"We milk 1055 cows or thereabouts on 275ha in Mid Canterbury. It’s a fully irrigated farm. We milk through a seventy bail rotary with automatic cup removers. We’ve got 5 full-time staff including myself. We’re part of a wider group called the Align Farms Group which operates four other farms also in Mid Canterbury," says Farm Manager Matt Bell
Everyone wants to be more efficient, but sometimes it’s hard to see where change is needed. In the end, curiosity got the better of Matt and he registered for FarmTune.
"If I’m honest, I didn’t know much about FarmTune when it was first suggested. I only went along to the first one to get a feel for what it’s about. It’s all about that lean management approach and trying to make things more efficient. Right after the first class I knew this was something I wanted to be involved with."
"Our system was running pretty well as it was, but it’s all about those little one percent changes and taking away the little frustrations. FarmTune grabbed me from the first class, and I loved it."
Farming More Efficiently
"FarmTune has taken away the niggly, nagging problems. All the times I’ve wondered, ‘Why didn’t they do it like that?’ or ‘Why didn’t they do it this way?’ They’ve all gone. We’ve got a great system in place , so everything is done a specific way and everyone understands why it’s done that way, so everyone buys in," says Matt.
"Now we’ve left FarmTune, our system keeps snowballing, Because everyone buys in and is communicating, our system just keeps getting better and better, and we’re getting more and more efficient."
For more about Matt's experience, and an overview of FarmTune, here's a sheet you can download and take away.
"A lot of the spare parts used to live in the office, which was pretty cluttered, and pretty typical of a lot of dairy farmer’s offices. Parts and tools took a while to find, and there wasn’t great record keeping around how much we had of anything," says Matt.
"FarmTune inspired us to get everything organised. The workshop wasn’t too bad, but it annoyed me that you couldn’t ask someone to grab a 15mm joiner, because they were never certain where it was. Since FarmTune, we have brought all of the parts to the shed and put them in labelled plastic drawers. Now they can just go to the 15mm cubbyhole, because everything is labelled and has its place. They’re not rummaging through containers to try and find what they need. Small jobs don’t take as long, because all of the tools and parts are easy to find. If it’s getting low or empty, they know to jump on WhatsApp and send a request to order more."
Better Communication and Staff Engagement
"WhatsApp has also been a real benefit. We were using it a little before FarmTune, but not as much as we are now. Instead of sending a text to one person or a couple of people, with WhatsApp you can send a message to everyone working on the farm, and you can even check to make sure everyone has seen the message. It’s another way FarmTune has helped increase our communication," says Matt.
"A glaringly obvious positive we got out of FarmTune was staff engagement. They don’t really bring up problems. They don’t like to hassle you."
Taking Ownership of Issues
"It took most of the FarmTune programme to really build up their confidence so they felt it was ok to say there’s a problem. We now have a regular Monday morning meeting and they’re bringing forward great ideas. All the little frustrations are gone and the boys are communicating better. We weren’t too bad before, but it’s leaps and bounds better now and much more efficient," says Matt.
"We now have an open forum where the guys can take a photo of something, share it with everyone and say, “This is annoying, how can we make it better.” I’ve done it myself, and have benefited from their ideas. Before FarmTune they would have known the answer or a better solution, but no one would have said anything. That’s been the biggest benefit of FarmTune, they’re all smart guys but they just needed that encouragement to communicate better."
Do you want to see your staff communicate better and become more organised? Do you want to see lots of 1 percent changes on your farm that boost efficiency and productivity, saving you time and money?
To register for FarmTune or to find out more, contact us today.