The Gatton Research Dairy is a joint initiative of the University of Queensland and the Queensland Government Department of Agriculture and Fisheries. It is operated to support the University’s teaching and research programs with a predominately Holstein Friesian dairy herd. Each year more than 1 million litres of milk is produced, from approximately 220 cows, which is sold to Norco. The production system is comprised of a partial mixed ration based on silage which is fed using a mixer wagon, and grazing of temperate and tropical pastures.
The Gatton Research Dairy is a leader in subtropical dairy research and industry extension activities. The facility is also integral to teaching veterinary science students in the practical demonstration and application of reproduction and pregnancy diagnosis, large animal handling, clinical procedures and general herd health.
Facilities at the Gatton Research Dairy include a calf-rearing facility designed to optimise calf welfare and growth rates. There are also pens for nutrition-based research and an animal handling area. The unit has its own feed mill and concrete silage pits, feed pad and shade structures. These allow research into a range of forage production systems. There are a range of improved low- to medium pressurised irrigation systems that apply water evenly across the paddocks with low energy use. Water for irrigation is captured mainly from overload flow and additional water is also supplied from bores and recycled water.