NEW climate-controlled calorimeters, or ‘mootel rooms for cows’ have been established at the National Dairy Centre at Ellinbank and are being used for research to measure heat tolerance and methane mitigation in dairy cows.
Minister for Agriculture, Jaala Pulford, officially opened the six new calorimeters recently.
The new ‘mootel rooms for cows’ will allow scientists to study dairy cattle physiology and performance under a range of climatic conditions and nutritional regimes.
The revolutionary technology will allow every aspect of a dairy cow’s metabolism to be monitored 24 hours a day, under fully controlled conditions.
They feature extra wide windows to enable each dairy cow clear visibility of her neighbour and closed circuit monitors, as well as a range of safety mechanisms such as automatic opening in the event of a power failure.
Ms Pulford said the state-of-the-art technology will help scientists to develop technologies and options for Victoria’s dairy farmers to maintain productivity in a changing and variable climate.
“Our dairy research group is acknowledged around the world for ground breaking research into feeding strategies to mitigate methane emissions and the development and refinement of measurement techniques for the determination of methane.”
The Victorian dairy industry accounts for 85 per cent of Australian dairy exports, valued at $2.3 billion in 2013-14.
Victoria is also involved in a joint international research project between Agriculture and Agri-food Canada and Ellinbank scientists to develop productive and profitable feeding strategies that reliably reduce methane emissions in the dairy and beef industries in both countries.
This new research is funded by the Victorian Government, Dairy Australia and the Climate Change and Emissions Management (CCEMC) Corporation of Alberta, Canada.