Farming smarter way to go
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.