A major research initiative in horticulture is underway in Bay of Plenty with the formation of the PlantTech Research Institute at Tauranga.
Gemma Adams, formerly a graphic designer, took to dairying with her husband Terry on their Taranaki.
She found herself struggling to understand procedures and instructions in the cowshed. So she developed a whiteboard that worked well for her -- and her friends.
Requests turned into orders, so in 2015 she launched VizLink, using her experience in design and day-to-day farming to help others in the rural sector.
A visual learner, Adams developed whiteboards, checklists, signs and maps designed to communicate with staff, provide instruction and better organise the working day. The tools help improve productivity and farm safety and they raise confidence in farm staff teams, she says.
She says many people are more efficient when they can visualise tasks and procedures, particularly if verbal instructions are difficult to understand.
Today, VizLink products are used in farm offices and sheds New Zealand-wide. They are used in dairy, equine, sheep and beef and other businesses.
Adams uses the skills of graphic designers and GPS surveyors who use drone and satellite mapping.
Products include farm maps, and durable documents in a range of sizes, including books of maps for farm staff or visitors. The firm’s whiteboards can include farm maps, dairy management and calving data or horse breeding and movement details.
Adams says “the biggest reward for us is knowing that we’re helping teams see improvements in their daily workload”.
“We help raise awareness of the layout of an individual farm and identify potential hazards. Most importantly we help people feel more confident in their work.”
Adams recently lent her expertise to Jana Hocken, in the making of ‘The Lean Dairy Farm’, a guide to creating a more productive, profitable and higher quality farm using Lean management principles. In this Hocken outlines 10 key steps to better farming.