Parmalat On-farm Sustainability Program

In July 2015, Parmalat commenced a partnership with Dairy Australia’s Profitable Dairying in a Carbon Constrained Future Project in NSW, supported by funding from the Australian Government. The overall aim of PDCCF is to identify and implement management practices which increase business profit whilst reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

As a sub-project of PDCCF, the Parmalat project was designed to trial the effectiveness of a farmer engagement and farm reporting model which provided the potential for dairy businesses to demonstrate current and planned environmental sustainability practices that increase resource use efficiency and reduce GHG emission intensity (measured in Kg Carbon Dioxide Equivalents (CO2 –e ) / Kg Milk Solids). The trial looked at capturing evidence of farm sustainability practices, through the application of existing industry tools, and using this information to develop individual farm plans against which ongoing performance could be assessed.

Photo: Phil & Craig Tate

Why has Parmalat partnered on this project?

Parmalat is interested in investigating ways to satisfy enquiries from domestic and international customers, who are seeking evidence of good sustainability credentials, and meeting its obligations to contribute towards targets established in the national Australian Dairy Industry Sustainability Framework.

In designing the program with Dairy Australia, the company believed the trial would provide a model for: tracking performance over time, measuring productivity/ profitability value for the farmer and creating opportunities to recognise and promote good farm business performance within the company and externally to consumer markets. 

Photo: The Bake family

How has the project been delivered?

The program worked closely with two farms in NSW to pilot the model. The selected farmers were Jason and Michele Bake, located at Bonville (near Coffs Harbour), and brothers’ Phil and Craig Tate, located at Albion Park (south of Wollongong). Each business was assisted through a process to:

  • Undertake an on-line DairySAT Self-Assessment (1hr) to assess current farm environmental management practice as below, within or above standard industry practice. This process identified potential risk factors and recognised practices which were well managed.
  • Develop an on-line DairySAT Action Plan (1hr) to outline short, medium and longer-term actions to improve on farm environmental performance/ compliance. Click to view the Bake and Tate DairySAT Action Plan.
  • Prepare a Fert$mart Nutrient Plan with a local Fert$mart Approved nutrient advisor, including undertaking strategic soil testing and consideration of effluent re-use. Click to view the Bake and Tate Fert$mart Nutrient Plans.

Photo: Jason Bake, Bangalara Dairies

Farm Business Environmental Sustainability Plans

The final step was to work with a sustainability consultant to prepare a Farm Business Environmental Sustainability Plan. The plan utilised the farm information to formulate business environmental sustainability goals, undertake a business sustainability SWOT (Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities & Threats) and establish priority targets and actions to improve farm environmental performance against which the business can be assessed bi-annually. Priority areas were based upon priorities and targets outlined in the Australian Dairy Industry Sustainability Framework as well as farmer identified. The plan was also designed to acknowledge existing good practices and provide the value proposition of future actions to the farm business.

Photo: Waste management system, Bangalara Dairies

Your opportunity to hear more   

Throughout 2016/2017, the project is extending more broadly through a series of live podcasts. The main topics to be covered are those which were considered a priority for the Bake and Tate businesses: Valuing Nutrients & Effluent, Energy Efficiency and Waste Management (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle). Farmers and service providers will have the opportunity to hear directly from the pilot farmers, pick-up tips from technical experts and ask questions through an interactive platform. Each podcast will run for an hour and can be accessed using your mobile from anywhere on the farm.

Podcasts are available on this page for downloading as they are conducted. Click on the links below:

Dairy farmers in dairy

Podcast recording: Energy efficiency (30th November 2016)

Post-podcast hand out: Energy efficiency resources information 

Energy and irrigation in dairy

Podcast recording: The value of effluent to your dairy business (3rd February 2017)

Post-podcast hand outs: Effluent nutrients information & Effluent systems suppliers list

Dairy farmers in dairy 

Podcast recording: Environmental sustainability - What does it mean for business along the dairy supply chain? (19th April 2017)

Post-podcast hand outs: Dairy Sustainability Framework

Handy Resources

Dairy farmers and service providers can find more ways to efficiently manage resource inputs on dairy farms by visiting the Dairying for Tomorrow website or more on managing carbon emissions by visiting other pages of the Dairy Climate Toolkit . Both contain easy to use resources, calculators, fact sheets and videos.  

For any further information on the Parmalat On-Farm Sustainability Project, contact Marguerite White, ICD Project Services, on 0447 500 415.

This project is jointly funded through Dairy Australia, Parmalat and the Australian Government.