Advanced Dairy Production and Technology (VETS8032)


This unit will explore the various aspects of dairy farming and the dairy industry from a scientific point of view. The lectures are a mix of the principles on which sound dairy farming is based and practical examples of how this operates in practice. Focus is placed on integrating knowledge to gain understanding on the system of production as a whole.
At the end of this unit of study, students will demonstrate a solid understanding of: the characteristics of the dairy industry in Australia and in a world wide context; the key components of pasture-based dairy systems; principles and practices of pasture and feeding management; the application of new technologies to improve efficiency and productivity (particularly automatic milking).
In addition, students will demonstrate an appreciation of key aspects of reproduction and lactation physiology; the integration of knowledge of genetics and reproduction into the type of herd improvement structure set up in the dairy industry; the application of ruminant physiology knowledge to developing feeding programs for dairy cows; the extension of basic reproductive physiology onto the dairy farm using case studies as examples; the economics of the dairy farm business. Practical classes include milking cows; grazing and feeding management of dairy cows; calf rearing; and visits to commercial farms ranging from small pasture-based dairy farms to a feed-lot operation milking over 2,000 cows.
Note 1: Pracs assessments marks will be a combination of assistance (0.4) and completion of short questionaries about the prac or the farm visit (0.6)
Note 2: the professional report is basically a dairy system planning exercise reported in a professional (non academic) style. Students will be given budgeting tools and full explanations to assist with this task at the beginning of the course. The report is individual although this may depend on number of students enrolled.

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Further unit of study information


Lectures up to 3 hrs/wk, practicals 3 hrs/wk


Whole farm professional report (30%), Pracs assessments, (30%), 1 hr exam (40%)


There is no single text that adequately covers the course content and for this reason no formal text is required. However, the following books can be used as basic bibliography for consultation during the course:
Milk Production from Pasture (CW Holmes et al 2002)
Feeding the dairy cow (Chamberlain and Wilkinson 1996)
Where appropriate, relevant reference material will be identified for specific areas of the course.

Faculty/department permission required?


Study this unit outside a degree

Non-award/non-degree study

If you wish to undertake one or more units of study (subjects) for your own interest but not towards a degree, you may enrol in single units as a non-award student.

Cross-institutional study

If you are from another Australian tertiary institution you may be permitted to underake cross-institutional study in one or more units of study at the University of Sydney.