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Unit of study_

AVBS4002: Dairy Production and Technology

2024 unit information

Dairy science is arguably the most multidisciplinary of all animal production areas. Topics such as animal physiology, nutrition, reproduction, genetics need to be understood in the context of more distant disciplines like pasture and forage crops, milk harvesting and robotics, farm economics; and the integration of all these into the whole system. In this UoS, we combine face-to-face lectures, interactive group discussions, guided field exercises and activities, and visits to commercial farms (ranging from small pasture-based to large-herd indoor systems milking >2000 cows) to gain understanding of key components of dairy systems and of the system of production as a whole. This unit connects basic knowledge with practical application and contributes to develop students' ability to integrate knowledge. Completing this course successfully will give students the tools and confidence required to assist commercial farmers to improve practice change on farm and increase productivity and profitability. In line with the research expertise of the dairy science team, emphasis is placed on automatic/robotic systems and the use and application of technology in dairying.

Unit details and rules

Managing faculty or University school:

Life and Environmental Sciences Academic Operations

Code AVBS4002
Academic unit Life and Environmental Sciences Academic Operations
Credit points 6
48cp of 2000-level or 3000-level units
Assumed knowledge:
Enrolled students are expected to have some understanding of key components of the dairy production system, including basic knowledge of animal physiology and nutrition

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. Dairy industry and systems: Describe the Australian dairy industry and its key challenges, the different production systems and drivers of profitability, and be able to analyse farm technical data to evaluate the impact of costs of production on the profitability of a farm business.
  • LO2. Feed systems and planning: Identify the types of feed systems used in Australian and be able to apply industry feed planning and budgeting tools and analyse data to evaluate the feed management practices of farm systems and describe the role of feed as a key driver of profitability
  • LO3. Nutrition and feeding: Describe the nutritional requirements of dairy cows throughout lactation and analyse the impact of feed quality on animal health, milk production and quality as a key driver of profitability in the farm system. Confidently use a step by step approach to feeding cattle and use ration formulation programs.
  • LO4. Lactation physiology: Be able to describe mammogenesis, lactogenesis and galactopoiesis and the impact of the cow including breed, genetics, health and lactation physiology on milk production and quality as a key driver of profitability
  • LO5. Milk harvesting: Compare and contrast the functionality of conventional milking system and automated (robotic) milking systems for evaluating milk quality, herd health and labour efficiency outcomes and their impact on business profitability
  • LO6. Reproduction and health management: Understand the importance of good reproduction and health management as key for farm productivity and profitability. Be able to identify and describe prominent diseases affecting dairy cattle and analyse their impact on animal health, production and milk quality.
  • LO7. Rearing calves: Describe the calf rearing life cycle and identify key time points for managing animal health and welfare outcomes. Know industry targets and be able to compare and contrast calf rearing systems
  • LO8. Dry cow management: Describe the importance of effective dry cow management and identify the risk factors impacting pre and post calving. Be able to develop and analyse diets for enabling successful transition cow management
  • LO9. DairyTech: Identify automation technologies used in the dairy industry to improve production efficiencies. Demonstrate capability to analyse and interpret datasets from a variety of automation technologies
  • LO10. Milk quality: Describe how milk quality is defined and the importance for the producer and processor in terms of farm income, product processing and meeting consumer demand. Describe the basics of milk processing
  • LO11. Additional LO (professional project working with commercial farms and industry): Describe opportunities and challenges for the dairy farm business of the future and analyse the role of innovation, entrepreneurship and business acumen in securing success. Critically analyse dairy farm systems and apply technical knowledge to generate creative and innovative solutions to real business challenges. Demonstrate professionalism in communication and collaboration with a wide variety of stakeholders for evaluating the farm system to generate applicable solutions

Unit availability

This section lists the session, attendance modes and locations the unit is available in. There is a unit outline for each of the unit availabilities, which gives you information about the unit including assessment details and a schedule of weekly activities.

The outline is published 2 weeks before the first day of teaching. You can look at previous outlines for a guide to the details of a unit.

Session MoA ?  Location Outline ? 
Semester 2 2024
Normal day Camden, Sydney
Outline unavailable
Session MoA ?  Location Outline ? 
Semester 2 2020
Normal day Camden, Sydney
Semester 2 2021
Normal day Camden, Sydney
Semester 2 2022
Normal day Camden, Sydney
Semester 2 2023
Normal day Camden, Sydney

Modes of attendance (MoA)

This refers to the Mode of attendance (MoA) for the unit as it appears when you’re selecting your units in Sydney Student. Find more information about modes of attendance on our website.

Important enrolment information

Additional advice

Since 2020, we have been working together with the national industry body, Dairy Australia (Education & Partnerships), to link this unit to commercial industry reality. In 2022, and pending on travel restrictions, students will have the opportunity to visit farms and work with real farm data for their projects. The association with Dairy Australia also means direct access to a large number of publications that provide the basis of best industry practice.