Woolworths has given a share of $1.5 million to 17 Australian dairy farmers in the latest round of the Woolworths Dairy Innovation Fund.
The recipients each received grants up to $100,000 each to prepare for the upcoming season, from improving water management and energy efficiency to automation.
Jason McQuaid, Commercial Director of Dairy, Bakery, and Deli at Woolworths, said they have met some incredible farmers through the fund who are looking ahead and making smart investments now to benefit their dairy in the future.
“While in previous years the fund has supported tech-based projects like cow-collars and dairy automation, we’ve seen a real shift from farmers in the latest round to focus on climate resilience.
“It’s exciting to hear from past grant recipients how quickly their investments have delivered measurable efficiency and cost savings, and we look forward to seeing how our recent grants will help these 17 dairies prosper.”
Kacy Walker, a third-generation dairy farmer who runs Walker Farm Foods in Cambroon, was awarded a grant of $80,000 from the fund to install an automated irrigation system with energy-efficient pumps.
“It’s so exciting to think about the impact automated irrigation will have on the business. We’re already experiencing some drought conditions, and every drop of water counts, so having the precision to control exactly where and when we’re using our precious water is so important.”
The new irrigation system will allow all irrigation taps across her dairy paddocks to be pre-programmed and operated via a wifi controller, improving water management, saving time, and reducing waste.
“I often think of farming as a balancing act of your time every day, and the amount of time that will be freed up by automation will mean I can do so much more – from everyday tasks, to working on projects to improve our sustainability, like on farm composting,” said Walker.