Unveiling the future of agriculture with Dairy NZ CEO

Unveiling the future of agriculture with Dairy NZ CEO

Former DairyNZ CEO Dr Tim Mackle announced his resignation late last year and the newly appointed Chief Executive Campbell Parker is now settling into his role after a few months.

Parker's rich experience spans roles at BNZ and in agricultural manufacturing, equipping him with a unique perspective on the evolution of dairy farming technologies. One of the highlights of the conversation is the discussion on technological advancements reshaping the dairy landscape. 

Parker delves into the adoption of collar technology for herd management, stating, "There's probably about 18%, the stats suggest, within the national herd now wearing collar technology. That's a big change from five years ago." 

He also touches on the potential for automated milking systems to address labour challenges, though he notes that high costs and a deregulated market have so far limited their adoption in New Zealand. Parker provides insights into the industry's balance between innovation and traditional farm management, emphasising that "technology doesn't get away from the need for very good farm management practices." 

He also speculates on the future impact of artificial intelligence, suggesting that "the possibility around AI we're yet to fully understand." 

Collaboration within the dairy sector is another key talking point. Parker celebrates projects such as methane reduction research and the development of sustainable forages, which have benefited from shared efforts without rigid structures. 

"We need to work together collaboratively on the big issues for the sector, and that should be our primary focus." 

Reflecting an optimistic outlook, Parker discusses the dairy market's current state, highlighting positive Global Dairy Trade outcomes and reasonable milk price forecasts amidst decreasing feed and fertiliser costs. He provides a candid view on leadership, sharing that his proudest work achievement is "when you work with teams that achieve things that they didn't think were possible." 

The episode concludes with a lighter exchange on entertainment preferences and acknowledgment of influential agribusiness leaders, with Parker noting an interview with Anna Nelson, the first woman to lead one of New Zealand's meat companies, as a recent podcast highlight. 

Listen to the full chat between Campbell Parker and Dominic George above.

To check out more episodes listen to the REX Podcast anytime on your favourite streaming platforms including Spotify, Apple Music and Rova or tune in to REX Mornings live on Magic from 5 am to 6 am every weekday.

Visit the Rural Exchange Facebook or Instagram page for more information and regular updates from the REX team.