A 100ML mega dam and an 80kw solar roof system are among 100 projects supported by Coles’ new Dairy Farm Sustainability Accelerator Fund, which will share $1.45 million in grants towards sustainable farming projects.
Grants of up to $50 000 have been awarded to 100 Coles dairy farms around the country to drive projects which invest in animal welfare, solar energy, and infrastructure improvements.
Under its direct sourcing model, Coles directly contracts with dairy farms in Victoria, Southern New South Wales, South Australia, Western Australia, and Tasmania to supply more than 490 million litres of milk each year for Coles Brand Fresh milk and some Coles Brand cheese.
Coles GM dairy, freezer and convenience Brad Gorman said Coles wanted to give its direct sourcing dairy farmers opportunities to invest in research and projects which boosted sustainable farming and drove innovation.
“There are dozens of impressive, farmer-led projects that will focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improving soil nutrients and quality, water management, biodiversity and animal welfare.
“We look forward to working with our farmers and learning how much of a difference these projects will make to their operations and to the environment as they evolve and establish,” said Gorman.
Coles dairy farmers and grant recipients Benjamin and Melissa Holloway are using the funds to help install an 80kw solar roof system on their farm in Victoria’s southwest.
The new 80kw system will provide the farm with an extra 106 000kw a year in clean, renewable energy.
“It’s important we show our team, families, consumers and community that we are making a difference to be more sustainable as dairy farmers.
“Energy on our farm will nearly all be generated from the solar roof, reducing our carbon footprint, while providing us with clean, renewable energy that can be stored and used as required,” said Ben Holloway.
Victorian Coles dairy farmers, the Parkinsons, are also grant recipients and will use the funds from Coles to support the construction of a 100ML mega dam on one of their properties.
Daniel Parkinson said he and his family were passionate about creating lasting change.
“We’re a family business that runs across multiple dairy farms in Victoria. The funds from Coles are supporting the construction of a mega dam that will service our properties by storing excess wastewater and will store water to use throughout summer and autumn.
“We are all passionate about sustainable farming, and the construction of the dam is another step to help our business and industry evolve sustainably,” said Parkinson.
Other projects to receive grants from the Dairy Farm Sustainability Accelerator Fund include:
- Development and upgrade of eight portable shade shelters and the planting of tree shelter belts around a West Australian farm to provide the cattle with additional, flexible shade areas.
- Construction of a new methane catchment pond - a system that captures landfill methane in pipes and reproduces clean energy, supporting a Western Victorian farm’s carbon neutral targets.
- In southwest Victoria, touch screens will be installed across the farm, allowing staff greater access to herd management information.
- An upgrade of an open channel irrigation system which is set to save approximately 20 per cent of water on a Western Australian farm.
- A New South Wales farm will install two additional rainwater tanks, increasing fresh water supply to calf sheds and adding greater water storage capacity.
The Coles Sustainable Dairy Development Group (CSDDG ) was established to work collaboratively with and support directly supplying dairy farmers in becoming more sustainable. To date, the CSDDG has invested more than $3.78 million in on-farm initiatives, including farmer education and training, and improving herd health and milk quality.