Calving is one of the busiest times of the season. Spending time with your team prior to calving will help you create a plan that works for everyone. If you put your team (that includes you and your staff) first, then the results will follow – the calves will be cared for, the cows milked, the pasture and feed managed – and with less stress and greater ease than when you focussed on tasks first.
Good people, those with the right attitude and skills, make the difference between a crazy calving and a manageable one so focus on people and reap the benefits – both in calving and for the rest of the season.
Achieving the best team performance
You need to get everyone performing at their peak and to achieve this your team needs to:
- ✔ understand what you are trying to achieve and why
- ✔ understand what is expected of them
- ✔ feel respected and valued
- ✔ have time to recharge off farm so they can maintain efficiency on farm
"If calving on your farm feels hectic try focussing on your employees to reduce stress and improve results. People are the difference between a crazy calving and a busy but enjoyable one."
Actions for managers
Here are a few simple actions that you can do as a manager to help build the platform for a successful calving:
1. Get your team involved
Make sure they know why you do things, and how you’ll do it together and what you are trying to achieve
2. Make sure your roster is achievable
By making sure staff have adequate and regular time off for them to rest and recharge, you can help prevent them making mistakes or compromising their safety at work. If casual or relief staff are part of your plan, make sure you have access to them when you need them
3. Discuss and plan any upskilling your team members will need
This includes introducing new staff to your systems and processes
4. Ensure all the appropriate PPE and tools are available for your team
5. Make sure the whole team is eating well
Ensure everyone has 3 nutritious meals a day and access to snacks to maintain energy levels
6. Share what goes through your head as a manager
Create a list of items you need for calving, and daily/weekly tasks to be completed, so everyone can help achieve them
7. Hold regular team meetings
5 minute ‘stand up’ meetings are most useful at this time of year so that everyone gets the same message and any minor frustrations can be dealt with. Use a simple agenda of:
- What happened yesterday?
- What’s happening today?
8. Work as a team and lead by example
9. Watch for signs of stress and fatigue
This includes in yourself and in your staff.
If you do notice any stress or fatigue, be proactive in dealing with it.
10. Keep timesheets for all employees
Its good practice, and you can reflect on them later to plan for next season.
11. Keep talking, coaching, and providing feedback – celebrate success!
Keeping yourself safe and healthy
This video outlines some of the key areas to be mindful of during calving and how you can keep yourself and your team safe and healthy over calving.
Download this video here.