Competitive and resilient dairy businesses

We will build the world’s most competitive and resilient dairy farming businesses

We will meet this commitment by:

  • investing in innovation and adoption to push out on-farm performance boundaries on research farms and in wide-spread practice, surpassing our international competitors and meeting the sustainability targets of our communities.
  • working to reduce the risk to the farming business and New Zealand’s natural resources from biosecurity incursions through a focus on promoting best practice systems and processes.
  • leveraging the benefits of new digital and other technologies, supporting farmers and the sector by enhancing data connectivity, decision making and transparent reporting.


  • Lead, coordinate and implement a Dairy Sector Science Strategy that guides research and development investment to ensure we have the information needed to sustainably deliver on New Zealand and global expectations of our Dairy Farming Systems and Dairy Farming Businesses.
  • Develop and implement a plan to enable efficient data integrations, aggregation, and collation to effectively meet on-farm needs, community and regional measurement and compliance needs, and dairy sector performance monitoring and reporting needs.
  • Develop initiatives to reduce the risk and impact on farm profitability and productivity, of biosecurity incursions.

What we have achieved

Contributing to central government’s research, science and innovation system redevelopment 

We are actively contributing to the government’s Te Ara Paerangi – Future Pathways programme to overhaul central government’s research, science, and innovation system. Dairy sector representatives participate in the Food and Fibre Leaders’ Group, a strategy group of primary sector leaders established in July 2020 to accelerate transformation of the food and fibre sector.

Biosecurity preparedness

Over 2022, there was a Foot and Mouth Disease outbreak in the Indonesian cattle herd which led to an immediate response from central government and the primary sector. Led by an MPI Taskforce, and supported by Dairy Tomorrow partners, a comprehensive review and update of New Zealand’s national Foot and Mouth preparedness and response strategy was quickly completed and implemented, for example with increased border screening.

The dairy sector invests in its own biosecurity preparedness. DBRIEF (the Dairy Biosecurity Risk Identification and Evaluation Framework) was created to understand and assess the implications of a wide range of biosecurity scenarios. Led by experts, this framework enables targeted programmes of surveillance and the potential for rapid on-farm response based on the potential scale of impact.

Dairy farmers working to increase financial resilience

Dairy farmers have worked hard to increase the resilience of their businesses by cutting debt from $41.7b at its peak in July 2018, to $36.5b in December 2022.

Explore our commitments