16 Feb 2015

Campaign to help farmers through tough season

2:18 pm on 16 February 2015

More than 70 dairy farmers around the country have volunteered to help other farmers get through this season's low milk price and dry conditions.

DairyNZ has launched the campaign, Tactics for Tight Times, which involves farmers who have experienced and planned through low payouts and adverse events sharing their knowledge with others.

Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy declared a medium-scale adverse event last week, covering most of the drought-hit Otago region, all of Canterbury and Marlborough.

DairyNZ's chief executive Tim Mackle said the declaration highlighted the need for extra support for farmers, as many juggled complex decisions around balancing the profitability of keeping cows milking, maintaining their condition and using supplementary feed.

"So the main driver for this campaign was the big drop we saw in milk prices last year.

"Clearly for some farmers across the country, they're facing dry conditions too, so that compounds the challenges for them - and so this Tactics for Tight Times will address both of those issues together," he said.

"A big part of this is farmer-to-farmer learning and we're fortunate to have around 70 odd farmers - I think they represent about 30 different farms across the country - [who] have volunteered their time, insights and also their properties ... so other farmers can follow their progress throughout the next 12 months or so and understand what key decisions they've faced and how they've gone about making them.

"The second part of it is actually DairyNZ supplying farmers with knowledge from research and learning from other events like this in the past."

Mr Mackle said farm open days around the country would begin later this month and go throughout March.