Welcome to the first issue of The Ground Up, the bi-monthly update on what’s happening at the Red Meat Profit Partnership, a Primary Growth Partnership programme. We encourage you to forward this further as we seek to engage with a wider audience.  We also welcome your feedback on improvements and thoughts for future releases.

In the news
NZ Farmers Weekly recently featured an article on research conducted by UMR on behalf of RMPP designed to gather vital data to help boost productivity in the sector. The research found nearly half of New Zealand’s sheep and beef farmers are change-focused and open to advice and outside support to help lift productivity.  However, many remain cautious about change, believe profits are largely determined by off-farm forces and have not used digital farm management tools. RMPP are using the research from more than 1000 farmers to refine how industry provides information and learning opportunities.  To read the article, visit https://farmersweekly.co.nz/topic/farm-business/benchmarking/pilots-speed-up-farmer-updates. The research findings are also available on the RMPP website, www.rmpp.co.nz  

Programme Update
Extension work on pilot farms 

This month marks the first anniversary of the RMPP Pilot Farms programme. Since its launch last year, it has been delivering significant benefits for farmers, who are valuing the learning and putting ideas into practice on-farm.  There are almost 70 farm businesses currently involved in the programme. The pilot activities range from workshops to one-to-one sessions with rural experts on tasks ranging from body condition scoring, using software for feed budgeting, soils, forage and nutrition.  Farmers are also learning from their peers with tours of high-performing farms in different locations, bouncing ideas off each other in group gatherings and building mentoring relationships. Being exposed to the practical good practice achievements of their peers has “worked spectacularly well” as one pilot farmer commented.  Exposure to new and effective practices has also been a wake-up call for some farmers, motivating change. In one case, a meat processor had found that killing sheet analysis was the key to engaging their young farmer group as it benchmarked their lamb production performance against a larger group.

Capability Development
Understanding Your Farming Business
This course engages farming women as critical partners in their sheep and beef farming businesses by building business knowledge, skills and confidence.  The course involves four high-quality, full-day workshops delivered by industry experts over four months in a relaxed and supportive environment. Some of the topics covered include: business planning, how to measure farm performance and potential and how to assess financial information.  On returning to their farming business with fresh eyes, participants are more informed in decision making and can communicate strongly to help create positive change.  In 2015 150 women completed the course with 240 enrolled to complete courses in 2016.  Click for more information.

Computing for Farmers 
In early June RMPP is launching a series of computer courses to help farmers put technology to work.  Through these courses farmers gain confidence to use computers as a business tool.  Course 1 - Getting Started takes people through the first steps, including email and exploring the internet (with a focus on sites farmers can use) and word software.  Course 2 - Using Farm Data builds confidence in using farm data, with an introduction to Excel (spreadsheets) and an overview of farm management tools such as Cash Manager, Farmax and AgRecord.  Click for more information...

Q&A - Michael Smith, RMPP General Manager 

What has been a highlight over the past six months for you? 
There have been many highlights but getting the proof of concept Electronic Animal Status Declaration (eASD) developed, piloted and in use would be a key one. It’s very satisfying to be involved in the development of a system that will make a real difference for our farmers and the red meat industry, enabling some tasks to be done electronically, with downstream benefits like quality assurance. We have seven meat processors contributing to the project’s development.  To have so many industry participants aligned with the development was very rewarding.

What is the most enjoyable part of your role?  
The people. I work with a great team of people and also really enjoy catching up with farmers and industry professionals as we seek to improve profitability in the sector.

Coming up
Mystery Creek Field Days 
15 - 18 June 2016
Visit us at the Village Green on...

  • Wednesday 15 June 10:30am - 11:00am
  • Thursday 16 and Friday 17 June 11:00am - 11:30am

For a panel discussion on "Innovative approaches to improving practices in the red meat sector"

Contact us
Red Meat Profit Partnership (RMPP)
Level 6, Wellington Chambers 
154 Featherston Street 
Wellington 6011, New Zealand

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PO Box 715
Wellington 6011
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