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Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment

Improve your knowledge of dairy cattle management and planning.

The ACS Dairy Cattle course provides a detailed insight into the care and management of dairy cattle.

  • An excellent course for anyone wanting to work with dairy cattle or to improve their existing knowledge.
  • Improve your job and career prospects.
  • Study in your own time at your own pace.
  • Study with industry experts – our tutors!

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Learn how to better manage dairy cattle.

Gain a foundation in the practices and theory that underpin dairying.

Modern dairy production is as much about technology and science as it is about animal husbandry.  

  • An industry with enormous global demand.
  • An excellent course, designed for anyone working in, or hoping to work in the dairy cattle industry.


Course Duration: 100 hours.

Start Date: Start at any time - study at a pace that suits you, and with full tutor support for the duration of your studies.

Lessons: The course comprises 9 lessons as detailed, below.

Lesson 1. Dairy Breeds
Comparison of dairy breeds: the Ayrshire, Guernsey, jersey, Holstein – Friesian, A.F.S. (Australian Friesian Sahiwal), Illawarra, judging cattle: general appearance, dairy character, the udder.

Lesson 2. Dairy Products
The composition of milk: protein, lactose, ash, factors affecting the composition of milk: environmental and physiological factors.

Lesson 3. The Lactation Cycle
Explain the management of the lactation cycle in dairy cattle, on a farm property. The influence of the farmer on lactation, infertile cows, feeding, the milking shed, planning for feed- flow.

Lesson 4. Pests & Diseases of Dairy Cattle
Manage the wellbeing of a dairy cow, including consideration of its health and vigour, to optimise quality and quantity of production (Part a – pests & diseases), mastitis, correct treatment techniques, dry cow therapy, viral & bacterial diseases in cattle, disease types in cattle.

Lesson 5. Feeding Dairy Cattle
Manage the wellbeing of a dairy cow, consideration of its health and vigour, to optimise quality and quantity of production (Part b - nutrition), working out dairy rations, maintenance requirements for a dairy cow, the dairy ration, working out the cost of dairy rations.

Lesson 6. Managing Dairy Cattle
Manage general husbandry operations for the dairy cow, managing the heifer, age of breeding, management of the dairy cow, factors affecting the milk yield.

Lesson 7. Breeding Dairy Cattle
Explain the significance of animal breeding programs for milk production, selection, artificial selection, regression, disadvantages of inbreeding, performance testing, artificial insemination, ova transplants.

Lesson 8. Managing Dairy Facilities
Explain the management of the facilities, including buildings and machinery at a farm dairy, basic requirements of all dairies, cooling of milk, machine milking, components of a milking machine, choosing a system, different types of systems.

Lesson 9. Dairy Business Planning
Develop a business plan for the management of a dairy property, economics of dairying, business plan example.

Upon completion of the course, students will be able to:

  • Select appropriate dairy breeds for different farming situations.
  • Describe the different characteristics, including their nature and scope, of dairy products.
  • Explain the management of the lactation cycle in dairy cattle, on a farm property.
  • Manage general husbandry operations for the dairy cow.
  • Manage the wellbeing of a dairy cow, including consideration of its health and vigour, to optimise quality and quantity of production.
  • Explain the significance of animal breeding programs for milk production.
  • Explain the management of the facilities, including buildings and machinery, at a farm dairy.
  • Develop a business plan for the management of a dairy property.

Here are just some of the things you will be doing:

  • Distinguish between different breeds of dairy cattle.
  • Evaluate the suitability of different dairy cattle breeds to a specified property, in a locality with which the learner is familiar.
  • Select three appropriate dairy cattle breeds for each of four specified situations, with regard to - pasture varieties, climatic conditions (e.g. temperature and weather patterns), locality, market requirements for the product.
  • Judge a dairy cow, using a standard score card, such as the dairy cow unified score card produced (and revised in 1982) by the Purebred Dairy Cattle Association.
  • Describe the composition of milk, with reference to different characteristics, including - sediment, bacteria count, chemical impurities, somatic cell count, added water, flavour.
  • Describe the lactation cycle of a dairy cow.
  • List the farm husbandry factors which can influence the lactation cycle.
  • Produce a log book record of management tasks carried out, over a period of 1 month, to control the lactation cycle in dairy cattle on a specified property.
  • Compare the management of heifers with that of milking cows on a specified dairy farm.
  • Describe the management of dairy cattle for meat production on a specified dairy farm.
  • Evaluate a production system on a dairy farm, in a locality familiar to the learner.
  • Develop a checklist for the signs of ill health, which should be routinely checked, in dairy cattle.
  • Distinguish between a maintenance ration and production ration for a dairy cow.
  • Prepare a collection of pasture plant species from two different dairy properties, and including - samples of plants (i.e. pressings of different plants in the pasture), comments on the suitability of the pasture for dairy cattle.
  • Produce a twelve month plan to manage the vigour of dairy cattle, on a specified property, which includes - a list of disease management procedures, feed program variations throughout the year.
  • List the minimum physical facilities required for a viable dairy farm.
  • List factors affecting the siting of a dairy on a farm.
  • Prepare a plan for the construction of dairy facilities on a specified site, including - sketch or concept plans of buildings, fencing surrounding buildings, and interior layout, a list of materials, a list of equipment to be installed, a schedule of construction tasks.
  • Develop a profile of an ideal dairy farm site.
  • Develop procedures for control of goods on a typical dairy farm, including - ordering, receipt, dispatch.
  • Report on research, conducted by the learner from an information search, into innovations in the dairy industry.
  • Prepare or evaluate a dairy farm budget for a specified property.
  • Prepare or evaluate a dairy farm financial report for a specified property.
  • Analyse marketing systems for marketing dairy products produced by a specified enterprise.
  • Explain factors affecting sales of dairy products on a specified farm.
  • Develop a business plan for a specified dairy property.
  • Describe how the sale of dairy meat can be managed, in accordance with a business plan, while adhering to relevant regulations.


You can start the Dairy Cattle course at any time.

It is studied by distance learning, so you can study in the comfort of your own home. But this doesn't mean you are all alone in your studies.  Our highly qualified and friendly tutors are there to help you every step of the way.  If you have any questions at all, they are always happy to help.

Each lesson includes set tasks, and is completed with an assignment which the student submits to their course tutor.  The tutor will mark the assignment and return this to the student with comments and suggestions for further reading.


  • Quality - our courses are developed and tutored by experienced professionals, with real world experience.
  • Relevant - our courses are relevant to today's world, with teaching that you can apply to real life situations.
  • Flexible - our courses can be started at any time and studied at your own pace, and therefore fitted around your existing commitments.
  • Choice - you choose from the option of either online studies or eLearning - you choose the option which best suits you, so you can determine where and when you study.

We receive a number of unsolicitated comments from our students.  Our student H Thorneycroft had the following to say upon completing studies in the Dairy Cattle course:
"(This course)... has given me confidence in that I can understand the farmers I will be dealing with as a vet."


To enrol, simply go the the enrolment box at the top right-hand side of this page.  If you have any QUESTIONS or need some help in choosing the right course for you, please get in touch with our specialist agriculture tutors using our FREE COURSE COUNSELLING SERVICE, they will be more than happy to help you.



How Productive Can Dairying be?
Economic forces (particularly those of supply and demand) that are involved in any form of production are cyclic. This means that, with time, today's low profit margin becomes tomorrow's gold mine (or the reverse).

The key to success is survival in poor times and this applies to all branches of farming. Higher feed costs and falling milk prices at times will reduce dairy farm profitability; but the opposite will increase profit.
The producer who can efficiently adjust his management to allow for low returns will be in a very strong position when returns increase. There are many factors involved in dairy farm success or failure.
Feed is often the single greatest cost factor in dairy farming. It makes economic sense, therefore, to supply feed correctly. This entails planning fodder flow programs and balancing rations and is probably the most important aspect that must be considered. Seeking advice from nutritionists and pasture scientists is time and money well spent.
The cost aspect of mastitis is often underplayed by the dairy farmer. Studies in the United States suggest that the most significant improvement a dairyman can make to improve his financial returns is to eliminate, or at least reduce, the numbers of cases of sub-clinical mastitis in his herd.
Fertility levels also have a profound effect on final returns as does the ability to raise a calf. Another factor which reduces milk yields significantly is heat stress. The provision of shade, a simple and inexpensive task, can improve the financial returns of the dairy farm.
The dairy farmer must consider the economic effect of his actions when he is making decisions. Most actions can be costed out to emphasise the correct decision. However, to do this, a vast number of facts and figures are needed. These are not always easily obtainable. A great help to the farmer are the computer-based recording systems that provide data from both the farmer's enterprise as well as national statistics. Such programs can really help the farmer make informed decisions.
For a farmer to make good management decisions, however, he must have a clear idea of the costs on his own farm. The farmer who follows the exercises on the following pages will gain a deeper insight into the financial status of his dairy enterprise. Such insight will prove invaluable when making management decisions. We have for you to fill in data from your own farm.


To enrol, simply go the the enrolment box at the top right-hand side of this page.  If you have any QUESTIONS or need some help in choosing the right course for you, please get in touch with our specialist agriculture tutors using our FREE COURSE COUNSELLING SERVICE, they will be more than happy to help you.


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Meet some of our academics

Alison Pearce (animal)B.Sc.(Hons) in Animal Science. Masters Degree in Ecotourism. P.G.Cert. Ed. (Science). Alison's first job was in 1982 as a stockwoman, working with pigs in Yorkshire. Within a few years she of that she was working for the University of Western Australia as a Research Technician and instructor with their school of Agricultural Science.In 1989 she moved to Melbourne University as Unit Manager and Instructor in Animal Husbandry. By the mid 1990's she moved back to England to work in Animal Care and Veterinary Nursing at Cambridgeshire College of Agriculture. Throughout her career, Alison has developed and delivered courses in veterinary nursing and animal sciences for vocational colleges and universities in Australia, New Zealand and Australia. She has built a high level of expertise and an outstanding international reputation as an expert in animal sciences.
Dr. Gareth PearceGraduated from the University of Nottingham in 1982 with a B.Sc.(Hons) in Animal Science. Between 82 and 85 worked as Research Assistant and Demonstator in Animal Science at the University of Leeds. Over more than 30 years he has furthered his studies, obtaining eight significant university qualifications including degrees in Veterinary Science, Wildlife Conservation and Animal Behaviour. Gareth has significant teaching experience around the world as a faculty member at eight different universities including Associate Professor at Murdoch University and Director of Studies in Veterinary Science at Cambridge University. He has over 100 prestigious research papers published, and enjoys an outstanding international reputation in the fields of animal and veterinary science.
Marius Erasmus Subsequent to completing a BSc (Agric) degree in animal science, Marius completed an honours degree in wildlife management, and a masters degree in production animal physiology. Following the Masters degree, he has worked for 9 years in the UK, and South Africa in wildlife management, dairy, beef and poultry farming.

Check out our eBooks

Animal PsychologyExplore how animals think and comare how this differs between different animals (and humans)
Animal HealthUnderstand animal health issues, diseases and how identify and manage illnesses and injuries. Animals can become sick for many different reasons -diseases caused by infections, injuries, poisoning, genetic disorders, poor nutrition and other things.
Business OperationsA text book for business students, or a guide book for anyone operating a business. Six chapters: Daily Challenges of Running a Business, Managing People, The Law, Fiance, Product Management and Risk Management.
Profitable FarmingDiscover new ways to make money from your farm and broaden your perspective on the farming industry. A few things in life are certain; change is inevitable and people need to eat. Learn to embrace change as an opportunity and improve your ability to forge a sustainable career in farming.