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2022 POSITIVE FARMERS DAIRY CONFERENCE

We hope to stretch and stimulate farmers’ minds and provide a forum for the open exchange of ideas, knowledge and science. As usual we bring you top world-renowned speakers, they will cover the key technical, financial, people management and research needs for successful dairy farming and profitable expansion and this year the Conference will focus on the challenges facing all farmers in these uncertain times.

Matthew Gunningham, One of Australia’s more successful dairy farmers, capping off a decade of exponential growth and

becoming a Nuffield scholar and implementing change to overcome what he saw as either recurring problems in the business,

perceived upcoming challenges and perhaps industry practices that he didn’t like.

.

Profits First. “We originally came out to visit Tasmania and New Zealand in 1999 to learn about seasonal calving and pasture-based dairies, and I saw things I hadn’t contemplated before,” recalled Matthew. He studied at a British agricultural college before taking over the family dairy in 1989. “I saw a lot of opportunities here compared to the UK, the cost of land was lower, and it wasn’t held so tightly, business returns were better even though the milk price was volatile. The UK industry had been deregulated and was fragmented, with no co-operative to benchmark milk prices.” Grass Castle When Matthew and his wife, Pippa, moved to Tasmania from his family’s 100ha dairy farm in the UK in 2001, the couple started out buying 125ha and milking 300 cows. Now they have two ~750 cow dairies. The father of five said his business had only been able to grow through human resources. “I got to the point where there weren’t any more hours in the day for me to work, but I had the ambition to go forward, and so if we were going to keep going, we needed to involve more people.” Matthew said once they bought into the Tasmanian dairy industry, their subsequent growth had been driven by a simple philosophy:
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Positive Farmers, Cork, Ireland Open; Monday to Friday, 9am - 5pm Telephone; 353 87 6457987 Email: positivefarmers@gmail.com
CHANGE "We decided that there were a number of issues that we saw as either recurring problems in our business, perceived upcoming challenges and perhaps industry practices that we didn't like. We asked if we could redesign from scratch, how would it look - to address all of the above". "It's probably not your classic 100% dairy focused story now. We've questioned some of what we're being advised to do and 'industry best practice'. We wanted a business that is robust and resilient, and fairly self-sufficient. Maybe Covid and this Russian business have only convinced us of this line of thinking even more. It's also very important that we enjoy it and we feel good about it."
“We have always targeted profitability over production. That is our single biggest point of difference. We don’t get distracted by the noise surrounding the industry”. He said the industry was too production-focused "Ancillary industries feed off the industry, who are keen to get farmers to spend money on products, from feed to machinery to additives and different technologies that lift production." "But I don't believe many of them actually help the farmer. I don't believe they help profit or lifestyle. They simply make people busier and the business harder to run." "We keep things relatively simple, using proven grass farming principles that may be considered old-fashioned." Matthew said across all farms, the key focus was on "following the grass curve" to most efficiently turn grass into milk in the spring, aiming to have cows calved when grass takes off: "the cheapest way to produce milk". Follow the grass curve Cows calved when grass takes off Reduce stocking rates before buying in feed Focus on generating profit per hectare
NOT TO BE  MISSED

Matthew will be speaking on both days of the conference on topics that will be of great interest and benefit to all our delegates.

Definitely a much anticipate keynote speaker who will give great insight into strategic decision making when growing a dairy

business and managing staff to achieve a win win for everyone involved.

“Shared responsibility – whether it be taking the lead on cow

health, calf rearing or grass production – creates happier, more

motivated and productive staff. And that’s a win-win for our

business and our people,” Matthew said. ​

It’s a key insight he took from visiting businesses across the Americas,

Europe and New Zealand, and one he and wife Pip have implemented in

their business.

Nuffield Scholarship Matthew’s scholarship investigated people management and motivation, specifically how to build solid teams in agricultural enterprises, and how to ensure alignment between the goals of a business and the day- to-day actions of people working within them. “When I first came here my ambition was to drive the business. I love to work — working every hour doesn’t worry me,” he said. “I got to the point where there weren’t any more hours in the day for me to work but I had an ambition to go forward and so if we were going to keep going we needed to involve more people.” He said his farm managers are independent, running budgets and employing staff. “I would not want anyone standing behind me telling me what to do. That is not motivating.” Matthew said his Nuffield subject was vital not only for his farm, but also the industry because increasingly dairy businesses were comprised of many different ownership structures.

“On our farms I see that we will only keep on growing. If you’re

not growing, it feels like your going backwards.”

As such, he looked at agricultural and non-agricultural businesses to get the most out of staff, from incentives, to key performance indicators and feedback structures. “The people side of an agricultural business has to be right in order to grow a substantial enterprise”.

2022 Positive Farmers Conference Speakers

2022 POSITIVE FARMERS DAIRY CONFERENCE

Matthew Gunningham, one of

Australia’s more successful dairy

farmers, capping off a decade of

exponential growth and becoming a

Nuffield scholar and implementing

change to overcome what he saw as

either recurring problems in the

business, perceived upcoming

challenges and perhaps industry

practices that he didn’t like.

.

Profits First. “We originally came out to visit Tasmania and New Zealand in 1999 to find out about seasonal calving and pasture-based dairies and I saw things I hadn’t contemplated before,” recalled Matthew, who studied at a British agricultural college before taking over the family dairy in 1989. “I saw a lot of opportunities here compared to the UK, the cost of land was lower, and it wasn’t held so tightly, business returns were better even though the milk price was volatile. The UK industry had been deregulated and was fragmented, with no co-operative to benchmark milk prices.” Grass Castle When Matthew and his wife, Pippa, moved to Tasmania from his family’s 100ha dairy farm in the UK in 2001, the couple started out buying 125ha and milking 300 cows. Now they have with two ~750 cow dairies. The father of five said his business had only been able to grow through human resources. “I got to the point where there weren’t any more hours in the day for me to work but I had an ambition to go forward and so if we were going to keep going we needed to involve more people.” Matthew said once they bought into the Tasmanian dairy industry, their subsequent growth had been driven by a simple philosophy:
“We have always targeted profitability over production. That is our single biggest point of difference. We don’t get distracted by the noise surrounding the industry”. He said the industry was too production-focused “Ancillary industries feed off the industry, who are keen to get farmers to spend money on products, from feed to machinery to additives and different technologies that lift production. “But I don’t believe many of them actually help the farmer. I don’t believe they help profit or lifestyle. They simply make people busier, and the business harder to run. “We keep things relatively simple, using proven grass farming principles that may be considered old-fashioned.” Matthew said across all farms the key focus was on “following the grass curve” to most efficiently turn grass into milk in the spring, aiming to have cows calved when grass takes off: “the cheapest way to produce milk”. Follow the grass curve Cows calved when grass takes off Reduce stocking rates before buying in feed Focus on generating profit per hectare
CHANGE “We decided that there were a number of issues that we saw as either recurring problems in our business, perceived upcoming challenges and perhaps industry practices that we didn't like. We asked if we could redesign from scratch, how would it look - to address all of the above”.

“It's probably not your classic 100% dairy

focused story now. We've questioned some of

what we're being advised to do and 'industry

best practice'. We wanted a business that is

robust and resilient and fairly self sufficient.

Maybe Covid and this Russia business has only convinced

us of this line of thinking even more. It's also very

important that we enjoy it and we feel good about it.

Nuffield Scholarship Matthew’s scholarship investigated people management and motivation, specifically how to build solid teams in agricultural enterprises, and how to ensure alignment between the goals of a business and the day- to-day actions of people working within them. “When I first came here my ambition was to drive the business. I love to work — working every hour doesn’t worry me,” he said. “I got to the point where there weren’t any more hours in the day for me to work but I had an ambition to go forward and so if we were going to keep going we needed to involve more people.” He said his farm managers are independent, running budgets and employing staff. “I would not want anyone standing behind me telling me what to do. That is not motivating.” Matthew said his Nuffield subject was vital not only for his farm, but also the industry because increasingly dairy businesses were comprised of many different ownership structures.

“On our farms I see that we will only keep on

growing. If you’re not growing, it feels like your going

backwards.”

As such, he looked at agricultural and non-agricultural businesses to get the most out of staff, from incentives, to key performance indicators and feedback structures. “The people side of an agricultural business has to be right in order to grow a substantial enterprise.

“Shared responsibility – whether it be taking the lead

on cow health, calf rearing or grass production –

creates happier, more motivated and productive staff.

And that’s a win-win for our business and our people,”

Matthew said. ​

It’s a key insight he took from visiting businesses across the

Americas, Europe and New Zealand, and one he and wife

Pip have implemented in their business.

Matthew will be speaking on both days of the

conference on topics that will be of great interest and

benefit to all our delegates.

Definitely a much anticipate keynote speaker who

will give great insight into strategic decision making

when growing a dairy business and managing staff

to achieve a win win for everyone involved.

NOT TO BE  MISSED NOT TO BE  MISSED NOT TO BE  MISSED NOT TO BE  MISSED

Better Farming Better Business Better Living

  
353 87 6457987
Open; Monday to Friday, 9am - 5pm

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