P9 – Designer milk

Adding value to milk

Project contact:

Juan Gargiulo (DPI NSW) – juan.gargiulo@dpi.nsw.gov.au

Yani Garcia (USyd) – sergio.garcia@sydney.edu.au


  • University of Sydney
  • Scibus
  • University of California, Davis, USA

Timeframe: 2021-2026

The Designer Milk project aims to unlock the potential of milk by exploring attributes of milk that can add value.
There are three P9 projects, each exploring opportunities to add value to milk from a different angle:

  • P9a: Producing milk with less lactose
  • P9b: Milk as an indicator of heat load
  • P9c: Adding value to dairy waste

Potential outcomes of this work include:

  • Opportunities for new markets
  • New ‘rapid detection’ models to describe fluid milk in more detail
  • Precision nutritional strategies tailored to specific milk markets
  • New techniques (genetics, nutrition, management) for new dairy products


Progress (December 2023):  
Dairy UP’s P9b project is researching the value of a modified ELISA test using milk samples to monitor heat load in dairy cows. This would be less invasive than testing through traditional methods of blood and saliva. There’s also less room for error or subjectiveness compared to visually accessing a herd for heat load. Additionally, it has the potential for remote monitoring and could be a service offered by milk processors. Early results show the test can monitor heat load but the accuracy at individual cow level is yet to be determined. This project involves researchers at the University of Sydney, NSW DPI and a PhD student.

Progress (April 2022):  
P9a is already underway, first with the analysis of records from NSW herds to understand distribution, variability, and factors affecting lactose concentration in milk at a herd/region scale. And subsequently with physiological trials on specific herds or individual cows.