Stepping through tech with Dairy Connect

Trudy and Matthew Holmes.

5 September 2018


DairyNZ’s Dairy Connect service is helping farmers make informed decisions about new technology. We talked to two of the many farmers who have been paired through the project.

Culverden contract milker Kerry Higgins is using technology to stay ahead of the game and he’s keen to help other farmers do the same.

Kerry is a Dairy Connect support farmer and he’s recently helped fellow Culverden dairy farmer Abbi Ayre find solutions to meet health and safety obligations.

As a support farmer, Kerry offers advice based on his own experience – in this case the use of OnSide, a visitor management system.

He joined Dairy  Connect  to  reciprocate the support and advice he and his wife Anita received when they first entered the dairy sector eight years ago.

“Since we joined the dairy industry, we’ve found people have gone out of their way to help others – we saw Dairy Connect as a way for us to pay it forward. If we can help someone by talking through our experiences then that’s awesome,” says Kerry.

The former Parliament security guard takes an active interest in technology to help save time.

“We’re always looking for new technology that can improve our processes on-farm.

With all the new regulations that are coming, more of our time will be taken up by a lot of compliance requirements.”

The conversation with Abbi over the phone was short but informative.

“We talked through how to make best use of the app – from ways of trying to get visitor and contractor buy-in, to how it can be a handy tool for recording near misses or accidents. We also talked about why making sure people sign in before entering

a farm is becoming more important – not just for health and safety, but also for biosecurity on-farm.”

Abbi, who’s also a contract milker, heard about Dairy Connect through the Dairy Women’s Network. She says the service suits her because she’d prefer to hear from someone with experience than go through screeds of information.

“I think Dairy Connect is great. I’ve used it a few times. It’s super easy. If you have a question, you can just ring or send a form and you get an answer quickly, without having to leave the farm,” says Abbi.

“On this occasion, we were trialling a few different apps to help manage our health and safety. The one Kerry suggested was one we were trialling, so the conversation with him helped confirm that we were on the right track and that it was a good one to stay with.”

To contact Dairy Connect visit or phone 0800 4 324 7969.


Kerry and Anita Higgins, with children Mackenzie and Emerson

Media inquiries:

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