Australia's Subtropical dairy region extends from Kempsey in NSW to the Atherton Tablelands in Far North Queensland. This region has a variety of environmental, climatic and production conditions which pose some unique challenges to dairy farming.
As outlined in the Northern Dairy Industries Strategic Plan, the dairy industry across Qld and NSW has an estimated value to the two state economies of approximately $1.5bn.
Dairy farms in the regions have the following common attributes:
A very high proportion of farms are required by milk processors to operate year-round production systems
High rate of grain feeding is used in milk production the average grain fed per cow is 1.5tonnes per year; close to 90% of farms are medium to heavy users of grains
More than 70 % of farms use some form of irrigation there are varying degrees of dependence on irrigation in feed production across the regions
Family members constitute 77% of people working on farms, while 23% of farm workers are non-family employees
71% of people working on respondent farms work full time, 18% work part time and 10% are casually employed.
Divergence across the regions occurs as follows:
Average farm sizes vary across the regions
There are 10% of farms with more than 250 cows, which make up 23% of milk production but farm sizes are on average smaller in southern Qld and Nth NSW than other NSW subregions
The regional and dairy company use of milk (product mix) varies, affecting values delivered in farmgate pricing.
The region has many different types of dairying systems ranging from dry and grazing, to partial mix ration and irrigation to total mix ration
The following pages provide information on the Northern Dairy Region:
- Northern Dairy Industry Strategic Plan
- Industry Situtation & Outlook
- Subtropical Regional Action Plan>