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Lean Dairy Farm Survey Results

by Joe Aherne

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Thank you for taking the time to complete our “How Lean is your Farm” survey at the National Ploughing Championships 2017. We would like to share the results with you. We spoke directly to over 300 dairy farmers and 65 of these took time out to complete the survey.

Please find the survey results below and contact us if you would like to discuss this topic further or invite us to one of your farm group meetings where applicable.

Survey Results

  • 45% of respondents did not measure and record their farm activities on a weekly basis. Recording and measuring of farm activities is a key principle of Lean Dairy farm best practice. Preferably these should be monitored and recorded on white boards so that they are visible to all farm staff and valuable learnings and next steps can be applied to future work.


  • 78% of the respondents did not agree that the general lay out of their farms and key farm activities were adequate. This concept resonated with a large number of the farmers who hadn’t investigated fully the potential benefits that could be accrued from more efficient flows and layouts whether in the farm yard, milking parlour or location of milk troughs in the field.


  • 67% of respondents did not hold daily or weekly meetings to plan upcoming work. A key element of Lean Dairy Farm is to plan and schedule work in advance and to build in contingencies in light of changing weather conditions etc. This would have a significant impact on the efficient use of staff relief and lessen the stress on farmers during their time away from the farm.


  • Freeing up time on the farm was a recurring theme when talking to all dairy farmers. Spending more time with the family, more time for recreation and going to sports events etc. were examples given as well as taking time out to review the performance of the farm/staff and re-assess future opportunities and trends.


  • 75% agreed that they identified ways to improve profitability on their farms but the recurring theme was lack of time and support to make these happen.
Joe Aherne Photo
Joe Aherne

CEO of Leading Edge Group

Joe qualified as a Certified Public Accountant in 1982. It was a decision that reaped great benefits for Joe, providing him with an international recognized qualification which allowed him to follow in his father and grandfathers’ footsteps who had both worked and lived abroad. Having qualified as a CPA, Joe took up financial positions in the Middle East and UK.

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