Buffalo are farmed in every Australian state with milk and meat the principal products. The Buffalo Program aims to direct RD&E that contributes to the profitability, sustainability and productivity of this emerging industry.

About the industry

There were approximately 65 buffalo farms across Australia in 2012 with an estimated total of about 12,000 buffaloes. Most of the Riverine buffalo (milking) in Australia are located in five buffalo dairy enterprises in VIC, QLD and NT.

The industry was significantly affected by the 2011 ban on live exports to Indonesia and its subsequent inability to comply with the new requirements of the Exporter Supply Chain Assurance Scheme (ESCAS) following the trade’s re-opening. As a result, the gross value of the meat production component of the Australian buffalo industry in 2011–12 was down to only $841,000 (from around $5 million annually), comprising a small number of live exports and a few hundred animals slaughtered.

Most of the R&D undertaken in the industry to date has focused on improving the genetic base via cross-breeding, AI and semen importation. There has also been a focus on branded meat product, and gaining a better understanding of buffalo milk composition and processing characteristics.


The program is funded by statutory levies paid by industry participants. The Australian Government contributes half of program expenditure as program funds are expended. Australian Government contribution is capped at 0.5% of the Gross Value of Production.

The Levy is collected and distributed via the Department of Agriculture. For more information, visit the Department of Agriculture Water and the Environment website.

View the AgriFutures Buffalo Program income and expenditure for 2018-19 statement.

RD&E plan

The Buffalo Program RD&E objectives for 2013-2018 are covered by the objectives of the Animal Industries RD&E Plan:

  • Provide new and developing animal industries with regular and up-to-date market assessments
  • Enhance industry success through targeted industry-specific RD&E Strategies
  • Facilitate new industry growth through multi-disciplinary approaches that potentially advantage several industries
  • Improve capacity across new and developing animal industries.

Buffalo industry areas of focus include:

  • Reinvigoration of the live export program, especially stunning procedures, to allow compliance with ESCAS and Halal
  • Examination of opportunities for local processing facilities (including Halal)
  • Compilation of specific information for buffalo management (meat and milk)
  • Distribution of milk composition information to industry and general public
  • Monitoring genetic improvement in buffalo dairying and providing support as possible (e.g. encouraging producer input of data into Breedplan to identify superior dairy genetics in Riverines).


Dr Mila Bristow
Senior Manager, Research
0417 425 351

Related Publications


Developing Appropriate Stunning Methods for Halal Slaughter of Water Buffalo


Parasitism and control strategies in domesticated buffalo populations of Australia


Project summary: Parasitism and control strategies in domesticated buffalo populations of Australia


Fact sheet: Management of gastrointestinal nematodes in water buffalo

Latest News and Events


Bringing back the buff: 5 things you need to know about buffalo

In recognition of AgriFutures Australia’s longstanding involvement in the buffalo industry, we bring to you the latest industry highlights including project updates, unique industry insights and growth potential.