The Subtropical Dairy region extends 2200km from the Atherton Tablelands in far north Queensland down to Kempsey in northern New South Wales. The region is uniquely characterised by hot and humid summers and mild and dry winters. Average annual rainfalls often exceed 2000mm in northern parts of the state, with cyclones, flooding and drought all common events that challenge farm production and profitability.

There are approximately 390 dairy farmers throughout the region with production systems having generally intensified over the last 10 years with more milk being produced on fewer, more intensively managed farms. Regional milk production is approximately 420 million litres per annum is primarily for the domestic fresh milk market.

Subtropical dairy farms are typically family owned and operated, average herd size is 200 – 250 cows producing 6,250 litres per cow per year and average farm size is 200 – 250 hectares.

The value of Queensland’s milk production at the farm gate is $340 million per year, after processing for drinking milk and manufactured products this value increases to $1.1 billion per year.

Within the region there are seven major processing plants operated by Bega, Lactalis and Norco and more than 50 boutique processing factories. When combined, dairy farmers and manufacturing employees account for more than 3,000 people. Investment by dairy farmers amount to over $2.1 billion in farms, cattle and equipment.

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.

Subtropical dairy strategic plan

For information about the Subtropical Dairy
Strategic Plan, please contact:

Dr Brad Granzin
Executive Officer, Subtropical Dairy Programme Ltd
Mob: 0431 197 479