Stay ahead of the game, stay in business

By Ann Thompson


With the new milking season well under way and calving falling off, now is an ideal time for all dairy farmers to review the last few weeks and plan what is coming up next.

For those in their first season on a farm, it is important to get to grips with the local rainfall and temperatures.

It is vital to keep track of what you do. This requires discipline but is worth it. Notes in a simple, dated, exercise book or diary can help when reviewing meetings and making decisions. Sorting out an email system with folders also helps keep track of various business streams.

Now is the time to:



  • Discuss things with your partner, sharemilker, farm owner, or staff


  • Review what went well during calving and what you never want to repeat


  • Ask the farm owner what to expect during the next few months


  • Work out with staff what cover is required during the Christmas holidays


  • Discuss Trading Among Farmers with the farm owner if supplying Fonterra. Discuss the possible sharemilker milk payment scenarios should the shareholder opt to start trading shares for units in the Fonterra Shareholder Fund.


  • Record your decisions and, if necessary, get all affected parties to sign them.


  • Check your contract - is it signed?

If this is your last season sharemilking on a farm, start considering the options.

The perfect job is harder to uncover than before, so contact your banker and accountant and talk to people who will help advance your cause.

It is always good to see where you can lift your game.

All sharemilkers and others working in the dairy industry should consider entering the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards.

They force participants to evaluate their business and help progression through the industry. The awards have three categories:



  • Sharemilker/equity farmer of the year.


  • Farm manager of the year.


  • Dairy trainee of the year.

Federated Farmers proudly sponsors the awards. Entries open on November 1 at www.dairyindustryawards.co.nz.

- Hamilton News

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

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