Industry gets a boost
THE dairy industry in south-east Queensland is set to benefit from a new research centre opened at UQ Gatton this week.
The new $7 million dollar research centre has been jointly developed by the University of Queensland (UQ) and the Queensland Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation (DEEDI).
The centre aims to focus on research, development, extension and education in sub-tropical dairy production which will be particularly relevant for farmers in south-east Queensland and northern New South Wales.
UQ Pro-Vice-Chancellor Alan Rix said the research dairy would allow the development of on-farm strategies to assist dairy farmers in Australia's northern areas to improve their productivity and profitability.
"It is the only facility of its kind in Australia focused on a sub-tropical feed base and it will provide research, development and education for the national and international dairy industries," Professor Rix said.
The Gatton Research Dairy has been an important part of UQ's Gatton campus for many years but the latest upgrade has vastly improved its facilities and improved its energy efficiency.
Professor Rix said the new centre, when combined with $100 million facilities in Veterinary Science and the $33 million Centre for Advanced Animal Science, will see the UQ Gatton become a hub of national importance for research and learning in animal science.
"The Gatton Research Dairy will provide expertise in the areas of nutrition, forage production, business management, reproductive management, animal health and welfare, animal physiology and biochemistry," Professor Rix said.
The managing director of Agri-Science Queensland John Chapman said DEEDI's dairy research facilities, previously located at Mutdapilly, south-west of Ipswich, had been relocated to the upgraded centre at Gatton.
Mr Chapman said UQ's collaboration with DEEDI on the project would drive a new era in the state's dairy industry.
"The facility will provide a centralised access point to most of the farms in south-east Queensland," Mr Chapman said.
"About 60% of Queensland dairy farms are within a 90 minute radius of this centre."
New facilities at the Gatton Research Dairy include an increased number of more energy efficient milking units to support the larger herd of 250 milking cows, along with a new calf-rearing facility is designed to optimise calf welfare and growth rates.
There are also new pens for feeding and nutrition-based research and an animal handling area for dairy cow research sampling.