Session 1 Workshops

You can attend two workshops from the list of six (except for 1.1 which is a double session).

1.1 Three wise heads on resilient production systems and businesses
Jeremy Savage (MRB), Brent Boyce (FarmWise), Frazer Weir (DBO) DOUBLE SESSION

This is a double session that will include discussions on the following topics:

  • Is the recession over?
  • How do we manage volatility?
  • What should our balance sheet look like?
  • What cost structures are appropriate? Have we gone too far?
  • What farm system/level of supplement use is best?
  • How to make effective decisions.
  • What tools do we have to manage risk, when do we use them?

1.2 Getting the basics right – Employment Law
Janet Copeland, (Copeland Ashcroft Law)

Understand the recent changes to employment legislation and what this means for your employment agreements. Understand how to implement a valid and enforceable 90 day trial period and then how to safely discipline and dismiss both inside and outside of the 90 day trial period.

1.3 Plugging the leaks – how fertiliser management helps reduce N and P losses from dairy farms
Ants Roberts (Ravensdown)

This workshop discusses the sources of N and P losses from farms and the role that fertiliser management may play in helping to minimise some of these losses. Retaining your social licence to practice dairy farming increasingly requires you to reduce the off-farm impacts of your activities on the surrounding environment. Given the current focus of central and local government on maintaining or enhancing ground and surface water quality, dairy farmers should minimise, where possible, nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) losses from their farms.

1.4 Successful succession planning
Peter Flannery (Farm Plan Ltd)

This workshop is designed to remove the mystique surrounding successful family succession planning. There is a best practice process to follow, which will be discussed and applied to case studies.

Participants will be encouraged to contribute questions from their own situations. The workshop will be presented by Peter Flannery, an experienced Succession Planning Facilitator, and will suit parents and/or children who are looking to instigate their own planning process.

Family succession is a challenging issue. Every family is different, every business is different, and there is significant wealth mixed with family love and affection. What works for one family will not necessarily work for another.

1.5 Preparing for a farm environmental audit
Megan Hands (Irrigo Centre Ashburton)

This workshop will assist you in preparing for an environmental audit. You will get the chance to ask key questions about typical environmental audit processes, records and the evidence you need to keep, as well as what the auditor is looking for when they come to see you on your farm. The aim is to help you know what to expect, dispel some myths and get yourself and your team ready come farm audit time.

With increasing expectations to demonstrate that we are operating our farms at good management practice, Farm Environment Plans (FEP) and farm environmental audits are fast becoming part of our on-farm vocabulary.

In Canterbury, FEPs and audits form a key component of our regulatory and industry framework. But if you’re not in Canterbury, don’t switch off. With changes to council regulations throughout New Zealand and greater demand to prove to our consumers we are operating with good practice, it’s safe to say they’re here to stay in one form or another.

1.6 Developing a low cost portable winter stand-off pad system
Jane Chrystal, (Agresearch)

Recognising the impact of winter-grazing on nitrogen losses to water, AgResearch has developed the concept of a low cost portable winter pad system.  The portable pad system consists of an impermeable liner to capture effluent, overlain by a geotextile surface for cow comfort and durability.  Cows graze the brassica crop in situ and return to the portable pad for a proportion of the day (18 hours).  The portable pad has the ability to be moved around the farm in different years as the location of the forage crop paddock changes.  Minimal effluent storage is required due to the application of the liquid effluent to a neighbouring pasture during winter using low rate and low depth application methods.

1.7 The on-farm cost of meeting N-limits
Ron Pellow (SIDDC) and Grant Edwards (Lincoln University)

Lincoln University Dairy Farm (LUDF) is attempting to demonstrate the opportunities (and costs) of farming within lower N-limits. Constraining production in 2013-14 season reduced N-losses but incurred a cost of approximately $84,000. Attempting to recover its previous level of profitability but with lower N-losses, the farm has reduced inputs and correspondingly reduced the stocking rate in the 2014-15 season. Results for the season and intentions for 2015-16 will be presented along with an opportunity to discuss currently available options to reduce N-loss while maintaining profitability.


Session 2 Workshops

You can attend two workshops from the list of six.

2.1 Reproductive performance - a scanner’s-eye view
Greg Wisnesky, (Scansouth)

This workshop covers reproductive performance, one of the hottest topics of conversation this season. The session provides a brief breakdown of the observations of an independent scanner and analyses what went well and not so well and suggests some tools and ideas that could be used as part of future mating programs to help improve the reproductive performance of your herd.

2.2 Social Media Do’s and Don’ts
Chelsea Millar, (Grass Roots Media)

Learn how to best harness the power of social media to control the conversations had about the dairy industry through connected communities. You’ll learn how to proactively influence conversations, rather than reactively trying to control the uncontrollable conversations.

2.3 Achieving the required N leaching reductions – reducing N leaching in real life
Paul Edwards, Ina Pinxterhius, Angela Harvey, (DairyNZ)

Many farms in Canterbury are facing the challenge of reducing their nitrate leaching number. This workshop will focus on a real life high-performing farm, with information about the baseline years (09/10 to 12/13), applying good management practice rules as in the current ECan portal, and applying the further 30% reduction required for the Selwyn Catchment. We will explore the combination of changes required to achieve the reduction targets and put this into context for other farmers.

2.4 How NZX milk price futures and options work
Susan Kilsby, (NZX)

This workshop will teach you how to manage your milk price risk, with discussions on the pros and cons of hedging your risk, margin calls and how futures contracts are settled. Practical examples will be used to show how these financial tools could be incorporated into your risk management planning.

2.5 Personal development and leadership
Donna Smit, (Fonterra)

Newest Fonterra Director Donna Smit will share her inspiring leadership journey.

Found out why you should always dream big and work hard to achieve your goals and how you can turn a crisis into gold.
This workshop will be of particular value to anyone looking to progress and grow their skill base in any leadership role.

2.6 Breakout session with Ravensdown

Join the evolution of new farm technology in a hands-on workshop with Ravensdown’s new collaborative tools that help you build detailed insights for your farm from the sky, on the ground and in the soil. Learn all about Ravensdown’s evolution from Smart Maps to Hawke Eye. Book now – Spaces are limited.


Monday 26 June Timetable

8am – 9amRegistration
9am – 9.15amWelcome and introduction
9.15am – 10.20amKeynote address: Sponsored by DairyNZ
10.20am – 10.40amMorning tea
10.40am – 11.30amSession 1: Workshop A
11.40am – 12.30pmSession 1: Workshop B
12.30pm – 1.30pmLunch
1.30pm – 2.30pmStructured networking / speed dating
2.40pm – 3.30pmSession 2: Workshop A
3.30pm – 3.50pmAfternoon tea
3.50pm – 4.40pmSession 2: Workshop B
5.00pm – 7.00pmDrinks and nibbles with sponsors

Sponsors Exhibition Hall,
Te Kete Ika – Food and Function Centre,
Lincoln University


Session 3 Workshops

You can attend two workshops from the list of six.

3.1 FeedRight – right feed, right price, right time
Jane Kay, Danny Donaghy, and Terry Hughes, (DairyNZ)

This workshop will build on previous FeedRight sessions, with a presentation using current and past research to address the following key areas.

A key driver of profitable farm businesses is the ability to balance feed supply with feed demand in a profitable and sustainable manner. In a pasture-based system, this requires an understanding of:

  • The cow’s nutrient and energy requirements during the different stages of lactation
  • How pasture grows and what nutrients it provides throughout the season
  • How different pasture management practices such as pre-graze mowing, round length, and pasture allocation affect this
  • When pasture is not enough and what should you do about the deficit
  • How to incorporate supplements profitably into a pasture-based system.

Participants can then pose their own questions to the panel to help them to make informed feed management decisions on their farms.

3.2 What is Lean Management and why is it so effective on dairy farms?
Sarah Watson, (People MAD)

This workshop outlines how FarmTune® (Lean Management) helped a dairy farmer to save 30 minutes per milking session and lift his employees’ daily output, even during calving.

3.3 Planning your pathway with nutrient constraints
Anna Higginson, (Agri Magic)

Using case studies as examples, this workshop will demonstrate how to quantify and manage nutrient management risks in a farm to regain control over the business’s direction. In a new world of nutrient-related constraints, it’s important that farm businesses generate a strategy to manage the future. Once constraints have been quantified, business owners will be better placed to influence future policies and articulate back to the wider community the changes and progress they have made.

3.4 Find your plan ‘A’ business
Debbie Kinder and Noelle Fox (Farm Wise)

Over the last three years farmers have focussed on improving on farm cost structures, ‘tightening our belts’, to combat the low milk price environment. This is an appropriate short-term reaction, but we are now into a secondary phase of restructuring business and farm systems to be economically sustainable at the long term average milk price.

A strong balance sheet and operational profit are key to thriving in the industry. What is your Plan “A” Business model and how do you get there?

In this workshop we will look at some of the practical steps farmers can take to analyse and benchmark their business to identify and maintain their own sustainable model.

3.5 What’s my future in the dairy industry (for those in their 20s)?
Brent Love, (KPMG)

In an industry with a demand for a high level of capital and a changing environment in terms of where that
capital comes from, along with a volatile commodity-based income stream, starting a career in the dairy industry can be a challenge.

This workshop discusses the financial and career planning methods that might help young people who are planning a career in the dairy industry. The workshop will address issues such as sharemilking vs contract milking, whether or not to invest in a residential property and how to achieve land ownership. Be prepared to ask some thought-provoking questions that relate to your own situation.

3.6 Emerging from the Woods – 5 key tips to take your business forward

An in depth opportunity to discuss Controlling the Controllable in your business with senior staff from Rabobank. Limited numbers, discussion will be influenced by delegates questions and comments.


Session 4 Workshops

You can attend two workshops from the list of six (except if selecting 4.4 which is a double session).

4.1 Breeding strategy – refining your semen
David Chin, (LIC)

This workshop aims to explain a core principle behind all good breeding strategies and offer advice on how to implement this on your farm.

What are the core principles behind a successful breeding plan? How have farmers of the best herds in the country accelerated their genetic gain? If you weren’t constrained by reproductive performance or economics, how would you run your mating programme? As a dairy farmer engaged in breeding your own replacements, you will have inevitably asked yourself these sorts of questions at one time or another. This workshop will help to provide you with answers.

4.2 Recruiting and retaining staff: Are we selling ourselves short?
Mark and Devon Slee, (Melrose Dairy Ltd)

This is an interactive session, which addresses the following questions. What is the biggest barrier to finding the right staff for your operation? Are you thinking outside the square? Where are you advertising? What puts off prospective employees from working on your dairy farm?

Whether you have one or 10 staff members, they all play an essential part in a successful business. The time and effort you make to find the right applicant that fits with your culture and expectations will equate to a happier and productive workplace.

4.3 Practical irrigation – all combined

Come along to a comprehensive workshop covering everything you need to know about good management practice regarding irrigation, including considerations for developing or upgrading your system and new innovations to help you more easily schedule your irrigation.

4.4 What's the right management structure to achieve your objectives?
James Allen, AgFirst NZ DOUBLE SESSION

The management structure options available for running a farm business continue to evolve to meet the needs of a changing industry. Likewise, for those who aspire to farm ownership the pathways also continue to evolve. This paper examines the trends in the industry, but more importantly how to decide which management structure is going to be best for you to meet your objectives. The discussion will examine the pros and cons of the various management structure option and key areas to consider for success.

4.5 The secret life of cows: Social behaviour in dairy herds
Aimi Hussein and Racheal Bryant, Lincoln University

This workshop will focus on social behaviours typical of dominance and subordinance in dairy cows and explain some of the implications of social hierarchy. Ever wondered who was ‘top dog’ in your dairy herd? Did you know that dominant cows are more flighty around humans than subordinate cows? Cows, like many animals, have a social order, which is reinforced in their behaviours around other cows.

4.6 Breakout session with ASB

An in depth opportunity to discuss Controlling the Controllable in your business with senior staff from ASB. Limited numbers, discussion will be influenced by delegates questions and comments.


Tuesday 27 June Timetable

9.15am – 10.20amKeynote addressSponsored by Rabobank
Jake Millar
10.20am – 10.40amMorning tea
10.40am – 11.30amSession 3: Workshop A
11.40am – 12.30pmSession 3: Workshop B
12.30pm – 1.30pmLunch
1.30pm – 2.30pmKeynote addressSponsored by ASB
Ian Proudfoot
2.40pm – 3.30pmSession 4: Workshop A
3.30pm – 3.50pmAfternoon tea
3.50pm – 4.40pmSession 4: Workshop B
6.30pm onwardsDinner

Larcomb Winery


Session 5 Workshops

You can attend two workshops from the list of six (except for 5.3 which is a double session).

5.1 Using pasture smarter (getting more with less work)
Graham Kerr

This workshop offers a number of simple solutions that should be built into our dairy farm systems to grow and utilise more pasture by being smarter about what we do. These solutions can be applied at both the strategic level of the farm operation, and in our day-to-day pasture management.

Pasture is our key feed, about 80% of what cows eat, and it consistently appears in industry analyses as the key driver of farm profitability.

5.2 Health and safety, doing things right for your people
Al McCone, Worksafe

This workshop emphasises the importance of doing right by your people and building this notion into the culture, rather than focusing too heavily on compliance and paperwork. The workshop closes with a farmer discussing the systems they use, which fit easily into everyday life and make a difference to the safety on farm.

5.3 Dairy Holdings control
Colin Armer and Colin Glass, Dairy Holdings Limited DOUBLE SESSION

This workshop provides an overview of the business principles of the Armer Group and Dairy Holdings businesses, including company culture, capturing value in the supply chain, sharemilkers and progression, budgeting and banking, dealing with suppliers, monitoring and review.

An overview of the farming system and the business costs of production will also be presented, along with some general farming policies that apply the business principles.

5.4 Practical options for reducing the environmental impacts of intensive, forage-based dairy systems
Rachel Bryant 
Roshean Woods, Anna Carlton, Kirsty Martin and Lisa Box, Lincoln University

Four PhD students will address several of the research questions they have been considering on the effect of soils, plants, animals and management on nitrate leaching., For example, can you change the way a cow urinates? Does gibberellic acid reduce nitrate leaching? The students will present some of their key findings from experiments which have tested a range of strategies to reduce nitrogen loss

5.5 Due diligence (equity partnerships and herd sharemilking)
John Donkers

Renowned advisor John Donkers will address the do’s and don’ts of sharemilking and equity partnerships in order to achieve a win-win situation for all parties.

He has vast experience and knowledge across a wide range of different Farm Management Structures.

5.6 How can we improve farm information processing and packaging to achieve better results?
Gavin McEwen, Farmax

This workshop discusses Farm Information Technology and how to make it work for you. What are the options available for technological reporting systems that will improve farm reporting, planning and outcomes?


Wednesday 28 June Timetable

8.30am – 9.20amBreakfast with Richard LoeSponsored by Fonterra
9.15am – 10.20amKeynote addressSponsored by Rabobank
Jake Millar
9.20am – 10.10amSession 5: Workshop A
10.10am – 10.30amMorning tea
10.30am – 11.20amSession 5: Workshop B
11.30am – 12.30pmKeynote addressSponsored by Ravensdown
Greg Murphy