Thursday, 03 March 2016 11:55

Should we teach other countries how to farm?

Written by  Pam Tipa
DairyNZ chief executive Tim Mackle. DairyNZ chief executive Tim Mackle.

Sharing knowledge on New Zealand farming systems needs to be on a win-win basis, says DairyNZ chief executive Tim Mackle.

Mackle told farmers at the Northland Dairy Development Trust annual general meeting that New Zealand was no longer the lowest cost country in terms of production.

One member of the audience commented that with the countries now beating us on cost, because Kiwis had gone out and shown them how to farm New Zealand style. Visitors also came here and were hosted by DairyNZ and others.

"We show them how to improve their cost of production – so where are we headed with this?" she asked.

"We show people how to set up farms and how to farm better. Do we have to think about how open we are?"

Mackle said it was a difficult question with many different arguments.

"On one side, why should we make it easy? We (DairyNZ) do have visitors but they are 99% of the time collaborative partners – which we can learn from," he said.

Mackle says he is really tight on granting visits which are signed off at a very high level at DairyNZ.

"It is not so much about giving things away, it's we need our people to be working ... it's their time, it's precious, we don't have that many scientists, we don't have that many people – they've got to spend their time working on stuff for New Zealand levy payers.

"We have tightened up. At the same time, there are situations from a market perspective where you do have to show a bit of good faith and good will because we are trading as well."

Mackle said the first priority is focussing on doing as much as they can for levy payers.

"When you do buddy up and partner with others; you do know it's got to be a win-win."

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