What makes NZ’s best dairy farmers?

A survey of NZ’s top dairy farmers has established similarities that DairyNZ is now extending throughout the industry through budget case studies.

DairyNZ senior developer for people and business, Carolyn Bushell, said the farmers had a lot in common. Primarily, they had focus on profit before production, she said. They actively monitor, measure and manage all aspects of their farm business – finances, pasture, animals and can articulate what they are about, have focus and know their business strategies and success factors.

She added that they make changes to their systems after considering implications of the change across the whole farm system, particularly the financial implications. They focus on pasture growth and utilisation first.

They will use supplement with introduced feeds but they do not substitute. They have good industry awareness and gather information from a range of sources and are always looking for better prices/will shop around for the best deal, she said, adding that they add value through surplus stock and maximise the value of their outputs, while they monitor and identify budget variances throughout the season and reallocate this across other areas of the budget so the overall variance is not high.

Rural professionals, especially bankers and accountants, are part of the team and their input feeds into decisions, she said. Lastly, the top farmers have clear, simple, repeatable policies and processes which are documented and communicated across the team.