Internal competitiveness on show at Farmers’ Forum

27 April 2021

Growing New Zealand dairy’s competitiveness on the world stage is a key area of focus for the sector, says DairyNZ.

At the upcoming DairyNZ Farmers’ Forum, the industry good organisation will share early highlights of research underway to ensure Kiwi farmers remain at the forefront of global competition.

DairyNZ principal economist Dr Graeme Doole is presenting global competitiveness highlights at the forum on Thursday, April 29, at Hamilton’s Claudelands Event Centre. This session, NZ dairy competing on the global stage, is hosted by DairyNZ and Fonterra.

“We’re aiming high to stay ahead of the game to make a vital contribution to national and regional economies, and vibrant communities. Maintaining and exceeding our high environmental and animal welfare standards at the same time will also be a priority,” said DairyNZ principal economist Dr Graeme Doole.

The session will look at global expectations for food producers, how Kiwis see dairy farmers and what they expect from them. It will also look at how consumer and customer needs are evolving and what this means for farmers.

Dr Doole will share new insights from international competitors and local context, to understand how we can refine our farm systems to maintain competitiveness.

“New Zealand is currently well placed internationally. Our dairy farmers are the most emissions efficient and lowest cost milk producers globally,” said Dr Doole.

“These achievements relate to our unique grass-based outdoor grazing systems. Now, we need to focus on how to stay competitive building on our strengths, as other countries adopt new technologies and farm systems.”

Dr Doole explains Ireland, with its pasture-based system, is becoming more competitive. Meanwhile, the United States is moving towards larger farm systems, with lower cost models including lower land costs and lower debt per kilogram milksolids.

“To remain world leading, New Zealand needs to learn from our competitors and leading farmers, while maintaining high environmental and animal welfare standards,” said Dr Doole.

“We know consumers will demand milk with a lower environmental footprint. It’s important for us to reduce our footprint, while refining our systems to reduce the cost of production across the sector.”

Keynote speakers attending the Farmers’ Forum include Climate Change Minister Hon James Shaw, who will discuss the challenges and opportunities climate change presents farmers and all New Zealanders. Todd Muller will talk about his struggles with mental health, early warning signs and how to spot them.

A range of sessions and workshops will showcase the latest in research and development to help farmers improve how they farm. Subjects include flexible milking and prioritising environmental investment.

Also on April 29, Southland and Otago farmers can attend a Farmers’ Forum event in Invercargill, where they can watch a livestream of the keynote speakers and take part in local workshops and discussions.

Insights from the forum’s global competitiveness session will also be showcased in a DairyNZ webinar in May. An additional webinar will highlight research and science-based solutions to help with farming challenges.

Farmers are encouraged to register now for the Farmers’ Forum events. Registration is free for DairyNZ levy payers and their staff. For more information and to register, visit

Farmers’ Forum – Waikato

Thursday, April 29

Claudelands Event Centre, Hamilton

Register at

Farmers’ Forum – Southland

Thursday, April 29

Ascot Park Hotel, Invercargill

Register at

Farmers’ Forum nationwide webinars

Webinar one – 7-8pm Thursday, May 6

DairyNZ’s economics team shares insights into the competitiveness of New Zealand’s dairy sector against key international competitors.

Webinar two – 7-8pm Thursday, May 13

Join DairyNZ’s science team for a discussion on the latest science-based solutions to farming challenges.

Media inquiries:

Vanessa Feaver

Senior Media Manager

Phone 027 836 6295

Ali Tocker

Senior Media Specialist

Phone 027 364 7532

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