Coles to support sustainable farming with grant

Wednesday, 07 February, 2024

Coles to support sustainable farming with grant

Coles has announced that 100 Coles dairy farms around Australia will share in $1.45 million in grants as part of the newly developed Dairy Farm Sustainability Accelerator Fund.

Grants of up to $50,000 have been awarded to Coles’ direct sourcing dairy farmers to drive innovation and fund projects which invest in animal welfare, solar energy and infrastructure improvement.

Brad Goran, Coles General Manager Dairy, Freezer and Convenience, said the company wanted to give its dairy farmers opportunities to invest in research and projects which boosted sustainable farming and drove innovation.

Under its direct sourcing model, Coles contracts directly with farms in Victoria, Southern New South Wales, South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania to supply over 490 million litres of milk each year for Coles Brand Fresh milk and some Coles Brand cheese.

“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’re very excited to see the impact of these initiatives,” Goran said.

Coles dairy farmers and grant recipients Benjamin and Melissa Holloway will use the funds to help install an 80 kW solar roof system on their farm in Victoria’s southwest. This will be a significant addition to their existing roof solar system, providing their farm an extra 106,000 kW a year in clean, renewable energy.

“This investment from Coles will help us upgrade our current solar system. 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. We’re incredibly grateful to Coles and proud to help drive change in our industry,” Benjamin Holloway said.

Victorian farmers the Parkinsons will use the funds from Coles to support the construction of a 100 ML mega dam on one of their properties.

“We’re a family business that runs across multiple dairy farms in Victoria. The funds from Coles will support the construction of a 100 ML mega dam that will service our properties by storing excess wastewater and will store water to use throughout summer and autumn,” Daniel Parkinson said.

Other projects to receive grants 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% 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 was established to work collaboratively with and support 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.

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