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Australian dairy farmers receive AUD 1.5m boost from Woolworths fund
FoodBev Media

FoodBev Media

31 October 2023

Australian dairy farmers receive AUD 1.5m boost from Woolworths fund

17 Australian dairy farmers have received a combined grant of nearly AUD 1.5 million (approx. $955,000) to fund essential on-farm projects, thanks to the latest round of the Woolworths Dairy Innovation Fund. These grants are arriving at a pivotal moment for the Australian dairy sector, as it prepares to confront the uncertainties osuch as dry weather conditions and the increasing labour scarcity. The latest group of 17 grant recipients exemplifies the innovative approaches farmers are adopting to prepare for the upcoming season, which include enhancing water management, boosting energy efficiency and implementing automation. Each of the recipients has received grants of up to $100,000 to support their initiatives. Over the past three years, the Woolworths Dairy Innovation Fund has invested a total of $5 million in nearly 60 dairy farmers, enabling family-run dairies to make critical investments in technology, seasonal resilience and operational efficiency. Woolworths commercial director of dairy, bakery and deli, Jason McQuaid, said: “Out of necessity, Australian farmers are very wise about the investments they make during good seasons to see them through the tough ones, and we’re pleased to have helped almost 60 dairy farmers put those plans into action through our Dairy Innovation Fund". “We have met some incredible farmers through the Fund, who are looking ahead and making smart investments now to benefit their dairy in the future. While in previous years the fund has supported tech-based projects like cow-collars and dairy automation, we’ve seen a real shift from farmers in the latest round to focus on climate resilience. He added: “It’s exciting to hear from past grant recipients how quickly their investments have delivered measurable efficiency and cost savings, and we look forward to seeing how our recent grants will help these 17 dairies prosper”. Meet the Recipients

  1. Kacey Walker is a third-generation dairy farmer who has been awarded a grant of $80,000 to install an automated irrigation system with energy-efficient pumps at Walker Farm Foods in Cambroon, Queensland. This system will allow for precise water management, saving time and reducing waste.

  2. Peter Mulheron, who manages a dairy in Swan Marsh, Victoria, has received a $100,000 grant to purchase a modular microgrid system, equipped with solar panels, a battery and an inverter. This renewable energy system will not only reduce energy costs but also provide greater security of electrical supply, which is crucial in the face of increasing weather-related power outages.

  3. Emma and Nick Strong, who run a dairy in Jamberoo, New South Wales, plan to build a new calf rearing shed with automated feeding technology, thanks to a $100,000 grant from Woolworths. This will enhance animal welfare and reduce labor intensity, allowing them to expand their business and explore new markets like beef cattle rearing. The Woolworths Dairy Innovation Fund, launched in November 2020, was developed in collaboration with peak industry groups, including Australian Dairy Farmers, Dairy Australia, National Farmers' Federation, Premium Milk and the NSW Farmers' Association Dairy Committee.

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