New Zealand is renowned worldwide for its beautiful scenery, tourism, adventure activities and farming capabilities with an economy that is strongly based upon agriculture and horticulture. Meat, dairy products and wool are a major overseas export earner for New Zealand, with dairying alone contributing to more than a fifth of the country’s annual export income.
Working the land everyday is a natural occurrence for farmers – milking cows, sheering sheep – all while utilising the latest in technology to maintain and harvest their crops, which range from the staples to grapes and olives. According to recent reports, it is approximated that 25% of all farms in New Zealand have seen a change of land use in the past decade, with dairying farming and forestry expanding, with this trend expected to continue for some time.
The importance of farming to the New Zealand economy has been confounded with the delivery of the Strategy for New Zealand Dairy Farming, produced by coordinated efforts from various dairy organisations with the intent to formulate the actions required to ensure the dairy industry increases profitability and sustainability.
The Strategy outlines how the industry should work together to address these issues and challenges by focusing on five major outcomes, being increasing farm profitability, achieving a strong industry-Government partnership, ensuring an internationally competitive milk supply, enhancing the industry’s reputation locally and globally and attracting talented, skilled people into the industry.
The utilisation of appropriate technology to increase productivity in all aspects of farming is a recurrent theme throughout the strategy. New Zealand farmers have always been at the leading edge of innovation, being early adopters of technological improvement in their farming systems. This not only applies to the activity of farming itself, but to the technologies that enable the business to thrive in the ‘back office’, allowing systems to be fine tuned, whilst revenues are increased. Software applications to assist in the successful management of businesses have become commonplace in most other industries. Those in the dairy industry are realising the potential that management tools bring but have specific requirements of such a system due to unique properties of their business.
Along with financial reporting and budgeting, invoicing, stock control, employee payment and tax assistance, management software specifically designed for farms require key features, such as mapping details which allows the exact replication, in scale, of the farm with all key landmarks and infrastructure. Paddock diaries enable the map to be employed to diarise production management and record farm events, including spray schedules and fertiliser reports amongst others. Feed budgeting functions allow the farmer to plan their stoking policies and stocking rates for the forthcoming season. The farmer can input feed supply and demand to get a visual representation of the feed surplus. Stock diaries record information about mobs, groups or individual animals, making it easy for quality audits and traceability compliance. Production details for milk, meat, fibre and other stock related tasks can be recorded. Data can be imported from other electronic devices e.g. weighing scales, ear tags and pasture measuring equipment saving you time. One of the most important features of any farm management software are the reports it produces. Accurate, timely and easily read reports are essential for getting the most out of the software and data entry, as these reports will form the basis of farm business decisions that will contribute to the future success and sustainability of your business.