Milking it

04 January 2012

Deakin to help grow Western District dairy industry.

Deakin University and WestVic Dairy have teamed up to help grow the billion dollar Western District dairy industry.

As part of WestVic’s Driving Down The Track project, Warrnambool-based Deakin researcher Dr Vincent Versace will produce a “milk map” of the famous dairy region. 

Dr Versace, from the School of Information Systems, said that producing a map showing where milk is produced would help the industry to better understand the conditions conducive to dairying

"If the industry wants to maintain and expand its footprint it needs to know about the conditions that favour milk production and identify other areas that have similar traits," he said.

"We hope to create a full picture of where each dairy farm is and how much milk they are producing so we can build a model that identifies the type of soil, climate and other conditions that works for dairying.

"Then the industry can look at other areas that currently don't have dairying but could be suitable locations for future expansion."

WestVic Dairy’s Down The Track Project that first identifies the best 10 ways to grow the local industry, then implements them, hopes to lift milk production from 2.1 billion litres to three billion by 2020, a vital goal for not just the region but for Australia.

The south-west of Victoria is responsible for nearly a quarter of the nation’s milk.

So not surprisingly, dairying has long been one of  south-west Victoria's most significant industries.

The annual output from dairy products is $1.03 billion and from dairy cattle $835 million.

WestVic Dairy Executive Officer Mike Weise said it was important to have accurate data about the industry.

"It is difficult to build proposals to governments for funding unless you have good data in your submission," Mr Weise said.

"This information will help us to identify realistic opportunities for the growth to meet our targets in the Driving Down the Track strategy."

Western District dairy farm The south-west is responsible for nearly a quarter of the nation's milk.

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