Dairy farms in Murray-Darling Basin presents key farm performance measures for irrigated dairy farms in the Basin, including data on water trading and use of irrigation technologies and with an emphasis on results from 2012-13 to 2014-15.
ABARES has conducted surveys of irrigation farms in selected industries and regions in the Murray-Darling Basin since 2006-07. The Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) funded this latest survey.
This report focuses on dairy farms located in the Murray and Goulburn-Broken regions of the southern Murray-Darling Basin. Average farm cash incomes of dairy farms in the Basin fluctuated widely over the survey period (2006-07 to 2014-15), largely because of fluctuations in farmgate milk prices, milk production and total input costs, particularly fodder.
Operators of large and medium farms (by herd size) reported well above average farm incomes in some years whereas small farms recorded generally lower returns because of their lower capacity to increase milk production when seasonal conditions were favourable.
Flood/furrow systems were the most commonly used technologies for applying water on irrigated dairy farms. Water trading has provided dairy farmers with greater flexibility in managing their use of water. In 2012-13 and 2013-14 the proportion of dairy farmers trading water increased significantly because of permanent water access entitlement sales and a change in business and risk management strategies.