Three key performance indicators for dairy farmers are somatic cell; weekly pasture walks; and body condition score, according to Colin Glass.

The Chief Executive of Dairy Holdings Ltd, a New Zealand company that comprises over 50 farms and milking over 44,000 cows, was speaking at the Positive Farmers Conference.

Somatic cell count, he said, is the key thing for Dairy Holdings, and across 56 farms its average was 133,000, with lots of farms with figures below 50,000.

Weekly pasture walks and cody condition scoring, he also said were hugely important for dairy farmers.

Weekly pasture walks, he said, are important not just for understanding a farm’s individual feed situation, but also as a means of ensuring that dairy farmers or the manager/sharemilker is completing weekly walks across the entire farm and understanding matters requiring attention, such as maintenance and pasture run out.

Somatic cell counts, he said, monitored throughout the year are a very good insight into whether good quality milk is continuing to be sent from the farm.

Dairy Holdings, he said, considers monitoring and review as hugely important. “If you don’t measure it you can’t manage it.

“Monitoring and review has been key for us.”

He also said that open and frank discussions at an early stage are very important in addressing lower levels of performance.

“The business culture must be right. The farm system must be right. It achieves consistent and repeatable profitability.

“Optimising pasture harvested is key, but repeating performance year-to-year across a number of properties at scale requires repeatable systems to be in place.”