Over 50 years, the MDF has conducted numerous research and demonstration projects dealing with most issues relating to the management and operation of dairy farms in Victoria, but particularly to those dairy farms in the Macalister Irrigation District. 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.
As part of its philosophy the MDF actively seeks to partner with any reputable organization or agency in the development and delivery of new projects and resources to advance the skills of MID dairy farmers.
A sample of some of the 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 Johne’s Disease eradication programme
- Production of all farm financial statements for use in benchmarking throughout Australia
- Demonstration of best practicemanagement 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
The MDF seeks input annually from shareholders and stakeholders about the sorts of programs and projects to be developed. This is overlayed over the strategic direction set by the Board to determine project priorities.
The MDF is recognized by funders and dairy industry groups as a credible and reliable organization that has a strong history of delivering projects that are relevant to local farmers and meeting the expectations of project partners and stakeholders.
In 2010 the Macalister Demonstration Farm was awarded the inaugurul 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.