November 2007
About DairyBase

DairyBase is a secure, web-based tool for dairy farmers to analyse their financial performance. It helps keep farmers focussed on optimising farm profitability. Dairy farmers and their nominated rural professionals, intent on reducing on farm costs and boosting profitability, will find DairyBases comprehensive reports and benchmarking of great benefit. No other industry has such a potentially powerful database for financial purposes. Over time DairyBase is likely to become an industry standard for farmers and rural professionals alike, when evaluating farm financial and physical performance. All individual farm data remains confidential to the farm business owner and their nominated rural professionals. With around 1700 registered users currently, DairyBase has a medium term goal of 5,000 farm businesses using DairyBase by June 2011.


DairyBase Ltd was formed in early 2006 to govern and represent the dairy industrys interests and involvement in the collection and management of dairy farm business data.

The board contains representatives from:

Dairy Insight


Dairy farmers

New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants (NZICA)

NZ Institute of Primary Industry Management (NZIPIM)

Starting in 2003, the development of DairyBase has been a collaborative effort from the New Zealand dairy industry. As well as the organisations mentioned above, input was provided from representatives from Massey University and Fonterra. A large part of this development has been to standardise physical and financial reporting and calculations terms like Return on Assets (ROA) and Economic Farm Surplus (EFS). The DairyBase database is funded by dairy farmers through Dairy InSight and available for use by farm business owners and their accredited rural professionals. The DairyBase software and intellectual property is owned by Dairy Insight and managed under contract by Dexcel.

Farming clients of rural accountants who join DairyBase Ltd are to receive valuable, detailed, benchmarking feedback on farm costs and key performance indicators.

This information will be of great benefit to dairy farmers intent on reducing on-farm costs and boosting profitability. DairyBase was launched in 2006 with the input of hundreds of data sets from the 2005-06 financial year. It replaced a more limited Dexcel Economic Farm Survey, which reports on 500 dairy farms.

Leading Christchurch-based farm accountant Graham Brown chaired the project committee with input from the Institute of Chartered Accountants primary sector committee, the NZ Institute of Primary Industry Management, Dexcel (the farmer-owned research body), Massey University and Fonterra Co-operative Group.

Development funding has been provided by DairyInsight, the industry-good body which collects and allocates 3c/kg milk solids levy on all dairy production.

Mr Brown explained that the project draws together consolidated dairy farm financial accounts from farm accountants, banks and farm consultancies which opt to join.

Most finance professionals in this sector use MYOB or APS software.

Agreement had to be obtained from those proprietary companies to make translations of data into the national database, he said. Protocols were written by a specialist database and software development company in Hamilton.

The concept is not new, as leading farm accountancy practices and rural lenders have been benchmarking for years. DairyBase has the potential to consolidate all that collection, reporting and analysis and give the New Zealand dairy industry a chance to regain competitive advantage in world dairy markets as the lowest-cost producer.

Use of DairyBase by farmers

DairyBase can help farmers answer questions like:

Is my farm business productive and profitable, and is this sustainable over time?

What financial returns am I receiving from my investment in dairying?

How does my performance compare with similar farms?

All farmers whose accounts go into the DairyBase receive confidential individual reports, along with benchmarks against all other participants, building up district, regional, national and more tailored analysis, such as irrigated versus non-irrigated farms, Holstein Friesian herds versus Jerseys and the like.

Reports will contain averages and the top 10% of performers on financial and physical aspects of dairy farming. These include fodder supplements, nitrogen use, reproductive performance and milk production. Parameters will be expressed in dollars per kilogram of milk solids and per hectare of farm.

A crucial number in the industry is direct farm costs, which many top performers aim to keep around half of milk income or less.

Inland Revenue receives information required to generate national standard costs, which has been part of the Dexcel survey.

Industry bodies like the Ministry of Agriculture and Fonterra are able to gain consolidated general reports and averages.

Rural professionals such as bankers and advisors are able to run what if scenarios on farm development proposals or purchase decisions, based on actual anonymous figures from within the intended region.

DairyBase is now self-supporting, managed by Dexcel and owned by DairyInsight, which are just about to merge. Its annual running costs are estimated at under $300,000.

With an increasingly complicated farm ownership structure including syndicates, companies and equity partnerships, along with owner-operators and sharemilkers, the dairy industry lends itself to collection and publication of detailed physical and financial data.


With around 1,700 farm businesses currently registered with DairyBase and many others expressing interest it is anticipated that these workshops will be well attended. To register or for more information visit the DairyBase website: www.dairybase.co.nz

Registrations are essential

Date Time Venue

Tues 13 November 9.30am 2.30pm Afare Function and Reception Lounge, 97 Dent St,


Thurs 15 November 9.30am 2.30pm Easy Bay Reap House, 21 Pyne St,


Wed 21 November 9.30am 2.30pm Te Awamutu Rugby Sports Hall, Albert Park Drive,

Te Awamutu

Thurs 22 November 9.30am 2.30pm Walton Golf Course, Kiwitahi Rd,


Tues 27 November 9.30am 2.30pm Copthorne Hotel Solway Park, High St,


Wed 28 November 9.30am 2.30pm Kingsgate Hotel, 110 Fitzherbert Ave,

Palmerston North

Thurs 29 November 9.30am 2.30pm Stratford War Memorial Hall,


Wed 5 December 9.30am 2.30pm Ascot Park Hotel,


Thurs 6 December 9.30am 2.30pm South Otago Town & Country Club, 1 Yarmouth St,


Tues 11 December 9.30am 2.30pm Russley Golf Course, Memorial Avenue,


Wed 12 December 9.30am 2.30pm Hotel Ashburton, Racecourse Rd,


Thurs 13 December 9.30am 2.30pm Kingsgate Hotel Brydone, 115 Thames St,


Tues 18 December 9.30am 2.30pm Takaka Rugby Clubrooms, Showgrounds,


Wed 19 December 9.30am 2.30pm Seifrieds Winery Restaurant, Redwood Rd, Appleby,


Thurs 20 December 9.30am 2.30pm The Ashley Hotel, 74 Tasman St,