Subtropical Dairy

subtropical dairy

Subtropical Dairy is one of eight regional teams established by Dairy Australia in the 1990s.

We drive innovation in research and extension and work to guide the strategy and implementation of dairy research, dairy education and promotion programs across the region.

who we are

Subtropical Dairy is a not-for-profit research, development, extension and education company, limited by guarantee. It is led by a skills-based board elected by subtropical dairy farmers.

During 2020-21, in conjunction with industry partners, Subtropical Dairy delivered $1 million worth of projects that focus on improving the profitability and sustainability of dairy farms. Subtropical Dairy receives its core funding from Dairy Australia and the Dairy Services Levy.

About Subtropical Dairy

Subtropical Dairy is one of eight regional teams established by Dairy Australia in the 1990s. Subtropical Dairy drives innovation in research and extension and works to guide the strategy and implementation of dairy research, dairy education and promotion programs across the region.

The Subtropical Dairy region extends 2,200 kilometres from Kempsey in New South Wales to the Atherton Tablelands in Far North Queensland. The region is uniquely characterised by hot and humid summers and mild and dry winters. Average annual rainfalls often exceed 2,000 millimetres in northern parts of the state, with cyclones, flooding and drought all common events that challenge farm production and profitability.

In 2021-2022, the subtropical region produced approximately 420 million litres of milk, representing about 4.8% of national milk output.

The size and spread of the Subtropical Dairy area has led to the establishment of six Regional Groups.

Our work is realised through regionally specific programs in the areas of:

  • Farm business management
  • Agronomy and herd nutrition
  • Animal health and welfare
  • Natural resource management
  • Supporting people and human resources
  • Communications and service improvement

Subtropical Dairy’s Vision

The subtropical dairy industry is a profitable, sustainable and market focused industry practicing responsible resource management and offering a fulfilling lifestyle to adaptable professional people.

Subtropical Dairy’s Mission

The Subtropical Dairy Program fosters a collaborative and unified approach to farm viability, by facilitating research and extension, improving technology and empowering people in the industry.

Subtropical Dairy’s Strategic Plan

Situation and outlook

The Situation and Outlook report analyses current dairy industry conditions, and the outlook for key drivers that affect dairy operation and profits. An annual report is released mid-year, with updates in February and October. Follow this link to read all available Situation & Outlook reports  on the Dairy Australia website.


Dairy Australia’s annual investment in Subtropical Dairy is determined by the region’s milk production. Subtropical Dairy works to leverage additional funds from Natural Resource Management bodies, State Government and other interested investors.


annual reports

During 2020/21 Subtropical Dairy has delivered, in conjunction with industry partners, $1 million of projects that focus on improved profitability and sustainability of dairy farms.  Read the current report and download those from previous years.


Far North Queensland

Chair – Annaliisa Geraghty

Contact – Fiona Neville

Sunshine Coast

Chair – Elke Watson

Contact – Brad Granzin

South East Qld

Chair – Luke Stock

Secretary – Belinda Haddow

Far North Coast NSW

Chair – Terry Toohey

Contact – Heidi Court

Central Queensland

Contact – Brad Granzin


Darling Downs

Chair – Kylie Wieck

Secretary – Belinda Haddow

Mid North Coast NSW

Chair – Heath Cook

Contact – Heidi Court






Regional Teams

The size and spread of the Subtropical Dairy area has led to the establishment of the Regional Groups. Each group can focus on issues specific to their own region and farming systems.

There are active groups in the Darling Downs/Burnett, South East Queensland, Central Queensland, Far North Queensland, Far North Coast of NSW and the Mid North Coast of NSW.


The Subtropical Dairy Board meets 11 times per year with five face to face meetings and six online meetings.

Subtropical Dairy is managed by a skills based, nine-member Board with support from a full time Executive Officer.

The Board comprises of:

  • A minimum of 4 and a maximum of 5 dairy farmers, one of whom must be the Chair and all must be members of Dairy Australia.
  • A minimum of 3 and maximum of 4 persons with complementary industry skills as determined by the operational and strategic needs of the Board at the time of appointment.
  • Board members are appointed for a three year term and can renominate at the conclusion of their term.

An industry-led selection panel is appointed each year to interview and select candidates for any Board vacancies. The selection panel is chaired by the Subtropical Dairy Chair or Vice Chair.

The Chair is a non-voting member of the panel.

Small Grant Funding

Subtropical Dairy provides funds for small project grants each year. Grants can be applied for up to $5,000 for projects and activities that support the industries strategic priorities and that will provide an industry benefit throughout Subtropical Dairy or help solve a local problem.

Recent projects supported by Subtropical Dairy include an automated heat detection system; legume/kikuyu swards; biological alternatives for mastitis treatment; calibrating pasture meters; first aid training; evaluation of ammonium-based fertilisers; financial benchmarking and precision fertiliser application.

Small Project Grants Program Applications

Subtropical Dairy invites applications for the funding of projects that can be small research, adaption or extension projects that will improve the performance and profitability of dairy farms in their region. The projects need to be identified as a priority for the region and have direct value to group members and their locality.

The project must be endorsed by the regional group prior to the project being submitted to Subtropical Dairy. A condition of the funding is that a final report is prepared. Preference is for projects less than 1 year duration.

Projects undertaken by groups are eligible for grants of up to $5,000 ex GST.

Priority areas include:

  • improving whole farm productivity and profitability
  • animal and feedbase performance
    improving business and management skills
  • training and education
  • sustaining the natural resource base
  • assisting dairy farmers to manage change

To discuss your small grants project idea and obtain a copy of the application form contact the Executive Officer, Dr Brad Granzin on M: 0431 197 479.

Subtropical Dairy’s Constitution

Subtropical Dairy Board Charter

Fall Army Worm

Fall armyworm (FAW) is a key pest in Australian cropping and dependent industries such as dairy. Find information here on identifying, managing and controlling fall armyworm

Drought resources

Resources and regional guides for key contacts, available assistance programs and support services for dairy regions severely affected by  drought conditions

SDP Weekly eNews

Every week, Subtropical Dairy publishes their electronic newsletter, the Northern Weekly eNews. Each edition includes a great range of information including:

  • COVID-19 related information and updates;
  • Subtropical Dairy events including workshops, online webinars and Q&A sessions;
  • Other Dairy Australia and industry events;
  • Links to resources and information such as surveys, grants, climate reports, Australian Dairy Plan updates and general information;
  • Dairy Australia Hay and Grain Report links; and
  • Seasonal Reminders.

The eNews is sent out on Thursday mornings. If you aren’t receiving the Northern Weekly eNews, fill in the subscription form so we can add you to our email list. If you have any feedback about what content you would like to see in the eNews, don’t hesitate to get in contact with any of the Subtropical Dairy team.


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