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Media release. Paul Niven. 2014 Scholarship winner

Media release. Paul Niven. 2014 Scholarship winner

Paul Niven, from Stanley in Tasmania, has been awarded a prestigious Nuffield Scholarship, supported by Dairy Australia. He received the award at the organisationʼs prestigious National Conference dinner last night (Thursday) at Crown Perth.

Paul will research an integrated dairy farm management system that includes the physical and financial information to reduce risk in the business.

Paul is Business Manager (Dairy) for the Van Diemenʼs Land (VDL) company, Australiaʼs largest dairy farming business. Paulʼs role is to oversee the production and profitability of the dairy business, which includes 25 dairies ranging from 300 to 1800 cows and a heifer-rearing facility.

Based in the Circular Head region of Tasmania, VDL has opening numbers of 20 thousand milking cows and 10 thousand young stock. The business employs 110 people within the dairy team and in the year ending May 2013, VDL produced 6.2 million kilograms of milk solids.

Paul has several areas he would like to investigate in researching an integrated dairy farm management system.

“Iʼd like to see how to integrate commodity pricing into our management system, research environmental recording and monitoring, grazing management, as well as stock information and management,” he explains. With 25 similar, but unique farms, Paul has an ongoing challenge in monitoring both the current, in-season performance of the properties, as well adjusting to longer-term factors.

“Presently, we use a combination of programs to bring together stock and farm information to manage the business. There are numerous better systems that embrace smart phone and cloud based systems which can add considerable benefit to the business. Gaining a better understanding of the opportunities will assist us develop a system to enhance the performance and profitability of our business,” he says.

Paul hopes to visit New Zealand, the USA, Brazil, Ireland, China and Saudi Arabia to complete his studies.

Dairy Australia has partnered with Nuffield Australia to offer this opportunity to a dairy farmer. Dairy Australia’s Manager Industry People and Capability, Shane Hellwege said, “Supporting farmers such as Paul benefits our whole industry – the research he undertakes broadens the understanding of all dairy farmers.”

Nuffield Australia is an organisation providing opportunities to Australian farmers to travel overseas on an agricultural research scholarship. It is a 16-week program consisting of both group and individual travel. In March 2014 we will have one group travelling through Canada, United States (California and Washington DC), Mexico, Europe, Brazil and New Zealand, while a second group will tour South Africa, Kenya, Eastern Europe, Europe and USA.

Paul is available for interviews to talk about his planned study.
pniven@vdlfarms.com.au  Mobile: 0448 006 316

A high-resolution photo of Paul is available for download online in the 2014 Nuffield Scholar gallery

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