Wyuna local re­ceives Nuffield Schol­ar­ship to in­ves­ti­gate milk prices and the cost of pro­duc­tion

North East & Goulburn Murray Farmer - - NEWS -

WYUNA’s Bren­dan He­hir has re­ceived a Nuffield Schol­ar­ship to in­ves­ti­gate how to max­imise the spread be­tween the price paid for milk and the cost of milk pro­duc­tion.

Mr He­hir re­ceived one of the 23 schol­ar­ships that have been awarded for 2017, with his schol­ar­ship sup­ported by the Gar­diner Dairy Foun­da­tion.

His study will en­com­pass a broad analysis of the best tech­niques and prac­tices from around the world, en­abling local farm­ers to adapt so­lu­tions for their own busi­nesses.

Mr He­hir is a busi­ness part­ner with his par­ents in an or­gan­i­cally cer­ti­fied dairy op­er­a­tion with a strong fo­cus on di­rect graz­ing.

They run 650 milk­ers, pro­duc­ing four mil­lion litres of milk an­nu­ally on a milk­ing plat­form of 192 hectares.

Mr He­hir’s re­search will be par­tic­u­larly per­ti­nent to the is­sue of the cost of milk pro­duc­tion in Aus­tralia fol­low­ing the milk price fluc­tu­a­tions.

He plans to show how re­mov­ing this cor­re­la­tion rep­re­sents an op­por­tu­nity to max­imise profit when milk prices are high, and im­por­tantly, in­crease re­silience when prices are low.

“While ev­ery­one en­joys re­ceiv­ing a high price for their milk, these prices of­ten lead to a steep in­crease in the cost of pro­duc­tion, at the ex­pense of main­tain­ing flex­i­bil­ity,” he said.

“This in­crease then be­comes en­trenched in the pro­duc­tion sys­tem and mind­set of the dairy farmer.

“I plan to ex­plore how other coun­tries mit­i­gate this and the strate­gic ad­van­tages in Aus­tralia that can help keep this mar­gin as wide as pos­si­ble.

“The chal­lenge is to op- timise the mar­ginal litre re­turn, with­out lock­ing into an over­all high cost sys­tem change,” Mr He­hir said.

His goal is to un­cover in­no­va­tive tech­nolo­gies which can be adapted to change the farm­ing par­a­digm be­yond the ex­ist­ing dairy mod­els in Aus­tralia.

Mr He­hir added that he is ex­cited about the po­ten­tial as he aims to own his own herd within two years.

Nuffield Aus­tralia pro­vides op­por­tu­ni­ties to Aus­tralian pri­mary pro­duc­ers and man­agers be­tween the ages of 28 and 40 to travel the globe in­ves­ti­gat­ing a re­search topic im­por­tant to them and Aus­tralian agri­cul­ture.

The schol­ars will un­der­take ex­ten­sive and di­verse agri­cul­tural and fish­eries re­search each us­ing their $30,000 bur­sary for a 16-week pro­gram of group and in­di­vid­ual travel dur­ing 2017.

Mr He­hir will travel to Ire­land, New Zealand, China, India, the United States, Europe and the United King­dom.

Vic­to­rian Nuffield chair­man David Drage said with so much va­ri­ety within the re­search top­ics of the Vic­to­rian Schol­ars a di­verse range of find­ings will be pre­sented on their re­turn from their re­spec­tive global study tours.

Mr Drage said that when Mr He­hir re­turns from his study tour he will share his in­sight­ful find­ings with other pro­duc­ers and stake­hold­ers in his re­spec­tive in­dus­try and com­mu­nity.

“Us­ing this model, Nuffield Aus­tralia con­tin­ues to build ca­pac­ity for the na­tion’s food and fi­bre in­dus­tries to be world-lead­ers in the adop­tion of the lat­est and most ef­fec­tive tech­nol­ogy, best prac­tice and in­no­va­tion,” he said.

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