Implementing a quality programme on a seasonal dairy farm : a thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for a Master of Agricultural Science in Farm Management at Massey University

Thumbnail Image
Open Access Location
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Massey University
The Author
As the dairy industry becomes more customer-focused dairy farmers are being encouraged to adopt a formal approach to quality management. At the same time milk processing companies are examining the procedures used to ensure milk collected from farms is of the "finest" standard as part of their strategy to move from commodity sales to added-value products. In addition, milk quality and milk payment parameters have changed over the last decade to reflect the more valuable components of milk (protein versus fat), the pattern of production through the year (shoulder milk premiums) and the absence of quality faults (grades). Animal welfare and resource management are also important quality 'factors' in the dairy industry. As New Zealand seeks to enhance its "clean green" image, farmers are coming under the scrutiny of quality conscious customers seeking to ensure that the highest standards of animal husbandry, land management and food production are practiced. Parameters for milk quality at the vat (farm-gate) are well documented and strict testing procedures are in place at milk processing sites. However, procedures and practices necessary to consistently produce finest quality milk are not so obvious. To address this shortcoming a study was conducted to design and implement a Total Quality Management (TQM) programme at Massey University's No.4 dairy farm, a 450 cow seasonal supply dairy farm. A monthly management calendar was developed to aid in consistently achieving key farm management activities. A supplementary monthly diary sheet was also designed to allow comprehensive recording of farm and herd data that are pertinent to the assurance of product quality. Computer software was utilised to model, record and monitor farm physical and financial performance. The key attribute of the TQM programme was to ensure that staff were willing and able to implement the management systems put in place for assuring quality milk production. This required staff training and development, and recognition for tasks completed well. The implementation of a TQM programme can lead to measurable rewards in improved physical and financial performance. The programme also ensures compliance with the legislation governing animal welfare, resource management, employment and occupational safety and health. Job satisfaction for staff and assured milk quality are seen as a key benefits.
Dairy farming, Milk production, Farm management