How to save an hour a day

20 November 2018


We’d all like to have an extra hour or two in our day. Using time efficiently is also good for on-farm productivity, as well as your team’s health and safety. DairyNZ people management specialist John Greer explains how our online tools can help farmers achieve this. 

What would you do with that extra hour? Go for a horse ride, bake a cake, get on with that project in the shed or spend time playing with the kids? Reducing everyone’s work hours will make your farm and the dairy sector a better, more productive and safer place to work. Reducing hours of work can also make you more competitive with other sectors when it comes to recruiting staff.

DairyNZ’s time-saving tools

At a discussion group in South Waikato, we did a simple Waste Hunt exercise. The four common wastes are Search, Wait, Redo and Defect. Do you wait for anything, search for something, redo a job or throw away defective items? Identify these on-farm and you can save time and get a better result.

MilkSmart has been another big time-saver for farmers. Last year, our group of 11 demonstration farms (average herd size 729 cows) saved 2.9 hours per day on average – a massive 21 hours per week. And the magic was that staff talked about the certainty of finish time and how it meant they could plan for family activities.

Why not start with Milksmart’s MaxT – a simple way of looking at row or rotation time and identifying slow milkers. It’s much better to collect their ‘leftovers’ more efficiently at the next milking.

Happy, safe, productive people and cows 

International research shows that people are at their most productive when they work fewer than 50 hours per week, get

a two-day break and don’t work for more than six days in a row: that’s backed up by farmer experience. Mistakes also reduce with fewer hours, while cow health improves (with less lameness,  lower somatic cell counts and fewer downer cows dying).

Saving time needn’t cost you more. Spend an hour saving time and you’ll get it back ten-fold.


John Greer