More than 200 of the region's farmers and those involved in the sector left the cows at home yesterday to attend the DairyNZ Farmers' Forum.

The forum included guest speakers and workshops from a range of experts on a variety of topics.

DairyNZ principal economist Graeme Doole spoke about the future of dairy in the Bay of Plenty and keeping costs low.

"There is a big opportunity for the sector to focus on reducing working expenses," he said.

Advertisement
DairyNZ principal economist Graeme Doole speaks at the DairyNZ Farmers' Forum. Photo / Stephen Parker
DairyNZ principal economist Graeme Doole speaks at the DairyNZ Farmers' Forum. Photo / Stephen Parker

"Our sector is competitive because we have a legacy of research and people working together and learning how to make money on farms.

"Across the sector, we have some people who are terrific at producing much cheaper than others and this is going straight into their bank accounts. That's one of the key drivers of resilience."

The other guest speakers were Robotics Plus Limited chief executive officer Dr Matt Glenn who spoke about using robotics in agriculture and horticulture and Mike Petersen from New Zealand Special Agricultural Trade Envoy who spoke about where the world was heading and what this meant for the sector.

The attendees could also choose to go to workshops on topics including feeding for profit, people-friendly future farm systems, resilient businesses and farming within limits like council expectations.

DairyNZ principal economist Graeme Doole speaks at the DairyNZ Farmers' Forum. Photo / Stephen Parker
DairyNZ principal economist Graeme Doole speaks at the DairyNZ Farmers' Forum. Photo / Stephen Parker

In the forum leaflet, DairyNZ chief executive Tim Mackle wrote the dairy sector had a bright future.

"There are always headwinds but that's no different from any sector or business.

"Fundamentally we produce a wholesome nutritious food that the world wants and that opportunity underpins our future."

Dairy in the Bay of Plenty

Advertisement

- 883 herds in the region and 344,797 cows
- 673 farm owners/operators
- 122,932ha of dairy land in the Bay of Plenty, an average of 2.8 cows/ha
- 8 per cent of the country's dairy herds are in the region.
- Dairy jobs contribute 1.8 per cent of the total regional employment
- Roughly 2800 employees in the industry
- $802 million is the value of milk production to the regional economy (2017/18 figures)
- Farmers spend $1290 on average per cow
Source: NZIER, New Zealand Dairy statistics, Stats NZ, Dairy NZ