Fonterra has told its Australian farmer suppliers that it remains committed to that market.
He told Dairy News at the recent Australasian Dairy Science Symposium that both countries face challenges on how to grow their respective industries while facing pressure for suitable land and in meeting new environmental standards.
Also challenging is public perception of the dairy industry, he says.
“The last 10 years has seen massive change in public interest in the dairy industry; it’s about provenance – where the milk comes from, how well animals are looked after. Many young kids don’t know much about how milk is produced and in that sense there are a lot of similarities between Australia and New Zealand.”
Garcia is working on a project called ‘Future Dairy’, trying to foresee solutions to problems dairy farmers will face, notably how they can run intensive systems but also look after the environment.
“The other big part of the project is the use of automation and technology to assist in dairy production, such as how to use robots on farms, how to use automation in all aspects of dairy production and how to make life better for animals and people.”
Water is a big issue for the Australian industry but Garcia says research shows scope to treble efficiency for the benefit of farmers and the community.
Garcia applauded the Dairy Science Symposium, saying it paves the way for cooperation.