26 Feb 2016

Farmers to get help with computer skills

9:58 pm on 26 February 2016

Turning on a computer and sending emails may be second nature for some, but it's the focus of two new courses aimed at helping sheep and beef farmers with modern technology.

The computer courses are being run through the government and industry strategy, the Red Meat Profit Partnership.

In April farmers in Waikato, Canterbury, Otago and Southland will be able to attend courses following a successful pilot programme launched last year.

PGP people management consultant Melanie Shepherd said farmers had asked for the courses.

"A number of farmers were wanting to use computer programs and even simply things like accessing their internet banking and their accountant was wanting to send them stuff, and they barely could even turn the computer on. They asked their local farm consultant to find them a course."

Research conducted in 2014 suggested a maximum of 36 percent of sheep and beef farmers were using a computer.

The opportunity for people to learn was huge, she said.

"Course one farmers can now turn on the computer and can access their own e-mails and don't have to ask their kids or partners to do it for them, so it's given the a boost in confidence. The ones we've talked to since have said they're starting to look at websites...the weather forecasting on is popular.

"For course two participants, they have started to make their own spreadsheets and graphs. One block manager is now tracking different lamb mob performance and the manager on that farm, he's doing set stock plan, which he said used to take him a couple of weeks and now takes him a couple of hours."

The cost of both courses was $80.