Swinburne collaboration uses IoT to boost Australia’s dairy industry

SOURCE: Martin Gallie/Shutterstock

By U2B Staff 

Read all stories

The logistics of getting milk from farm to fridge is not something most of us spend a lot of time thinking about. But for a country with 8,594 dairy farms, 1.6 million cows, and an annual production of 9.1 billion litres of the stuff, it’s a serious consideration for Australia’s dairy industry.

That’s why the federal government has just invested in a Swinburne University research project aimed at developing new technology that will streamline the process and get your breakfast to your cornflakes bowl faster and more efficient than ever before.

The “Live Inbound Milk Supply Chain Monitoring and Logistics for Productivity and Competitiveness” project, known more simply as the Milk Supply Chain Project, this month received AU$600,000 under round seven of the federal government’s Cooperative Research Centres Projects (CRCP).


CRCPs work to bring industry and academia together to partner on major real-world issues affecting Australia. This project does just that.

Over the two and a half year project, Swinburne, along with partners Bega Cheese, Telstra and three Australian milk suppliers, plans to develop an Internet of Things (IoT) based system that will link all stages of Australia’s dairy industry supply chain, allowing real time monitoring of the entire system.

The network will include hundreds of sensors across dairy farms, milk carriers and milk processors, and will eventually build up a catalogue of data that can be used to forecast milk supply.

Australia's dairy industry
Australia has 8,594 dairy farms, 1.6 million cows, and an annual production of 9.1 billion litres of milk. Source: Hypervision Creative / Shutterstock

“We will be using cutting-edge technology, including over 700 sensors, to measure specific aspects of the supply chain. We will also use Telstra’s newly-deployed Narrowband Internet of Things (NB-IoT) network, which is Australia’s largest IoT network and one of the largest in the world,” Professor Georgakopoulos said in a press release.

“The data collected by the IoT sensors will find trends to make production schedules more efficient and enable highly accurate milk supply forecasting. These collectively enhance the chain’s productivity and competitiveness.”

Swinburne University has long been a champion of university-industry collaborations, making the idea central to their Industry 4.0 Initiative, a programme that builds strong industry relationships for social and economic impact.


The initiative was recently awarded the 2019 Australian Business Award (ABA) for Business Innovation for its unique collaboration model and the significant successes it has achieved across a whole range of fields.

“Swinburne has made a real difference through its strategic industry links, preparing our business partners, as well as the current and future workforce for Industry 4.0 transformations,” Swinburne’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Development), Professor Aleksandar Subic, said in a statement at the time.

“We have positioned ourselves as a national and international leader in Industry 4.0 research, innovation and education across the entire continuum – from vocational to research training.”