Farmers to share coping tactics
Matamata dairy farmers could benefit from visiting their neighbours and hearing their tips.
As part of DairyNZ’s Tactics for Tight Times campaign to help dairy farmers survive a tough season bought on by a low milk price, two farms – one in Waihou and another in Putaruru – are among about 30 farms nationwide whose farmers have agreed to share their information and host events as part of the campaign.
The campaign is designed to help farmers survive the current season and build their resilience for the future.
DairyNZ chief executive Tim Mackle said the fact the Minister for Primary Industries has declared drought conditions on the east coast of the South Island as a medium-scale adverse event, has highlighted the critical need for extra support for farmers.
‘‘The milk price hit a sixyear low in December, and dry conditions have exacerbated the situation, forcing many farmers to make some pretty tough decisions, especially as they look to set themselves up for next season,’’ he said.
‘‘ With the doublewhammy of a dry summer and low milk price, judgement calls become much more complex as farmers carefully balance the profitability of keeping cows milking, keeping condition on them and using supplementary feed.’’
DairyNZ is pulling together research, data and lessons learned from similar seasons to support farmers with their decisions around health and wellbeing, pasture cover, feed, production, stock health and financial management.
The first round of events on the host farms will be held at the end of February and March, providing farmers with the economic outlook for dairy and costeffective tactics tailored to their regions.
Mackle said the sharing of information is crucial to the Tactics for Tight Times campaign.
‘‘Many of our host farms are in very dry areas. Events on those properties will address the specific challenges that come with those conditions.
‘‘ We’ll provide farmers with as much data as poss- ible from the host farms, both short and long-term, and then back this up with tools, resources and information from experts.
‘‘No two farms are the same and this diversity has been addressed with the selection of host farms which differ in ownership structure, the amount of feed they buy in, topography and size.’’
Mackle said many farmers are already running very resilient systems because extreme weather and a fluctuating milk price is part and parcel of being a farmer.
‘‘ Dairy farmers have learnt lessons from the past. This campaign is about bringing that knowledge into one place, discussing what worked last time and feeding that into plans for the coming season,’’ he said.
Andrew McGiven and Graham Wallace will open the gate to their farm, located at 4262 State Highway 26, Waihou, to neighbouring farmers on March 4 from 10.45am till 1pm.
Mike White will open the gate to his farm, located at 70 Whites Rd, Putaruru, on the same day from 10.30am till 1.30pm.
DRY CONDITIONS: Advice is available to dairy farmers to help them survive a tough season brought on by a low milk price.