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.
Lectures up to 3 hours per week, practicals 3 hours per week
Assignment (report or lit review) (30%), pracs assessments, (30%), 1-hour exam (40%)
Students are advised to consult lecturers for recommended text, scientific and professional articles, technotes for advisors and industry-generated information for farmers
Enrolled students are expected to have some understanding of key components of the dairy production system, including basic knowledge of animal physiology and nutrition.