Dairy & Milk Harvesting Project

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Case for change

The milk harvesting industry has changed a lot in the past 50 years or so, it was not so long ago that farmers were hand milking. Today, most farmers are using milk harvesting machines, operating in herringbone and rotary sheds, with a smaller number of robotic sheds emerging. The uptake of new robotic and automated milking technology is expected to increase in the coming years as the technology becomes more accessible and affordable.

Milk harvesting techniques are a unique set of skills, integral to the collection and production of Australian dairy and milk products. It is important to update the national units of competency to support the next generation of farmers.

The review of skills standards for dairy and milk harvesting was identified as a key skill priority in the Agriculture, Horticulture and Conservation and Land Management IRC Skills Forecast and Proposed Schedule of Work 2019-2022 (see page 3).

The Australian Industry Skills Committee (AISC) approved this project, out of the 2020 Annual Update to the IRC Skills Forecast (see pages 63-67).

The Agriculture and Production Horticulture Industry Reference Committee (IRC) will oversee this project as part of their responsibility to support engagement with the sector, and to ensure the project meets industry stakeholder needs.

Skills Impact will manage this project, consistent with the 2012 Standards for Training Package Development.

Download Project Proposal (see pages 63-67)

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Subscribe to the Skills Impact newsletter to keep informed about project updates and opportunities to provide input and feedback. Make sure to select ‘Agriculture, Horticulture, Conservation and Land Management’ as your industry of interest.

Project Plan

Australia’s dairy and milk industry directly employed around 46,200 people and generated $4.4 billion in farm gate value in 2018-19 [source]. Farms range in size from small niche herds of goats, camel, buffalo and sheep, through to large dairy businesses with more than 3,000 cattle. The future is interesting, with developments in robotic technology and automatic milking systems. Innovations in the industry have seen farmers progress from manual milking methods, to adopting machinery in herringbone and rotary sheds, through to these new robotic technologies. There will be a need for a wider range of skills in this industry with the introduction of new technologies. At the same time, traditional work practices remain valuable in various farm settings. This project will look at the skills and knowledge required to operate the vast array of technologies, across dairy harvesting operations of various sizes and contexts.

Technology in this industry is developing rapidly. The use of precision dairy technologies has been increasing over the past two decades. Dairy Australia reports that between 30% to 40% of Australian dairy farms have installed automatic cup removers. Some farmers are also using automated mastitis detection systems. The benefits of these technology include improved productivity, working environment and hours, encouraging greater retention of staff. The Agricultural Workforce Digital Capability Framework will be applied by industry experts to define and identify the digital skills requirements for milk harvesting, across the various technologies available.

The Australian dairy industry is dedicated to the skills development of its future workforce. A new Dairy Passport has been launched by Dairy Australia and supported by the Victorian Government, under the Agriculture Workforce Plan.

While there is a need for updated technical and digital skills, the industry still has farmers utilising more traditional methods. Several businesses have also identified ways to add value to their milk harvesting operations, producing milk products onsite. Whether these producers are using traditional hand milking methods or machinery, skills and knowledge are required in biosecurity and animal welfare. A relaxed animal, correct cooling and storage of milk and plant hygiene practices contribute to greater quality and quantities of milk.

The national skills standards and qualifications for the dairy and milk harvesting industry will be reviewed with industry experts and consultation with farmers across Australia to ensure they reflect the current and future work practices of industry.

Project Scope

This project will review existing units of competency for dairy and milk harvesting in the AHC Agriculture, Horticulture and Conservation and Land Management Training Package to ensure they reflect current techniques, practices and technology.

 

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Subscribe to the Skills Impact newsletter to keep informed about project updates and opportunities to provide input and feedback. Make sure to select ‘Agriculture, Horticulture, Conservation and Land Management’ as your industry of interest.

Relevant Occupations
  • Dairy Farm Worker
  • Dairy Farm Manager
  • Dairy Farm Owner
  • Share Milker

 

Industry Sectors
  • Milking cows
  • Milking sheep
  • Milking goats
  • Milking buffalo
  • Milking camels

Timeline

September/October 2020
Initial scoping

November/December 2020
Development of draft qualifications, skill sets and units

January/February 2021
Drafts available for broad consultation

March/April 2021
Validation of final drafts

June 2021
Finalisation of Training Package components

July/August 2021
Independent Quality Assurance, and Edit and Equity review of Training Package components

September 2021
IRC consideration for sign-off and submission for endorsement

Project Team
William HendersonIndustry Skills Standards Specialist, Skills Impactwhenderson@skillsimpact.com.au
Andrew HorganIndustry Engagement Manager, Skills Impactandrew@skillsimpact.com.au
Lina RobinsonIndustry Skills Standard Contractor

 

Opportunities for stakeholder input

Stakeholder input is appreciated throughout the duration of this project. The documents will be drafted in consultation with Subject Matter Experts and their networks. Opportunities to provide targeted feedback will occur when the draft materials are made available in January/February 2021, and again for validation of final drafts in March/April 2021. However, your feedback is welcomed at any time, and will help us in drafting the qualifications, skill set and units.

It is important that training provides a skilled and flexible workforce for the future. The units need to reflect real work experience. So, if you work in the sector, Skills Impact appreciates your input and assistance.

Those working in the dairy and milk harvesting sector are invited to engage with this project. Please register your interest in project updates and consultation opportunities by following the newsletter subscription link. Alternatively, contact the project manager, William Henderson on whenderson@skillsimpact.com.au or 03 9321 3526.

Note: Due to COVID-19 restrictions, Webinars will be held to replace the face-to-face consultation workshops Skills Impact would usually host around Australia.

Stakeholder Consultation Process

A list of key stakeholder organisations has been identified for this project based on their industry role, size or specialty. Skills Impact will ensure contact is made with each of these organisations to seek their involvement and views on all draft skill sets and units. Consultation is not limited to the organisations on this list, they have simply been identified as the most, likely to have a key interest in the development and outcomes of this project

If you are aware of an organisation that you think should be involved, please contact the project team to ensure they are contacted by us.

Development

Innovations in the industry have seen farmers progress from manual milking methods, to adopting machinery in herringbone and rotary sheds, through to new robotic technology and automatic milking systems. There will be a need for a wider range of skills in this industry with the introduction of new technologies. At the same time, traditional work practices remain valuable in various farm settings and some businesses have identified ways to add value to their milk harvesting operations, producing milk products onsite. Whether these producers are using traditional hand milking methods or machinery, skills and knowledge are required in biosecurity and animal welfare. A relaxed animal, correct cooling and storage of milk and plant hygiene practices contribute to greater quality and quantities of milk. This project is looking at the skills and knowledge required to operate the vast array of technologies, across dairy harvesting operations of various sizes and contexts.

Consultation with subject matter experts is underway to help revise and draft the units of competency for this sector. These industry experts are being consulted on current job roles and activities to help inform the revised drafts. Technology in this industry is developing rapidly and the use of precision dairy technologies has been increasing over the past two decades. The industry experts are identifying areas where the skills standards need to be updated to reflect new skills. They are also identifying skills gaps, such as the the potential to develop units of competency to support the job role of technicians who repair robotic milking machines.

Development outcomes and next steps

Broad stakeholder consultation is scheduled to commence in January 2021, when draft units will be made available for feedback on this webpage. Your input is welcome, please feel free to register your interest to keep informed of project updates and when draft materials are available for feedback by following the newsletter subscription link below.

 

Register your interest in the project

Subscribe to the Skills Impact newsletter to keep informed about project updates and opportunities to provide input and feedback. Make sure to select ‘Agriculture, Horticulture, Conservation and Land Management’ as your industry of interest.

 

 

 

 

 

Drafts Available

Australia’s dairy and milk industry has developed from manual milking methods, to using machinery in herringbone and rotary sheds, to more recently introducing new robotic technology and automatic milking systems. These new technologies and evolving methods are broadening the range of skills needed in the industry. At the same time, traditional work practices are still preferred in certain farm settings, with some of these businesses adding value to their milk harvesting operations by producing milk products onsite. Some foundational skills, such as those to support biosecurity and animal welfare, remain important regardless of milking methods. A relaxed animal, correct cooling and storage of milk and plant hygiene practices contribute to greater quality and quantities of milk.

Consultation will take place throughout this project to review and update a national qualification, skill sets and units of competency for dairy and milk harvesting. They will be revised to reflect the skills and knowledge required to operate the vast array of technologies across milk harvesting operations of various sizes and contexts.

Thank you to everybody that provided feedback on the draft qualification, skill sets and units of competency that were available on this webpage for feedback between 22 January and 21 March 2021.

During this time, feedback was collected via the online feedback hub, consultation webinars and email. The drafts, including any comments made on the feedback hub, are still available for viewing below. Feedback was invited on whether the draft qualification, skill sets and units reflect the current skills standards and practices of industry, and whether job functions are accurately described, including the role of machine technicians.

Your feedback will inform further work on the final drafts, which are expected to be available for industry comment and validation in May 2021. A summary of the feedback and how it was addressed in the final drafts will also be available.

The qualification and units are being reviewed and updated to reflect the most up to date industry practices and to include all livestock used for milking purposes. Two skill sets have been developed to support dairy workers to perform maintenance of milking equipment and for milking equipment technicians who travel to worksites to maintain the machinery used to milk livestock. They aim to support the skills of technicians that work specifically with milking equipment and to support farm workers to better maintain and repair milking equipment between technician visits.

Qualification code and nameProposed changes or rationaleLink
AHC3XX21 Certificate III in Dairy ProductionChange to title (previously AHC30216 Certificate III in Agriculture (Dairy Production)) and refocus to more current milk harvesting practices.View draft qualification

 

The draft document can be downloaded in Microsoft Word format by clicking here.

Skill Set code and nameProposed changes or rationaleLink
AHCSSXXXXXX Milking Equipment Maintenance for Dairy Workers Skill SetFor dairy workers who wish to maintain milking equipment.View draft skill set
AHCSSXXXXXX Milking Equipment Technicians Skill SetTo supplement the training of those specialised in mechanised milking equipment.View draft skill set

 

The draft documents can be downloaded in Microsoft Word format by clicking here.

Please note- the units with an asterix next to them have received few to no enrolments over the past five years and may still be considered for removal. If you have a viewpoint on this please add it to the comments on the document.

Unit code and nameLink
AHCDRY2XX Milk livestockView draft unit
AHCDRY3XX Carry out minor service of milking equipment*View draft unit
AHCDRY3XX Coordinate and monitor milking operationsView draft unit
AHCDRY3XX Monitor milking machine cleaning*View draft unit
AHCDRY3XX Operate a dairy waste utilisation systemView draft unit
AHCDRY4XX Manage milking shed routinesView draft unit
AHCMKH4XX Carry out cleaning-time tests of milking machines*View draft unit
AHCMKH4XX Conduct mechanical tests on milking machines*View draft unit
AHCMKH4XX Conduct performance tests on milking machines*View draft unit
AHCMKH4XX Install milking equipment*View draft unit
AHCMKH4XX Service and repair milking equipment*View draft unit

 

The draft documents can be downloaded in Microsoft Word format by clicking here.

These units have not been delivered since they were created and do not align with job role within qualification.

Unit code and nameLink
AHCMKH402 Design and fabricate milking equipmentView current unit on training.gov.au
AHCMKH403 Design and install milk cooling storage systemsView current unit on training.gov.au

 

 

Summary of consultation to date

The draft qualification, skill sets and units have been revised and developed in consultation with Subject Matter Experts (SMEs). The SMEs have considered feedback that was received out of Workforce Functional Analysis workshops in November 2020. People working directly in the Dairy and Milk Harvesting sector participated and provided information on the skills and knowledge required for job roles and tasks. Site visits were undertaken to observe these job roles in workplaces. Thank you to those who provided feedback during these activities.

 

Register your interest in the project

Subscribe to the Skills Impact newsletter to keep informed about project updates and opportunities to provide input and feedback. Make sure to select ‘Agriculture, Horticulture, Conservation & Land Management’ as your industry of interest on the subscription form.

 

Validation

Evolving milking methods are changing the range of skills required in Australia’s dairy and milk industry, from manual milking methods, to herringbone and rotary sheds, to the more recent introduction of robotic technology and automatic milking systems. While technology offers advantages, traditional work practices are still valued in certain settings, particularly by businesses producing milk to create their own dairy products. Across all methods, foundational skills, such as those to support biosecurity and animal welfare, are integral. This project is revising the current qualification and skills standards for dairy and milk harvesting, so that they better reflect modern terminology and the new job roles within the sector.

Thank you to everyone who provided feedback on the final draft qualification, skill set and units of competency that were made available for validation and comment from 31 May to 17 June 2021. You can still view the documents and any comments made below.

The final drafts will shortly progress through to the Finalisation stage of the project which includes quality assurance of the documents and review and feedback from the State/Territory Training Authorities. They will then be forwarded to the Meat Industry Reference Committee (IRC) for consideration and sign off, before being submitted to the Australian Industry and Skills Committee (AISC) to consider and approve for publication on training.gov.au.

 

Summary of feedback and key changes

The final drafts incorporated feedback that was received on the initial drafts that were made available between 22 January and 21 March 2021, under the ‘Drafts Available’ stage. During this time, feedback was collected via the online feedback hub, webinars, and via phone call and email. The qualification, skill set and units were drafted with guidance from Subject Matter Experts, made up of workplace experts and industry. The vast amount of feedback collected online and over the phone, at a time when face to face meetings have been severely limited, is a testament to industry’s passion for skills development. The feedback is fundamental to improving the national skills standards.

Key changes to the documents included:

  • The Certificate III in Agriculture (Dairy Production) was revised to better reflect current industry needs, including the suggestion to rename the qualification to Certificate III in Dairy Production 
  • Skill set developed to support the skills for maintaining on site equipment
  • Six existing units were updated to include modern industry practices
  • A unit that describes the skills for carrying out a routine service of milking equipment was developed to assist those learning how to troubleshoot specific milking equipment
  • Seven units were proposed for deletion due to there being no enrolments and a lack of relevance to industry.

A description of how all feedback has been considered and applied in these final drafts can be downloaded below. Please click the ‘Download Summary of Feedback, Responses and Actions’ button.

Qualification code and nameProposed changes or rationaleLink
AHC3XX21 Certificate III in Dairy ProductionTitle changed. New core and elective units added, reflecting modern industry practice. This qualification is also relevant to skills in managing animal reproduction programs and includes units being reviewed as part of the Animal Reproduction Project, which include:

  • AHCLSK329 Implement procedures for calving
  • HCLSK312 Coordinate artificial insemination and fertility management of livestock
  • AHCLSK315 Prepare for and implement natural mating of livestock
  • AHCAIS303 Artificially inseminate livestock
View draft qualification

 

The draft document can be downloaded in Microsoft Word format by clicking here.

Feedback during the ‘drafts available’ phase indicated that the proposed ‘Milking Technician Skill Set’ should not be developed as its content is adequately covered within the qualification.

Skill Set code and nameProposed changes or rationaleLink
AHCSSXXXXX Milking Equipment Maintenance Skill SetNew skill set, to support the skills for maintaining on site equipment.View draft skill set

 

The draft document can be downloaded in Microsoft Word format by clicking here.

Units updated to include modern industry practices. Unit AHCDRY3XX Carry out routine service of milking equipment developed to assist those learning how to troubleshoot specific milking equipment.

Unit code and nameLink
AHCDRY2XX Milk livestockView draft unit
AHCDRY3XX Carry out routine service of milking equipmentView draft unit
AHCDRY3XX Coordinate and monitor milking operationsView draft unit
AHCDRY3XX Conduct mechanical tests on milking machinesView draft unit
AHCDRY3XX Operate a dairy waste utilisation systemView draft unit
AHCDRY4XX Manage milking shed operationsView draft unit

 

The draft document can be downloaded in Microsoft Word format by clicking here.

These units are proposed for deletion as they have not been delivered by registered training providers since they were created and they do not align with the job role within the qualification.

Unit code and nameLink
AHCMKH405 Performance test milking machinesView current unit on training.gov.au
AHCMKH404 Install milking equipmentView current unit on training.gov.au
AHCMKH303 Service and repair milking equipmentView current unit on training.gov.au
AHCMKH402 Design and fabricate milking equipmentView current unit on training.gov.au
AHCMKH403 Design and install milk cooling storage systemsView current unit on training.gov.au
AHCMKH401 Carry out cleaning-time tests of milking machinesView current unit on training.gov.au
AHCMKH304 Monitor and establish milking machine cleaningView current unit on training.gov.au

 

 

Register your interest in the project

Subscribe to the Skills Impact newsletter to keep informed about project updates and opportunities to provide input and feedback. Make sure to select ‘Agriculture, Horticulture, Conservation & Land Management’ as your industry of interest on the subscription form.

 

Finalisation

This stage has not yet commenced