The MDF is located in Gippsland’s Macalister Irrigation District (MID) which is home to 27% of the Gippsland dairy industry.
The MDF has a strong reputation as a credible and reliable research organisation which delivers local, relevant projects. As part of its philosophy the MDF actively partners with reputable organisations or agencies to develop and deliver research which enhances the skills of MID dairy farmers.
Over 50 years, the MDF has conducted many R+D projects centered on management and operation of dairy farms in Victoria, particularly dairy farms in the MID. Projects range from the demonstration of treated pine posts with high tensile wire, and early chemical weed control in the 1960s to the demonstration of high tech irrigation systems fifty years later.
Some projects conducted since 2000 are:
- Profitable Dairy Farming Systems Demonstration (High vs Moderate input feeding systems)
- Demonstration of Whole-Farm Irrigation and Nutrient Management and Nutrient Reduction Plan (main site for a national project on nutrient and water movement on and off the farm)
- Demonstration of Fixed Sprinkler Irrigation
- Community Water Grants project to reduce drainage losses from the farm
- Perennial Ryegrass evaluation trial
- Demonstration of Occupational Health and Safety on the farm
- Demonstration of Bovine Johnes Disease eradication programme
- Production of all farm financial statements for use in benchmarking throughout Australia
- Demonstration of best practice management of dairy effluent ponds and their nutrients, and impact on profitability
- Sub-surface drip irrigation for dairy pastures project.
- Assessment of carbon emissions generated by the farm and an exploration of carbon mitigation and carbon offset options.
- Protection of ancient redgums
- Yeast Supplement production trial
- Variable rate lime application trial
Each season, the MDF seeks project input from shareholders and stakeholders and combines this with the strategic direction set by the Board to determine project priorities.
The MDF’s strong focus on producing high quality research has resulted in several accolades:
In 2010 the Macalister Demonstration Farm was awarded the inaugural Fonterra Dairy Leadership Award at the Regional Achievement and Community Awards for industry leadership over fifty years.
In 2011 the Macalister Demonstration Farm was a finalist in both the Banksia Environmental Awards and the NAB Agribusiness Awards.
In 2019, the MDF was awarded the Federation University Excellence in Research and Development award at the Excellence In Agribusiness Awards.