A new online resource for farmers is just one of the new initiatives from the Red Meat Profit Partnership (RMPP) that aims to increase on-farm profitability and productivity.
Released as 30 minute learning modules, farmers can access the online farming resource on their home computer, tablet or smart phone. The learning modules are found on the Knowledge Hub – www.knowledgehub.co.nz – on Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s website along with other resources and tools for farmers.
The modules offer farmers best practice methods to help them make more informed decisions. Developed by industry experts with farmers, each module provides a step by step tutorial on a farming topic. So far modules have included Body Condition Scoring, Principles of Feeding – from lambing to weaning, Feed Fundamentals, and Growing and Grazing Pasture. Topics are aligned to the season and provide relevant tips for that time of the year.
Since its launch in July, RMPP’s project manager David Jefferd has received positive feedback from farmers who have found the online information a practical tool to implement on-farm. “Farmers are really enjoying these refreshers because they’re easy to access when you have a few moments to spare – waiting for the school bus, or over smoko – there are always a couple of useful tips to pick up on.”
Jefferd says he is looking forward to releasing another four modules before Christmas. “Our next modules include Business Planning, Key Performance Indicators and Benchmarking, Principles of Feeding (sheep) – Weaning to Mating, and Farm Business Transition and Succession Planning. We’re putting up information that is practical and easy for farmers so that they can make better decisions on-farm”.
Fiona Jessep who farms a 220-hectare breeding and finishing dry land unit with husband Paul on the outskirts of Mt Hutt, found the modules useful to improve her understanding of sheep management. “It’s great to see that our levies are going into developing an excellent resource that is freely available. They are easy to read and understand, and the use of graphics and videos makes the research more interesting”.
Fiona, who also teaches Agricultural Science to Year 10-13 students at Mt Hutt College in Methven, has used the units in her teaching. Fiona says she has struggled in the past to find resources that were relevant to her students especially when it comes to sheep management.
“I’ve been using the sheep management modules as a research tool for my Year 13 students. One of the standards they complete for the NCEA course is to demonstrate an understanding of how the production process meets market requirements for New Zealand primary products. Having these online units available to the students helps build on what I’m teaching in the classroom and deepens their understanding”.
Will Morrison, a farmer from the Rangitikei region and Beef + Lamb Farmer Council Chair, found the learning modules in the new online resource quick and easy to go through.
“Having the interactive videos and modules are great as its much more interesting than having to read heaps of information. They’re a great refresher and reminder of a few technical tools that are important at a certain time of the year. I will be using these with any fresh staff that come to work here as some of them haven’t done things like body condition scoring before.”
Sam McIvor, B+LNZ NZ’s Chief Executive, agrees the initiative is a good one and encourages the farming community to use the Knowledge Hub and its online resources actively in their farm businesses. “This is a resource by farmers for farmers. Apart from refreshing themselves, I see these modules as a great training resource for farmers to get their staff up to speed on some key management topics that really make a difference to the bottom line.”