Farm­ing smarter way to go

South Waikato News - - FARMING -

Ex­perts say farm­ing smarter is im­per­a­tive be­cause of the pro­duc­tiv­ity, en­vi­ron­ment and fi­nan­cial is­sues farm­ers are fac­ing.

Chal­lenges in­clude costs of pro­duc­tion go­ing up faster than re­turns, with food prices fall­ing 1 per cent last year. Re­turns are also volatile, given their de­pen­dence on mar­kets and ex­change rates.

Waikato Times Farmer asked ex­perts with links to the Waikato for their top three tips for peo­ple want­ing to farm smarter.

Tim Mackle, DairyNZ, chief ex­ec­u­tive: Smart farm­ing de­pends on peo­ple: Se­lect the best, look af­ter them in the work­place, and grow them in a way that con­trib­utes to the busi­ness and ful­fils their per­sonal plans. Keep up with the play: Make sure your de­ci­sions are based on re­li­able (in­de­pen­dent), timely (up to date) and ac­cu­rate (sci­en­tific) in­for­ma­tion. Work-life bal- ance: Have clear goals for your busi­ness and fam­ily. En­sure th­ese are al­ways in sync with each other.

James Par­sons, Beef + Lamb NZ, di­rec­tor: In­vest in de­vel­op­ing your­self be­fore your farm as ‘‘ the money is in the think­ing, not the do­ing’’. Pay a pre­mium for good ge­net­ics in stock, whether for breed­ing or fin­ish­ing. Too many peo­ple do not do enough due dili­gence on the ge­netic package, fo­cus­ing in­stead on live weight and looks.

Jac­que­line Rowarth, Waikato Univer­sity, agribusi­ness pro­fes­sor: Get bet­ter pub­lic sup­port and im­prove so­ci­ety’s un­der­stand­ing of what farm­ers do. Put greater re­search and devel­op­ment on to farms. Im­prove re­turns for farm­ers for their sus­tain­ably pro­duced prod­uct.

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