Farming sustainably is in the DNA of the Anderson family at Denison in Victoria's Gippsland dairy heartland and Ross Anderson is happy to be continuing the tradition.
Ross has been back on the farm for 15 years.
He and partner Jenny are in the process of taking over management from his parents Graeme and Chris.
The farm in the Macalister Irrigation District in Victoria's Gippsland region has undergone significant changes over the past decade.
But change is nothing new for the Andersons who milk 500 crossbreed cows and look at every opportunity to farm sustainably and profitably.
"Mum and Dad always had a big focus on being early adopters and trying to create efficiencies," Ross said.
"I'm lucky I came home to a well-established farm with parents who are enthusiastic about investing in new ideas.
"I'm happy to continue that."
Read more: Focus on reducing dairy's methane footprint
Innovations over the past decade have included installation of 60kW solar power for the dairy and three on-farm houses, automated irrigation, three-way cross-breeding with the addition of VikingRed, a monitoring system and an upcoming spray rig.
"Water is limited so we've always been conscious of being smart with its use and not wasting it," Ross said.
"We have a lot of catchments and no water now leaves the farm; we catch it and re-use it."
Irrigation has been automated to improve labour and water-use efficiency.
The farm has been crossbreeding for decades, originally with Jersey and Holstein and more recently with Brown Swiss and for the past two years VikingRed.
"We weren't getting the quality and availability of Brown Swiss so we looked into VikingRed and found they are robust and would make a really good cross," Ross said.
"The third cross gives a great opportunity to really develop the animal and improve on fertility and health."
The addition of VikingRed has been an instant hit.
"The calves are beautiful and we can't wait to get them mated and milked in coming years," Ross said.
"We're pretty excited about them."
When considering ways to reduce their environmental footprint while saving money, the Andersons invested $120,000 in a 60kW solar system on the dairy and farm houses.
"At full tilt when the dairy is running, we use all 60kW," Ross said.
"Depending on what time we milk and the weather conditions, we can cover a fair bit of the power for that milking."
Read more: Bulla leapfrogs its competitors
Solar also runs pumps, crushers and other equipment during the day, allowing a shift from night-time off-peak work, leading to more efficiencies.
Installed five years ago, the solar system has already paid for itself.
Ross expects ongoing financial benefits with power prices going up.
Collars were added to the cows five years ago for heat detection and health alerts, creating efficiencies in labour and contributing to improvements in herd health and fertility.
The introduction of VikingRed has also helped with fertility.
"The last two matings have been with Reds," Ross said.
"We are mating autumn calvers now and this is our second go with the sexed semen.
"We're trying to do the right thing and go away from bobby calves.
"We're using sexed and beef semen which helps our sustainability and it's going well financially while there's demand for beef calves."
This year pit silage has been introduced to decrease the amount of disposable plastic.
"The year before we did 2000 bales and wrapped every one individually," Ross said.
"This last season we did about the same number and put them in three pit stacks.
"We used reusable gravel bags of tyres and tarps, which means a lot less plastic."
Read more: Milk production sluggish across the globe
A new $20,000 monitoring system monitors grain levels in silos, water in tanks for the farm and hot water for the plant.
The system makes sure the right levels of chemicals are being dispensed for the washes.
The next investment is a Tow and Fert spray rig which will be in use from September, using agitators that turn urea into liquid so it can be sprayed instead of spreading granules.
"It will reduce the amount of nitrogen that we use while getting a greater impact on growth," Ross said.
"We hope it will pay for itself by growing more feed for less cost."
Apart from 2.5-3 tonnes of grain fed in the dairy, all feed is home grown.
Even the grain is fed in an efficient manner.
"We have milk meters and each cow is fed based on their production," Ross said.
"We want them to hit their peak and hopefully maintain for as long as possible."
The Andersons milk off a 120-hectare home farm, supported by a 180-hectare block for young stock.
They have a high stocking rate so they need to be efficient.
A new dairy was built in 2009 including automatic teat spray and cup removers making it a one-person operation to improve labour efficiency.
Ross continues to makes conscious decisions to be more sustainable, not only leading to environmental improvements but to better profitability.
He's keen to pursue new ideas as they emerge and is appreciating VikingGenetics' commitment to data and innovation.
"The way technology has developed and the world has become smaller, it's great to be able to access webinars out of Europe and see what is happening," he said.
"VikingGenetics is doing a great job in collecting data about bulls and heifers."
Want to read more stories like this?
Sign up below to receive our e-newsletter delivered fresh to your email in-box twice a week.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.