Ad van Velde at the Dairy Research Foundation Symposium in Australia

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Last week, I had the opportunity to participate in a Dairy Symposium near Sydney, Australia. It was a great chance to reconnect with the Australian dairy industry, which has seen a decline in milk production for years. A decade ago, the country produced more than 10 billion kilograms of milk; now, it's just over 8 billion kilograms. Despite the demand for milk, with prices hovering around 50 eurocents per kilogram, also some dairy farmers are quitting in certain regions. Lactalis, the French dairy giant, is making significant inroads in Australia. As farmers increase their milk production, their delivered milk price per kilogram rises sharply.

During my visits to several dairy farms in the Shoalhaven region, south of Sydney and near the coast, I observed a leading dairy region with modern managed farms, despite being a flood-prone area. Flooding is often unpredictable, occurring a couple of times a year. Many farms are built higher up, and there is a growing trend of 'hybrid' forms emerging, combining total grazing and indoor systems with covered feeding paths and lying areas for cows, often using compost. It is also notable that all kinds of sustainability topics are somewhat in the background.

Another noteworthy observation is the government's strong pro-farming stance, with a significant budget available for various projects. The Australian government is eager to maintain the attractiveness of dairy farming, making it appealing to the younger generation. Currently, 30 percent of the production is exported, with China being the largest importer of Australian dairy.

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