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2015 Autumn - From Little Data Big Data Grow

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FPJ1201E - Eastwood, C & Yule, I (2015), Challenges and Opportunities for Precision Dairy Farming in New Zealand

Eastwood, C, Yule, I (2015), Challenges and Opportunities for Precision Dairy Farming in New Zealand, Farm Policy Journal, Vol. 12, No. 1, Autumn Quarter, pp. 33-41, Surry Hills, Australia

ISSN 1449–2210 (Print)

ISSN 1449–8812 (Web) 

This study aimed to identify the key challenges and opportunities for New Zealand farmers using precision dairy technologies. A range of dairy farmers, researchers and service providers were interviewed using a semi-structured interview method. Interviews were recorded and subsequently transcribed for qualitative analysis. An open coding process was used to identify main themes across the case studies. The information gathered from the precision dairying community provided insights which were used to identify areas for future research and development. Findings from the study indicated that precision technologies had potential benefits for an industry with larger farms, scarce labour and increasing management complexity. A number of issues also existed around technology and management adaption, the level of information and communication technologies (ICT) skills, and engagement of farmers. There was also uncertainty around how to unlock potential benefits, some problems were identified around staff-technology interactions, and limited backup and after sales support from the service sector. The analysis identified eight key questions concerning farmer expectations and experiences with precision dairy technology, along with the role of service providers, and factors involved in successful and unsuccessful adoption. The questions were used to propose a research agenda based around five themes aimed at driving a coordinated precision dairy research program. These themes were:
•    Where does precision dairy technology fit in New Zealand dairy systems?
•    Are the New Zealand dairy farmers ready to adopt new technologies?
•    How can trust and confidence in new technologies be built while managing expectations?
•    What are the service sector roles around precision dairying?
•    Where does industry engagement meet private delivery in precision dairy farming?
The paper describes the processes used in the case study work as well as farmer feedback on their experiences. 



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