Dairy Grains Mentoring Project

An opportunity to improve skills and knowledge through the development of professional business relationships across the dairy and grain industries

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This project is supported by Subtropical Dairy through funding from the Australian Government’s Future Drought Fund

Subtropical Dairy

The Dairy Grains Mentoring project provides a unique opportunity for the dairy and grains industries to collaborate, firstly in sharing agronomic advice and, secondly, giving feedback to the grain industry about nutritional requirements for a sustainable dairy industry.

Ross McInnes

Subtropical Dairy has been successful in securing funding through the Future Drought Fund for a project focused on improving business resilience through increased knowledge of soil fertility and health on northern Australian dairy farms.

The combined impacts of climate change, drought and margin erosion have led to a steady change in farming systems in the northern dairy industry with an increase in propagation of annual grain and fodder crops. This change in system has been driven primarily by lower irrigation water availability, an increase in frequency of drought, competition for feed grains and a greater need to manage cow comfort.

What the Project is about:

The objective of the Dairy Grains Mentoring project is to develop the skills, knowledge and confidence of northern Australian dairy farmers to refine and adopt contemporary agronomic and soil management best practice for grain-based and forage silage crops from the region’s grain industry.

The Project aims to do this by reducing dairy business risk and exposure to drought and soil degradation through adapting key agronomic and soil conservation strategies learnt from our regional grain farmers.

Community of Practice

The project will look to establish a Community of Practice between the dairy industry and the grains industry with an aim to share knowledge between the two industries around soil health and agronomic practices and improve productivity and profitability.

Whilst the Community of Practice will operate across the wider two industries, a mentoring network will aim to connect 15 individual dairy farmers with agronomists with expertise in the grains industry.


‘A Community of Practice is a group of dedicated people who share an interest and passion for something they do, and learn how to do it better through regular shared experiences.’

How to get involved..

15 places are available for dairy farmers across the northern Australian dairy industry to participate in a Dairy Grains Mentoring Network.

Dairy farmers will be linked to a grains industry service provider in a mentoring arrangement. Participants in the project will be expected to participate in an online workshop series starting on 25th October. Four online sessions will run on Monday’s at 11am – 1pm (Qld time).

Barb Bishop will facilitate the workshop series. Barb is well-known in the dairy industry and has more than 30 years’ experience in leadership, teaching/training and facilitation, particularly across the agricultural sector. The workshop series has been designed to equip participants with skills and tools around communication and building better connections in their business

Participants at the workshop will also spend time looking at current agronomic practices across both the dairy and grains industries, focusing on best practice options from the grains industry that can be adapted for use in the dairy industry for grain-based and forage silage crops.

The Dairy Grains Mentoring project will also offer the opportunity for dairy farmers involved in the Mentoring Network to tour six grain farms on the Darling Downs with high productivity and soil health benchmarks. This tour is planned for early 2022.

Throughout the project, learnings will be shared to the wider dairying community via the Subtropical Dairy eNews, articles in Northern Horizons, videos and webinars and various other extension channels.

The aim of the Dairy Grains network is to increase capability regarding crop productivity and soil health on dairy farms and enhance knowledge and expertise sharing between the dairy and grains industries. With industry support, participating dairy farmers will establish and measure a number of key benchmarks across summer and winter crops.

Dairy Farmers - Express your interest now

All activities are fully funded and supported through
Subtropical Dairy and the Australian Government’s Future Drought Fund.

Those farms which join the mentoring network will also participate in bench-marking
and be assisted with the development of on-farm action plans.

We are seeking dairy farmers who are keen to develop on
farm cropping production systems and soil health benchmarks.

For more information, please call one of the project staff:

Belinda Haddow

Project Manager

M | 0423 003 638
Email Belinda

Jo Srhoj

Jo Srhoj

Project Officer

M | 0458 065 695
Email Jo


This project is supported by Subtropical Dairy and Dairy Australia, through funding from the Australian Government’s Future Drought Fund