Kirsty Dickins

Kirsty Dickins

As a consulting officer for DairyNZ, I get asked a really wide variety of questions by farmers every day.

DairyNZ has a wealth of information on many different topics. I’m lucky to have access to these resources and to have the opportunity to share my knowledge with farmers.

However, I get quite a few questions from farmers which only another farmer can answer. For example, I’ve had farmers ask how other farmers found the process of shifting to once-a-day milking, and what they found the personal benefits and disadvantages were of making this change.

For questions like this, I’m able to refer farmers to Dairy Connect – a free service DairyNZ runs, which connects farmers who are seeking advice from experienced farmers who can share their knowledge.

Nationally, we have about 400 farmers who have experience in a wide range of areas who can offer fellow farmers free support and advice.

Some common topics people ask about include shifting to different milking frequencies and career progression for sharemilkers or contract milkers. The service can also offer advice around staff management, how to resolve different expectations between farmers and sharemilkers or contract milkers, and many other topics.

The Dairy Connect service works well with our consulting officer service. For example, new farmers or sharemilkers can use Dairy Connect to get information on budgeting from another farmer. Once they’ve heard how another farmer is successfully managing their budget, a local consulting officer can help them prepare their first budget.

What I like about the Dairy Connect service is that it allows farmers, who are usually time poor, to get the specific advice they need from another farmer who really knows their stuff. One Kaipara couple who’ve used Dairy Connect summed up its value: “There’s nothing as valuable as the advice of another farmer.”

I think everyone working in the dairy industry should feel really proud of Dairy Connect. Dairy farming isn’t a 9 to 5 job, it can involve long hours and hard work. It’s fantastic that we have 400 farmers who have signed up to offer their insights and expertise to other farmers, so that as a sector we can all continue to get better at what we do.

To find out more about, or register for, Dairy Connect, visit, or contact Dairy Connect Manager Kate Haultain on 027 487 7160 or

  • Kirsty Dickins is Dairy NZ Consulting Officer, Waikato