How many people are in your team?
There are five of us in DairyNZ’s Economics Team. Our vision is to increase the breadth and depth of economic analysis at DairyNZ, building on the strong foundations already in place.
I believe we’re one of the leading applied economics units in Australasia. What makes us different is our high level of industry knowledge and engagement. Everyone in the team has a strong affinity to farming and many of us have ties to the land that go back generations. We’re farmer focused. We have a passion for dairy farming and that’s a very strong motivator to make a difference.
What areas do you get involved in?
We have many areas of research at DairyNZ, and our team sits across almost all of them. There are many things you can do if you want to improve animal welfare, but some activities cost more than others and this can impact choices made on-farm. Likewise, when we think about things like improving the management of people, production or the environment, cost is central to these aspects as well.
We look at historical data to establish the economic value of the different ways of managing farms or to benchmark performance. Further, we try to understand the potential impact of different innovations by forecasting their impact on New Zealand dairy farms. For example, one recent report we’ve done looks at what the impact would be on nitrogen leaching and farm profit if plantain was broadly adopted within our pastoral sector.
What achievements are you most proud of?
Our work is broad, but there are a few personal highlights. We put together the annual DairyNZ Economic Farm Survey, which provides key information for benchmarking and summarising important changes in the sector.
Also, Mark Neal’s recent work displaying a link between pasture eaten and farm profit is a standout for me.
Other work we’re doing estimates the cost of environmental regulation, both in the climate and water space. This is important to help regional and national government understand the true impact that environmental policies will have on farmers and their farm systems.
I’m keen to see us work more with farmers to understand what leading farmers are doing to reduce their cost of production. Our competitiveness is based on this capacity to produce more from less, especially in a world where our social licence is being challenged.
Want to know more?
- Contact Graeme Doole with any questions about his team – Graeme.Doole@dairynz.co.nz
- Read the DairyNZ Economic Farm Survey – dairynz.co.nz/economic-survey
- Get information on the profitability of cows eating more pasture and crop – dairynz.co.nz/how-much
This article was originally published in Inside Dairy April 2019