Converting a block of farm land into dairy production is a large project. It involves a lot of capital and a whole raft of new technical challenges that non-dairy farmers will not have confronted before in their careers. It can be very daunting, particularly when the experts start throwing around jargon that you are not likely to understand.
The idea of the Dairy Conversion Academy is not to give you the correct answer to every single question involved in your development. That would be impossible because every block of land is unique and every dairy conversion is different. Every project needs, and should have the proper analysis and guidance of experienced experts. What this site is intended to do is prepare you, the farmer, to talk more knowledgeably to those experts, consultants, contractors, vendors and other farmers who will help you through your project. It is intended to arm you with the concepts and the language you will need to have really productive conversations with people in the industry. There are a huge number of new words that you will need to understand – phrases like “cow flow”, “cups on” and “solids separation” might not mean much now. But your conversations with the experts working on your project are going to be more productive if you have heard these concepts explained before they come up.
It is that high level, introductory knowledge that this site aims to prepare you with, and we have leveraged the network of world class experts inside and outside Fonterra to pull together advice on wide range topics that you will have to work through during your conversion project. This information is presented as videos arranged in a natural sequence from green field site to certification of the finished farm. You don’t need to watch the videos in that order. You can use the site as a reference library and dip into whatever subject is coming up next in your project.
This site is an evolving resource for you. We will continue to add helpful videos as we find experts with relevant areas of expertise. We will also include links to any other resources we think will be helpful to you, including the Fonterra Dairy Conversion Manual, a new Dairy Conversion Guide that we have created summarising the knowledge we have gathered in the process of filming these videos and more. Please feel free to email us with your feedback on the content we have created or to request more content in any areas of the conversion project that you feel are missing currently from the site.
Dairy products are a key part of New Zealand’s economy. We need to produce high quality new milk on new high quality farms to grow our economy, protect our international reputation and preserve our environment for future generations. Our ambition is to give farmers access to the best possible advice to help them deliver the best farming outcomes.