Modernising the regulation of the dairy herd improvement industry

Read LIC’s submissions to the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) on the dairy herd improvement industry review.

The regulation of the dairy herd improvement industry is extremely important to New Zealand dairy farmers and the future of LIC.  The Ministry for Primary Industries is currently reviewing the regulation of the industry and considering options for its future shape. 

The outcome of the review will be critical to shaping the future of the herd improvement industry and ensuring that it continues to give New Zealand dairy farmers their innovation-led edge.

Broadly, LIC, the Board and Shareholder Council believe the current model strikes the right balance between ensuring accessible core data while promoting industry innovation in data collections, analytics and use.

The system and structure that has served NZ dairy farmers for over a century is not broken.

While minor adjustments could be made to improve and futureproof the regulatory framework the type of wholesale reform being considered would stifle innovation, increase costs for farmers, and set-back their long-term interests. This would introduce major uncertainty as to whether innovators would retain the ownership of their innovation, meaning there would be little incentive to invest in vital long-term research.

There is no compelling evidence of structural problems with the existing regulatory regime to justify taking such a risky gamble on the future of the New Zealand dairy industry. 

Note about the herd testing standard

While the national Herd Testing Standard has been excluded from this review, LIC continues to advocate for a workable herd testing standard for on-farm systems, including in line milk meters, and for the standard to be updated to align with current farming practices. A summary of the current standard is available on the DairyNZ website

Currently, very few in line milk meters used in NZ meet the industry standards to provide data to the national core database which is used for research and animal evaluation purposes. We know farmers want to utilise in line milk meter technology for herd testing and benefit from up to date animal indices.

LIC continues to invest in R&D to deliver the technology on farm and to work with the industry to accelerate a change to the herd testing standard to allow this.

LIC submissions to MPI Dairy Herd Improvement Review