FMG's farmer wellness programme, Farmstrong, has released the outcomes of its first survey of farming women.

The 2018 Farming Women on their Wellbeing survey used input from several groups including Dairy Women's Network, as well as from dairy farmer and dairy woman of the year winner Loshni Manikam, of Winton.

The 786 completed surveys and 26-in depth interviews outlined key issues women faced, as well as strategies they used to cope with their problems and stresses.

The survey found about 40 per cent of women felt the workload and fitting everything in had one of the biggest negative impacts on their wellbeing, while 34 per cent felt fatigued and 32 per cent felt they did not have enough time for themselves.


About 20 per cent of women reported having an on-farm accident in the past 12 months, and more than 60 per cent felt welfare issues contributed to their worst injury during that time.

More time off farm, getting more or better quality sleep and getting more exercise were mentioned as contributing to increased wellbeing.

However, many women said they loved farming despite the challenges, and for many, it brought a genuine sense of accomplishment and reward.

Fulltime sharemilkers and contract milkers had the highest levels of reduced wellbeing.

Many women mentioned strategies such as hobbies or sports, volunteering or learning to say no to requests.

Many said they needed to feel useful and to have their farming skills acknowledged.

Ms Manikam said the research outcomes validated a lot of what farming women and organisations knew.

"This is an incredibly important piece of research and there are wider and deeper issues there than we imagined," Ms Manikam said.


"Now we don't have to rely on anecdotal evidence as it is there in black and white, the raw data."

The data would provide opportunities for the industry and for industry groups to address those issues.

Farmstrong project leader Gerard Vaughan.
Farmstrong project leader Gerard Vaughan.

Farmstrong project leader Gerard Vaughan said the survey covered a lot of issues, from work load, the need to get off farm, the lack of sleep, fatigue, to the need for exercise, and good nutrition.

"A couple of things came through, such as there was a need for more emphasis on the farming women's role and their contribution [to the business] to be more valued."

He said Farmstrong would develop further resources as part of its programme.

Dairy Women's Network (DWN) southern regional hub leader - Otago and Southland Katrina Thomas said the DWN had input on the survey development from the beginning.

She said the data was vital and crucial and now they had the data, rather than anecdotal evidence.

"There was no data [like this] specifically about women," Mrs Thomas said.

"Quite a lot came through about not enough time off farm by themselves and as a family and the need to juggle all the demands.

"They just get on with it."

She said although there would be new resources developed using the data, they did not want to duplicate existing resources from other bodies and agencies.