Dairy Sustainability eNews


Data, tech and collaboration come together for new solutions

For Australia’s dairy sector, our goals and targets are not static. They are continually reviewed, revised, and updated – especially those related to and impacted by climate change. This is intentional, to reflect the pace of change and overall expectations of our key external stakeholders.
Australia’s dairy sector is benefiting from new technologies, better data and increased collaboration. Utilising and bringing them together is how we provide the evidence-base for a sustainable dairy sector – one that provides nutritious food for the long term.

Using breeding to reduce farm emissions

DataGene has introduced a new standalone breeding index called the Sustainability Index, enabling farmers to utilise genetics for reducing the intensity of greenhouse gas emissions. The higher an animal ranks on the index, the more efficient it is for emissions intensity.

Read more about the latest release of the Australian Breeding Values.

Did you know? Reducing emissions intensity means decreasing the amount of carbon generated, relative to total milk production.

Collaboration key to growth for agribusiness

Forty-five executives and leaders from across the food and agribusiness supply chain participated in the 2022 ‘traction program’, with a focus on circular economies. A tour of the Netherlands and Denmark included the world’s first floating dairy farm and the leading innovation centre for greenhouse horticulture. Australia’s Food and Agriculture Growth Centre partnered with KPMG to create the program.

Read the traction tour wrap-up and key messages.

Did you know? The Australian Dairy Sustainability Framework is a whole of industry collaboration, to provide nutritious food for a healthier world.

Biosecurity risks: Emergency Animal Disease response plan activated

Outbreaks of foot and mouth and lumpy skin disease in neighbouring countries have triggered activation of the dairy industries Emergency Animal Disease response plan. Farm biosecurity is a highly material topic for dairy, with the potential to disrupt production and interfere with livestock health. Co-industry collaboration involving working groups and task forces is in full swing, considering preparedness and how an outbreak would be managed.

Read the latest resources for pre- and post-farmgate on biosecurity at the Dairy Australia website.

Did you know? The Australian Dairy Sustainability Framework has a goal of 100 per cent of farmers having a documented biosecurity plan.

Better cattle health cut GHGs

The benefits to farmers of using better animal health to lower greenhouse gas emissions outweigh the costs. According to a new report produced by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), in collaboration with the Global Dairy Platform and Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases, with financial support from the New Zealand Government.

Read the full report from the United Nations.

Did you know? The Australian dairy industry includes animal health initiatives as part of the ways it is tackling climate change.

National collection and recycling scheme for silage plastic

A silage recycling scheme to support farmers in the disposal of silage plastic is being developed by Dairy Australia. Championed by Ian Olmstead, Program Manager for Manufacturing Innovation and Sustainability, a trial is currently underway with 100 farmers across western Victoria. In just two days of collections, the trial diverted almost 7.5 tonnes of plastic from landfill. Findings from the trial will inform the final design of the scheme, with an emphasis on farmer input to create a program that is practical, sustainable and commercially feasible.

Read about the silage plastic recycling scheme.

Did you know? The Australian dairy industry aims for all silage wrap to be recycled by 2030.

DISARM funding wraps up

Disseminating Innovative Solutions for Antibiotic Resistance Management has been a two- and half-year project to reduce antibiotic resistance in livestock. While the project wrapped up in June, it leaves behind many resources and materials including e-learning modules, videos and best practice guides.

See all the available resources from DISARM on livestock.

Did you know? Addressing antibiotic resistance is a goal of the Australian Dairy Sustainability Framework – the Australian dairy industry has a very low use of antibiotics compared to other nations.

Legislation shifting as climate commitments take effect

Legislation changes, as a result of climate commitments, are set to impact dairy farmers financially. In New Zealand, a new tax on livestock emissions will see farmers pay for methane generated by their livestock. The Netherlands is aiming to drastically reduce emissions but, being yet to demonstrate how such changes will be squared against the value of their dairy and livestock industries, proposed legislation is not supported by farmers. Sri Lanka showed the damage that can be caused when agricultural sectors do not have adequate time to learn, upskill and adapt to shifts in sustainability implementation.

Read about proposed legislation changes in New Zealand and the Netherlands.
Did you know? Australia’s dairy companies have reduced emissions intensity 25.5 per cent since 2010/11.

Vegetarians face up to 33 per cent higher risk of fracture

Vegetarian women see an elevated risk of hip fracture, compared to women that eat meat or fish. This is a key finding from a 20-year study of over 25,000 women in the UK, published by the University of Leeds. The study co-author explained: ‘this is an important step in understanding potential risks plant-based diets present… and what can be done to mitigate those risks.’

Read more about the study.

Did you know Australian dairy products provide a unique package of more than 10 essential nutrients – adding dairy foods to the diet of aged care residents has been found to reduce the rate of fractures and falls.

Also, in sustainability news 
Enriched milk power market to grow by nearly 80 per cent Edairy News
Sustainability Index now in use ABS Australia
Overshoot day, the number of days that Earth’s biocapacity suffices to provide for humanity’s ecological
Unlocking $200 billion value-add potential in food and agribusiness, Innovation Papers Online
Do labels help or hinder producers? ABC News
Coming up
Countdown is on for the European Dairy Association’s annual convention, November 24 and 25 in Madrid, Spain. The theme for 2022 is ‘Milk and dairy – essential for your life’. Register by August 30 for early bird pricing.

The International Dairy Federation’s World Dairy Summit is less than a month away – September 12–15 in New Delhi. Register now.

For global dairy sustainability news, see the latest eNews from the Global Dairy Platform and the latest Dairy Flash from the European Dairy Association.
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