NHIA Funding Update: The High Performance Herd Project

Posted By Adam Sawell  
14:00 PM

As part of the NHIA Australian Herd Improvement Industry Projects Funding Program, TasHerd received a funding contribution for its ambitious financial two-season focus farm initiative, The High Performance Herd Project.

The project is exploring the benefits of herd recording with an emphasis on financial and environmental sustainability through cow carbon efficiency, milk pathogen management, and data driven breeding decisions.

Key to the project is the sharing of knowledge gained and detailed analysis work which is being shared through online groups, social media, a regular podcast series and video.

Project lead, TasHerd’s Andrew Savage, says: “An overwhelming amount of information and choices for dairy farmers who are figuring out how to take the next step to remain sustainable and efficient led to The High-Performance Herd Project.” 

This virtual 'focus farm' is focussed on solving two problems.

  • Giving farmers easy-to-consume information to help them make decisions that will help them take their herd and staff into the future.
  • Creating an environment for agtech companies who have a vested interest in dairy herd sustainability to communicate with each other and see how their products work in a real-world system alongside other company's products and clarify their messaging to farmers. 

Apply for Round 4 of the NHIA industry funding program - applications close 31 January 2023

“This is playing out through a group we call ‘The Cluster’,” says Andrew.

“It’s basically a group of companies working in the dairy sector, who were already driving change to meet modern consumer demands. Along with NHIA, ‘The Cluster’ includes Datamars Trutest, Zoetis, IDEXX, Fonterra, TasHerd, The Tasmanian Dairy Trust, Koru Diagnostics and FarmPulse.

“The project kicked off in the spring, the physical farm being a 900-cow spring block calving system in Tasmania. A Facebook group was created, a podcast organised, and a website has been built to distribute information from the project. A regular newsletter is also being produced,” says Andrew.

Follow the High Performance Herd Project podcast, access social media or join the Facebook group for the latest project news

Topics for the spring that have been discussed on the Podcast and Facebook group include collar installation and problems that have arisen, heat detection and insemination strategies, rumination data and transitions from calving to joining, strategies to increase conception with collars, advice on getting the best return on agtech and more.

“The Facebook group now consists of almost 600 dairy farmers from Australia and New Zealand, and there have been some robust discussions, and great advice on how people are using these new technologies,” says Andrew Savage.  

As the season rolls on, the project will move toward identifying Staph Aureus cows.

Technologies being used will include the new Staph Gold ELISA test, lightweight efficiency using walk-over scales and herd recording/milk meter information, variable milking, rumination and transition to drying off, selective dry cow strategies, milk quality.

It is expected that other herd related projects will arise along the way. 

“The members of the Cluster group continue to work together to see how their products and expertise can be of more benefit to dairy farmers through collaboration, rather than working in silo's,” says Andrew. “The results of this work will benefit the entire industry, with pretty much open access being provided via our social and networking platforms.” 

To find out more visit Linktree or contact Andrew Savage at TasHerd.

Apply for Round 4 of the NHIA industry funding program - applications close 31 January 2023