Industry milks US for advice
A leading American-based expert specialising in large-scale dairy farming systems has met WA dairy leaders to examine growth opportunities for the sector.
Raymond Hunter's visit was arranged as part of the Department of Agriculture and Food visiting specialist program.
Dr Hunter owns Emerald Agriculture, a business that has worked across more than 20 countries providing managerial and technical support services, primarily to large-scale agrifood businesses.
He also sits on the advisory committee of Global Dairy Farmers, a network of leading dairy farmers from all over the world who discuss strategies to respond to new policy measures, legislation and market developments.
The State's dairy sector accounts for about four per cent of national production and is currently focused on producing fresh milk for the domestic market with the surplus processed for export.
Department Livestock Industries executive director Kevin Chennell said Dr Hunter was working with the department's dairy transformation team and the dairy industry in WA to look at expansion options, in particular large-scale production systems, to target export markets.
"Our work has indicated it is plausible to develop major new supply chains and systems in Western Australia to meet sustainable export demand for fresh milk and whole milk powder," Dr Chennell said.
"The department is working closely with industry to capitalise on these opportunities and Dr Hunter's visit is a key example of this."
While in Western Australia, Dr Hunter spent time in the South West visiting leading dairy farms and presenting at producer and industry workshops.
"I have been impressed at how efficiently WA dairy farmers feed concentrates to their cows," Dr Hunter said.
"Given the right long-term market price signals, the industry can expand based on its strengths which include passionate producers, a high-quality milk product, a large feed base, reliable climate and a healthy herd."
Following the producer workshop, Western Dairy vice chair Victor Rodwell said the WA dairy industry could not afford to stand still.
"We need to be constantly adapting to the changing production environment, and Raymond's presentation has certainly provided us with options to consider," Mr Rodwell said.
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