By Mitchell Clarke
A Gippsland research facility could become the world’s first carbon-neutral dairy farm.
The 231-hectare, 500-cow farm in Ellinbank, south of Warragul, is Australia’s leading dairy innovation facility, fast-tracking innovative technologies in a research environment that is also accessible to the dairy industry.
The ‘SmartFarm’, which was funded through the State Government’s $5 million Smarter, Safer Farms initiative, was officially opened on Wednesday 13 January.
Agriculture Minister Mary-Anne Thomas, who was in town for the opening, said the project was a “perfect example” of innovative next-generation farming.”It’s really exciting to see the work being done here to make Victorian farming stronger,” Ms Thomas said.
“An important part of the work being done here is making it accessible to industry, so that knowledge can immediately be put to use on-farm – this will mean instant effects on efficiency, productivity and costs.”
Onsite research projects will focus on improving the health and welfare of cows, optimising homegrown feed, increasing the production performance of cows and sustainably increasing annual milk production.
The State Government also stated the SmartFarm is becoming carbon-neutral by reducing methane emissions, improving fertiliser and manure management, and generating electricity through several options including solar, wind, hydro and bio-digestion.
The farm will eventually be home to the Agriculture Energy Demonstration and Education program.
It’s hoped the farm will be opened to visitors later this year.