Empowering your team will ensure there are many eyes focused on keeping things right and that everyone knows what to do if things change.
Get everyone on the same page
Take time to talk to your people so they know what your shared goals are around pasture management, why those goals are important and where their role fits in achieving them.
- Ensure staff know what your key indicators are.
- Make sure they know how their actions impact on the rest of the business.
- Talk as a team and individually – and encourage questions.
- Acknowledge and reward staff when they get it right.
- Support and educate staff when they get it wrong.
Get everyone what they need
Now everyone understands where they fit into the ‘big picture’, here’s how you can support your team to carry out their roles and keep the information flow going.
- Match tools and training to individuals’ roles and their skills/knowledge gaps.
- Don’t just train for the system – show staff how all the systems fit together.
- Identify which parts of the system different staff have control over.
- Ensure staff know when and how to speak up, who else needs to know and what they need to do (if anything).
- Ensure staff know what to look for. For example, are the grazing residuals too high or are they on track? What does ‘good’ look like?
Get everyone responsive and flexible
Now that your staff can get on with the job when things go to plan, here’s how to ensure they can make the right decisions when the unexpected happens. If the weather changes, the cows break out, or the cows haven’t quite finished their break, your team needs to know what to do next.
- Do staff understand what’s urgent and what can wait?
- When something unexpected happens, talk it over with the team. Whether the outcome was good or bad, everyone can learn from it.
- Include ‘what if’ scenarios in your regular staff training sessions.
TOP TIPS FOR TIP TOP PASTURE
Here’s what farmers are saying to us:
- Use the Perennial ryegrass grazing management in spring guide at dairynz.co.nz/grazing
- Use a plate meter.
- If you’re unsure, snap a photo of the paddock and grass/residuals and send it to your manager.
- Get your staff to directly note down residuals in a ‘dairy diary’ or whiteboard.
- Use a ‘traffic light’ system on a whiteboard in the farm dairy – green for ‘cows can move onto next break’; orange for ‘check the paddock’; and red for ‘residual is too long – cows go back to finish’.
For more information on managing your people see dairynz.co.nz/people.
This article was originally published in Inside Dairy August 2018