People real key to growing dairy businesses

Before even talking to the bank manager, dairy farmers looking to expand, must first ask themselves if they can manage the staff needed to run a bigger business.

Speaking at the Dairy Herd Expansion conference, Penrith Auction Mart, Ian Lyndsay of LKL Staff Services said all farmers who had increased cow numbers and employed additional staff would agree that staff management was as important – if not more so – than managing cows.

“It’s essential to take a long look at yourself and your people-management skills and decide if it’s a part of herd expansion that you can undertake efficiently and professionally. Finding staff of the right calibre isn’t easy these days but, having found them, it’s up to you as the employer to make sure you have the skills to manage them.”

Mr Lyndsay said farmers undertaking herd expansion must appreciate that not only was the search for staff a challenging one, but the market was very competitive.

He said there were three essential elements – commitment, involvement and teamwork – for a successful working relationship with staff.

“And remember, it’s no good trying to pretend you can offer things you can’t or suddenly expect staff to do things they weren’t told about. Staff leave jobs because they feel they have been hoodwinked by employers who don’t give a true and total explanation of what the job entails.”

But dairy farmers thinking about expansion were told to start talking to existing staff before discussing proposals with anyone.

“Get your current team involved in the discussions and tell them what you’re plans are – even before you have formal talks with anyone else. You need your staff to be on side from the outset. If they feel they are being kept in the dark it can often backfire and you may need many more new staff than you bargained for,” said Mr Lyndsay.

Read more articles from the Dairy Herd Expansion Conference:

Expansion not always solution to upping dairy profits

Moisture management crucial for cow wellbeing

More cows don’t always equal more money

Farmers urged to consider herd health before expansion

See more