The new Gatton Research Dairy is the only facility of its kind in Australia, focused on a sub-tropical feed base
The new Gatton Research Dairy is the only facility of its kind in Australia, focused on a sub-tropical feed base
5 March 2012

Huge benefits will flow to the dairy industry from a new $7 million research centre that was officially opened at Gatton today.

The University of Queensland and the Queensland Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation have jointly developed the new centre as a focus for research, development, extension and education in subtropical dairy production.

The centre’s work is expected to 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 had been an important part of UQ’s Gatton campus for many years but the latest upgrade had vastly improved its facilities and improved its energy efficiency.

“The new facilities further reinforce UQ Gatton as one of the most advanced precincts in the southern hemisphere for animal science learning and research,” said Professor Rix.

“When you combine the investment in this dairy with the new $100 million facilities in Veterinary Science and the $33 million Centre for Advanced Animal Science — funded jointly by UQ and the Queensland Government —UQ Gatton is a hub of national importance for research and learning in animal science.”

“The Gatton Research Dairy will be able to 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.

UQ’s collaboration with DEEDI on the project would drive a new era in the state’s dairy industry, Mr Chapman said.

“The facility will provide a centralised access point to most of the farms in south-east Queensland.

“About 60 per cent of Queensland dairy farms are within a 90-minute radius of this centre.

“The facility will allow the dairy industry to conduct more comprehensive research and deliver better extension services.

“With our partners, we plan to undertake research and development into a number of areas, including enhanced and sustainable subtropical and tropical feeding systems, adaptation to climate change and dairy business development, and education and training programs.

“The goal is to develop on-farm strategies designed to improve the productivity and profitability of the dairy industry in Queensland. “

New facilities at the Gatton Research Dairy include an increased number of milking units to support the larger herd of 250 milking cows, including more energy efficient equipment.

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.

A new feed mill and concrete silage pits, feedpad and shade structures will allow research into a range of forage production systems. A new irrigation system will improve water use and labour efficiency.

Media: Erin Pearl, UQ Gatton, ph 07 5460 1229, 0409 265 587; DEEDI, Sian Fullerton, 3239 3052