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