Course heads north

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THE expansion of a Southland› devised course which helps cash›strapped dairy farmers improve their on›farm pro› cesses and save money ‘‘could not have come at a better time’’, Venture Southland busi› ness projects co›ordinator Scott Whyte says.
Farm Tune, previously known as DairyLift, gives far› mers and their staff practical advice on how to improve farm processes such as milking and calving. It grew out of another Venture Southland programme called Lean Manufacturing led by Auckland lean›business con› sultant Clinton Yeats.
Mr Yeats has described his approach as ‘‘basically common sense’’, with the Farm Tune programme encouraging far› mers and their staff to work together to streamline on›farm practices, plus physically declutter and organise their work places.
The course, first held in 2013 as a trial, attracted support from DairyNZ last year and will this year be offered to farmers outside Southland for the first time.
About 30 farmers would par› ticipate in Canterbury, Wai› kato and Southland, Mr Whyte said.
In Southland, the pro› gramme had generated sig› nificant levels of interest and been over›subscribed by 400%, he said. Participation was limited by a lack of people able to lead courses and there were only places for 11 farmers on a single course beginning next month.
However, Venture South› land was working with DairyNZ to ‘‘train the trainers’’ this year, with the aim of enabling 110 farmers to partici› pate next year — 30 each in Southland, Canterbury and Waikato, and 10 each in Tara› naki and Otago.
‘‘The course is gaining momentum and it couldn’t have come at a better time with lower dairy payouts,’’ Mr Whyte said.
‘‘We’ve learnt from each iteration of the course and seen some pretty impressive savings being made… We think this is going to have a big impact nationwide.’’

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