Dairyman Bill Inglis heads up the council that anchors the research and development projects taking place at the University of Sydney’s Dairy Research Foundation at Camden, NSW.
The 63-year-old former dairy farmer and, these days, dairy heifer grower at his farm at The Oaks, a township 14 km from Camden, wrangles a broad church of industry interests on the council he has chaired for the past nine years.
“The 17 council members represent all sectors of the industry including researchers, farmers, academics, public servants, industry advocates and students,” Mr Inglis said.
“We have our share of challenges and scarce research dollars are at the head of the list.
“Obviously, we’re research driven and R&D revenue is shrinking and this is a major problem across the industry. We’re working on it.
“I think also that there is a culture within the industry that is inward-looking rather than forward-looking.
“We need to be looking to our future.”
Dairy Australia funds most of the research programs at Camden largely through the FutureDairy program tasked with developing dairy robotics and automation.
Mr Inglis said other research has focused on assisting farmers get greater value out of their land.
“Triple-cropping programs allow production of 40 tonnes of dry matter per hectare.”
He said he was most positive about the future growth of the dairy industry in NSW.
“We’re seeing larger dairies being developed. As coal mines in the Hunter Valley close down in coming years, I believe more quality land will go into dairy production.
“We also need new consumer destinations for our milk other than domestic supermarkets.
“Major processors are today actively developing new markets in Asia.
“Growth will come through our processors developing new high-end products and new destinations for our milk including quality export cheeses.”
Bill says $1 a litre supermarket milk had been ‘a drag’ on the industry in NSW but he was delighted by the number of consumers who had chosen to pay more for farmer and processor branded milk during the past 12 months.
“I’m looking forward to hearing the recommendations of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s inquiry into the industry,” he said.