More than 70 farmers from around 30 farms nationwide have agreed to share their information and host events as part of the Tactics for Tight Times campaign. The campaign is designed to help farmers survive the current season and build their resilience for the future.
DairyNZ chief executive Tim Mackle says 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 six-year 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,” says Tim.
“With the double-whammy 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 cost-effective tactics tailored to their regions.
Tim says 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 possible 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.”
Tim says 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.”
Event details, profiles of the Tactics for Tight Times farmers and practical resources can be found at dairynz.co.nz/tactics.
Regular updates from the farms will also be added after the first field days.
Communications and marketing advisor
021 703 068