapid-exit dairy would provide a number of automated efficiencies including milk recording, grain feeding, drafting using electronic ear tag identification, data collection and cleaning for the vat and milking machine. It would also have a larger 9,000 litre vat capacity.
“The State Government is ensuring regional WA receives its fair share,” Mr Marlborough said.
Minister's office: 9213 6500