Nuffield Australia 2017 Scholarship winner
Brendan Hehir, from Wyuna (near Kyabram) in Victoria, receives a 2017 Nuffield Scholarship supported by the Gardiner Dairy Foundation.
He will investigate how to maximise the spread between the price paid for milk and the cost of milk production. 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.
Brendan 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.
Brendan’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. This increase then becomes entrenched in the production system and mind-set of the dairy farmer,” Brendan says.
“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 optimise the marginal litre return, without locking into an overall high cost system change.”
Brendan’s goal is to uncover innovative technologies which can be adapted to change the farming paradigm beyond the existing dairy models in Australia. He is excited about the potential as he aims to own his own herd within two years.
Brendan will travel to Ireland, New Zealand, China, India, the United States, Europe and the United Kingdom.
Location: Wyuna, Victoria
Returning Scholar presentation:
Brendan Hehir is sponsored by: