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Growing Beef from Dairy

Project end date: 30 December 2027
Project status: In progress
Livestock species: Grass-fed Cattle
Relevant regions: Southern Australia
Site location: Gippsland, VIC


The Growing Beef from Dairy (GBfD) project will increase the adoption of economically sustainable dairy beef production as an alternative to early life slaughter of surplus calves through the adoption of best practice breeding and feeding for identified markets.

The project will develop a bespoke extension and adoption package to assist farmers to make better informed decisions on the management of surplus calves with a focus on the target market for the calves.  The package will include modules that align to the age and target weight of the calves.

The project supports producers’ decision making around surplus dairy calves through strategies to meet market specifications more efficiently.

Producer Demonstration Sites (PDS) are being run as part of this project.

The Growing Beef from Dairy Project is jointly funded by Meat & Livestock Australia and Dairy Australia and delivered by AgSTAR Projects.


  1. Conduct a comprehensive literature review relevant to Growing Beef from Dairy (GBfD) by December 2022. The results of the literature review will be compiled to be stored as an online ‘Resource Library’ with MLA/DA.
  2. GBfD extension and adoption resources will be developed and a stocktake of decision support tools will be compiled by October 2023 using already available resources, the ‘Resource Library’, input from subject matter experts (SMEs) and stakeholder and industry consultation.
  3. AgSTAR Projects to work with DA/MLA learning and digital teams to finalise the bespoke GBfD package ready for stakeholder implementation by March 2024. The package will allow producers to implement knowledge, attitude, skills and aspiration (KASA) changes to manage dairy calves for improved beef and dairy outcomes, including options of viable markets which meet their individual capabilities to raise/rear calves.
  4. Work in conjunction with MLA, DA and SMEs to assist with the collation and integration of GBfD decision support tools by October 2023 using already developed and emerging resources.
  5. Through co-innovation, develop a Pilot GBfD Producer Demonstration Site (PDS) model and pilot with one producer group for 24 months from August 2022. The Pilot will be reviewed and refined before being implemented and coordinated across three further regions in Australia by September 2024 (pending determination of the PDS funding beyond the pilot).
  6. Develop an Advisor Short Course (ASC) and a ‘Train the Trainer’ (TtT) package that will upskill external personnel to deliver the training by September 2024.
  7. Throughout the project, coordinate, consult and collaborate with DA, MLA, SMEs, relevant industry organisations, advisors and producers to ensure industry awareness, acceptance, adoption and robust (measurable) outcomes


The Growing Beef from Dairy (GBfD) project will develop a suite of information and tools to upskill and support both dairy and beef farmers to improve welfare and meat quality outcomes for surplus dairy calves. The AgSTAR team will collaborate with existing extension networks and stakeholders to aim for optimal uptake and practice change by using trusted research, development and extension frameworks and organisations combined with the latest extension methodologies.

The GBfD project is progressing as planned in alignment with the project plan. This includes the development of the proposed extension model complemented by the bespoke learning modules. These are supported by key messages and specific learning outcomes. The content of the modules continues to be collated and the next step will be providing the draft modules for review and to identify gaps in knowledge for technical reviewers to contribute.

The GBfD Pilot PDS has been established with AgSTAR and GippsDairy working closely with dairy farmers, calf rearers and beef producers to investigate different surplus calf management pathways. Each year, three producers will run a demonstration site, where they collect some data and share their experiences. The Pilot PDS group will be used to showcase different calf pathways via case studies and to provide feedback on the modules.

The PDS model will:

  • Demonstrate different surplus calf market pathways,
  • Facilitate peer-to-peer learning amongst producers,
  • Improve connectedness along supply chains; and
  • Ensure the extension resources developed during the project are relevant and meet the needs of all stakeholders.

Commercial co-investment will be sought to implement additional PDSs in other regions beyond the pilot. 

Get involved

To find out more contact:

Callen Thompson

M 0428 125 906

Register your details if you would like to contribute or stay up to date with the Growing Beef from Dairy Project.