Farm Systems Change

Find out how MPI is helping dairy farmers to improve farm profitability and performance through the Farm Systems Change Dairy initiative.

About Farm Systems Change

The Farm Systems Change Dairy initiative aims to close the gap between top performing dairy farms and the rest of the industry. MPI is working alongside top performing dairy farmers to understand how they have improved farm performance and productivity.

A farm system includes the biological (cow health and production), financial, environmental and social factors that determine how a farm is run. By analysing the whole system, MPI wants to support farmers to improve their farm's triple bottom line.

Related programmes

The Farm Systems Change Dairy initiative complements existing dairy sector programmes including:

  • Transforming the Dairy Value Chain Primary Growth Partnership
  • a range of research and extension activities led by DairyNZ.
Find out more

Case studies of successful dairy farms

MPI has assessed the triple bottom line performance of successful dairy farms across New Zealand. These case studies provide examples of top performing farmers who have made specific changes to improve their farm systems.
The case studies:

  • showcase the industry’s potential for sustainable growth
  • identify what makes top performing farmers successful and the measures which best reveal what is driving performance
  • reveal a mix of small system changes (doing the basics better) and significant new investments
  • aren't intended to promote particular farming practices.

Performance measures for the whole system

Because the case studies analyse the whole production system, we use some performance measurements that aren't currently widely used across industry.

The big point of difference from current performance metrics is that the emphasis is placed upon input or resource use with the financial data seen as an outcome of good resource use. The optimal operating profit is dependent upon the optimal use of resources.

Better support to improve farm systems

An ability to use information effectively is at the heart of good decisions and that's no longer simple. With a myriad of tools and often contradictory advice, it's increasingly difficult for farmers to identify the best opportunities for their business.

The Farm Systems Change initiative focuses on the connection between dairy farmers and the rural professionals that they depend on for advice, support, and access to capital. We are working alongside bankers, accountants and rural advisers to create a common understanding of the opportunities available for individual businesses.

Who to contact

If you have questions about the Farm Systems Change Dairy initiative, email

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