FUTURE DAIRY FARM SYSTEMS: A BIO-ECONOMIC ANALYSIS

Felix Rodriguez-Firpo 1, Thiagarajah Ramilan 1, Nicola M. Shadbolt 1

1Massey University, New Zealand

 

ABSTRACT

The dairy industry is an important component of New Zealand economy particularly in terms of foreign exchange earnings, local communities and employment, contributing around 3.5% of NZ’s total GDP annually. The future of the dairy industry can be influenced by consumer trends, the volatility of production, input and output prices, the environmental footprint, and stricter regulations on trade and animal welfare. In a previous study, a series of likely future scenarios had been developed conceptually through a rigorous analysis that involved farmers, researchers, industry participants and a multitude of stakeholders. However, the likely impact of these scenarios at a farm level has not yet been quantified. In an attempt to quantify the implications of these scenarios, this study developed a bio-economic analytical framework. This framework has been empirically applied on a case study dairy farm using FARMAX® whole-farm system software. Future scenarios simulated are “Consumer is King”, “Governments Dictate”, and “Regulation Rules”. Determining the on-farm adjustments and then modelling the impact of these on the case study farm enabled in-depth analysis to occur. The feasibility of each and the economic implications of the changes differed between scenarios. For two of the scenarios, if they eventuate, further on-farm adjustments will be required.


BIOGRAPHY

My name is Felix. I am from Argentina, but I have been living in New Zealand since 2014. I hold a BS degree in Business Administration from the Universidad Catolica Argentina (UCA). Since I moved to New Zealand, I have been working in various types of dairy farms across all the country. I started my masters studies at Massey as I wanted to link my business background with my day-to-day experience of working on farms, with the aim of expand and develop my knowledges, while making a contribution to an industry I feel passionate about and to a country that has embrace me and now is the home for my family.My interest in the Future Dairy Farm Systems was born as a consequence of my constant picturing of what the future will look like in a world that is changing so quickly, growing in complexity and uncertainty. I believe that identifying and designing farming systems able to adapt and be resilient will become an important and valuable tool for farmers and the Dairy industry. New Zealand has proved to be a world class player, but to maintain a long-term improvement in productivity and excellence, an efficient and successful configuration of farming systems which contemplates all possible future variables, inside and outside farm-gate, is necessary.

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