By Matt Ryan
If you continue to do the same thing/s that you always
did, you can expect the same results that you always got.
Therefore, be prepared and able to change with this `new
era' in dairy farming. This is the era of:
Computer/phone/hi-tech are you as literate as you need
Milk price volatility are you risk-managing it within the
Detail (not generalities) are you up to speed in choosing
your artificial insemination (AI) bulls? Do you know what
`predicted difference' means in this context?
Detail on growing 20 tonnes of grass have you the
knowledge to do so?
Larger cow herds are you able to deal with all the
Dealing with employed staff are you competent to do so?
Managing all your farm resources are you the manager
on your farm? Answer thoughtfully;
Environmental care and carbon foot printing are you
aware of what you must do to comply?
If the answer to any of these questions is no, you must make
a plan to inform/educate yourself and the farm team, so that
you are `staying up with' the new dairy farming era.
New year's resolutions are a very good idea because
they help to focus our attentions on the most important
priorities in life:
Life is moving so fast now, both outside and inside
the farm gate, that we can easily lose sight of the most
important things in life;
Expansion has taken us into a new world of managing
scale and managing people;
Farmers are more stressed by being over-worked and
over-borrowed, by not being able to source labour but,
more importantly, not being able to communicate clear
instructions to staff, be they employees or family;
Inadequate or volatile income is also a contributory factor
Write your goals/targets down:
The people who have goals are more likely to achieve
them when compared with those who haven't goals;
If you don't know where you are going, how do you expect
to get to where you should be?
Set yourself some short-term and long-term personal goals:
"I will work X amount of hours per week";
"I will play golf/train a team, etc, two to three times per
"I will bring my partner out once per week";
"I will go to see my children play sport/do Irish dancing
every time they perform";
"I will join Macra na Feirme or Toastmasters";
"I will become a more active member of my discussion
"I will do a night class to broaden my contacts and
"I will exercise two or three times per week, be it jogging,
yoga, pilates, etc";
"I will prepare for retirement in five, 10, or 20 years".
Let me remind you of some specific farming goals you
should have for 2018. Adhere to the following objectives:
I will (today) complete the Dairy Profit Monitor for 2017.
This is a total waste of time if you do not get a detailed
report from your adviser and sit down with him and other
family members to review the last year before moving on;
I will use the Cost Control Planner in 2018. Most dairy
farmers are miles off the pace on financial management;
in fact, they don't do any and expect to be ok at the end of
I will plan to increase farm profit by 10 per cent in 2018.
This will be extremely difficult as milk price is projected
to decrease by at last 5c/L which will reduce the 80-cow
farmer's income (average farmer) by 250/cow or 22,000
I will increase my herd Economic Breeding Index (EBI) by
5-10 per cow per year.
· 2018 resolutions;
· Use the 2018 Management Tool Kit;
· Decide on your January health `cheques';
· Plans to grow more grass;
· Analyse your 2018 financial performance
· Get ready for spring tasks;
· Use your discussion group to help you embark
on the `new era'.