Home' Otago Southland Farmer : June 14th 2013 Contents 14
Dairying Advertising Feature
Dairy farmers encouraged to upskill to improve profitability
While returns for the New Zealand dairy
industry are looking attractive right
now on the back of the forecast
increased payout for the coming dairy season,
farmers are being warned this is not a time to
become complacent regarding their oper-
Dairy Business Centre (NZ) Limited Managing
Director, Neville Prendergast, predicts many
farmers will be using any increase in payout to
offset previous year's lower payouts and it is
still vitally important that farmers maintain
efficient use of their resources to their fullest
potential to increase profitability levels.
Mr Prendergast believes the key to achieving
this is to upskill farmers on a number of
fundamental areas of successful farm
operation including profit planning, cow
nutrition, ration balancing, animal health and
pasture and milk production management.
''By upskilling farmers on the benefits of
balanced dairy nutrition, farmers are able to
make better decisions on whether [their cows]
are complementary or supplementary feeders.
This allows for better feed planning and more
accurate budgeting and monitoring as the
season progresses,'' he says.
''Many more companies are jumping on the
nutrition bandwagon with the growth in the
local dairy industry, and farmers need to
ensure they are receiving up-to-date and
accurate information as this is directly
affecting their primary resource -- their dairy
''Even more importantly, they need to fully
understand what affects any nutrition/feeding
recommedations will have on animal health,
production and profitability.''
Dairy Business Centre (NZ) Limited is assisting
in the ongoing education of those involved at
all levels of the industry through their
innovative dairymastersTM Programme which
focuses on providing quality education and
training through hands-on courses, work-
shops and field-days. The company has
announced its two-day Nutrition Training
Course schedule for 2013, with their first
Southland course being held in Winton on the
Speaking on the need for further education,
Rensinus Schipper, Senior Ruminant Nutrition
Consultant and course presenter, stated that
farmers need to learn the processes necessary
to develop a customised, profit-based feeding
strategy built to ruling milk prices and aim to
improve overall farm performance, whether
they are grass-only or supplementary feeders.
Dairy Business Centre's training programme
has been operating successfully for six years
and is aimed at all people from grass-roots
level to farm owners.
''Such courses instill in their participants the
importance of education and should be
considered by farmers as an essential tool in
helping them secure their long-term future in
the New Zealand dairy industry,'' Neville says.
For more information, or to register for an
upcoming Nutrition Training Course, please
contact Dairy Business Centre (NZ) Limited on
0800 26 93 33 or visit www.dairymaster-
Primary industries need to poach skilled staff
Employers in the primary industries suffering from skill shortages need to get creative and should even go as
far as poaching skilled employees from other sectors, industry insiders say.
Three different voices from the
sector sat as a panel at a
Ministry for Primary Industries-
run seminar at the National Fieldays.
The panelists, all authoritative
voices on staffing in the industry,
discussed whether the industry was
facing a skills shortage and
speculated on what skills would be
needed in 10 years.
Marty Robinson, the employ-
ment co-ordinator for New
Zealand Kiwifruit Growers, said
there needed to be more
interchange between urban
centres and rural areas if skill
gaps were to be filled.
''There are enough people in
New Zealand to do these
jobs,'' Mr Robinson said.
''We need to start poaching
people who have the skills but
are in the wrong industry, we
just need to poach them.
''Engineers have no qualms
about poaching people from
other engineers, we need to
do the same''.
Mr Robinson said he was a
builder before moving to Bay
of Plenty and starting in the
kiwifruit industry and said he
expected to see more retrain-
ing as people saw the primary
industries as more attractive,
both in lifestyle and in career
Justine Kidd, dairy woman of the
year, said the issue came down to
the shifting face of the industry.
Employees needed not only the
skills which were already lacking --
such as drug-free lifestyles and
literacy and numeracy skills -- but
managerial skill-sets which would
become more important as inter-
national and urban equity flowed
into farms and changed the
Ms Kidd, who operates a 10,000-cow
farming operation, said being able
to adapt to technological advances
would also stand New Zealanders in
good stead for a future in primary
Donovan Weaving of the Taratahi
Agricultural Training Centre was
critical of the way training institutes
put incentives into their program-
He said training programmes had
some ''perverse incentives'' in place,
teaching learners to shear 10 sheep
to pass a qualification rather than
fostering work-orientated attitudes
to finish the job and shear all 500
sheep in a pen.
Helping students looking at employ-
ment in the primary industry get the
right attitude and feel positive
about the sector was key to a
thriving industry, he said.
''Staff are the single biggest
determinant of farm profitability,''
Mr Weaving also believed training
institutes needed to start working
together to benefit learners rather
''There's too much fighting over the
slice of cake and not enough
growing it,'' he said.
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