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Dairy herd improvement regulatory review


23 September 2021 – Proactive release of dairy herd improvement report

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) commissioned the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research (NZIER) to:

  • explore market structure and competition implications in the herd improvement sector
  • consider the effects of control of essential intellectual property (IP).

The herd improvement industry is currently in negotiations about data sharing arrangements. The Minister of Agriculture has deferred taking decisions on the regulatory review to allow time for industry to have this conversation.

Dairy herd improvement report [PDF, 2.9 MB]

1 MAY 2019 – Submissions released

The consultation closed on 12 November 2018. We received substantive feedback on the issues covered in the scope of the review as well as feedback on wider data sharing arrangements and other issues that were outside the immediate scope of the review. Submitters also identified opportunities for better coordination and linkages across a range of industry data sources to support the performance of the dairy sector.

A total of 27 formal submissions were received.

Download the submissions [PDF, 18 MB]

Next steps

The Minister of Agriculture has asked the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) to provide further advice on the wider issues that were raised in submissions before any decisions are taken on the issues that were the subject of the review. MPI will be engaging with stakeholders during mid-2019, to scope issues, identify priorities, and provide initial advice to the minister.


Dairy herd improvement adds substantial value to the New Zealand economy. It does this by contributing to the breeding of more productive dairy animals through herd testing, herd recording, animal evaluation, and artificial breeding. It also has the potential to support better environmental and animal health outcomes.

The regulatory regime that underpins herd improvement requires the collection of comprehensive, accurate, and continuous data. This data informs the decisions made on herd management and breeding.

The regulatory regime has not been comprehensively reviewed since it was established in 2001. It would benefit from being updated to reflect the changing animal evaluation needs of the dairy industry.

Feedback sought

MPI asked for feedback on how the regulatory regime could more effectively support the performance of the dairy industry now and into the future.

The 6-week consultation ran from 1 October 2018 to 12 November 2018.

Consultation document

Dairy herd improvement industry: Review of regulation [PDF, 723 KB]

Related document

Cabinet paper and terms of reference [PDF, 282 KB]

What was proposed?

This review centred on how to ensure that the regulated ('core') dataset remained well aligned with the dairy industry's current and future animal evaluation needs.

MPI also identified other issues and was testing whether current arrangements remained fit for purpose. These issues included:

  • whether the role and membership of the New Zealand Dairy Core Database Access Panel remained appropriate
  • how to provide for monitoring of, and reporting on, the use of core data
  • whether there were amendments that could improve the clarity of the processes relating to the certification of herd testers.

This consultation was a chance to tell us how these other aspects of the current system were performing and let us know about possible improvements.

Submissions are public information

Any submission you make becomes public information. Anyone can ask for copies of all submissions under the Official Information Act 1982 (OIA). The OIA says we must make the information available unless there is a good reason for withholding it. You can find those grounds in sections 6 and 9 of the OIA.

Tell us if you think there are grounds to withhold specific information in your submission (e.g. commercially sensitive or personal information). MPI will take such indications into account when determining whether or not to release the information. Any decision MPI makes to withhold information can, however, be reviewed by the Ombudsman, who may require the information be released.

MPI may post all or parts of any written submission on its website. Unless clearly stated otherwise in your submission, MPI will consider that you have consented to its publication.

Questions related to this review

How does this review relate to the review of the DIRA and its impact on the dairy industry?

This review is separate from the review of subpart 5 of the Dairy Industry Restructuring Act 2001 (DIRA), which regulates the activities of Fonterra to ensure that the dairy industry operates in a way that protects the long-term interests of farmers, New Zealand consumers and the wider economy.

However, both reviews will be carried out in parallel so that any policy proposals resulting from the reviews can be considered together by Cabinet, and, subject to Cabinet agreement, any legislative changes could then be incorporated into a comprehensive DIRA Amendment Bill.

What is the dairy herd improvement industry doing in light of the Mycoplasma bovis response?

Farm service providers, including herd testers, have a role to play in helping eradicate Mycoplasma bovis. Information is on this website about the Mycoplasma bovis response, recommended ways to help reduce the risk of spreading disease, and advice for managing service bulls and semen.