DairyBase: Brody Kennedy | Forge Creek, Gippsland region

When it comes to making decisions for his dairy business, young farmer Brody Kennedy doesn’t like to rely on guesswork.

The 29-year-old from Forge Creek in East Gippsland likes to crunch as many numbers as he can before he makes strategic calls around the farm – so he is excited about what DairyBase can bring to his decision making process.

DairyBase, a web-based tool developed by Dairy Australia, allows farmers to measure and compare their farm business performance over time.

For Mr Kennedy, having a detailed look at what other dairy farmers are doing and comparing it to his own situation is critical for his ability to steer his business in the right direction.

“It’s having other people’s information without having to probe into their business. You can just look at what people tend to do in a particular year or in a particular circumstance.

“It could really help us to see if we are trying to be a little too left field or if we are on the right track.”

Having only been dairy farming for five years and running a 320 hectare farm over two properties with two dairies, Mr Kennedy continually seeks information on how to improve his farm business.

For him, DairyBase is the latest example of how the dairy industry is willing to share information for the greater good.

“It’s just having that extra information that you wouldn’t have in any other style of business,” he said.

“We all help each other to succeed.  The stronger your next door neighbour is, the stronger you will be, because it will be a stronger industry.”

Mr Kennedy believes that DairyBase will be a much larger scale version of herd testing, which has used long-term data collection to improve the genetic base of Australian dairy cows.

“It’s a similar concept to herd testing, which has got to the point where they can really benchmark a lot of things, so they can have confidence in making a call,” he said.

“The same thing will happen in the dairy business side of things if we treat DairyBase the same way as herd testing has been done.

“Hopefully in 10 years’ time we will have some very strong data in profitability, sustainability and the environment - all those areas. And it can all come from something like DairyBase.”

The potential for DairyBase to fast-track the development of younger farmers and employees is another area that has Mr Kennedy excited.

He sees easy access to data as a key to helping build skills and decision making abilities around the farm.

“It could be a huge knowledge base that could help younger people be a lot more confident with their decision making.”

Mr Kennedy’s own development has been aided by mentors within the industry, but he thinks if DairyBase had been available when he started out, his farming education would have been dramatically accelerated.

“I did it all through trial and error and a couple of mentors, but if you could tie in DairyBase with a mentor, well that could be a big thing for the dairy industry,” he said.

“We want to invest in the people who work for us, so they have the knowledge to help them make good decisions.

“With DairyBase our employees can ask questions, I can ask questions – and the actual facts will be there to help us make the right decisions.”

Caption: Forge Creek dairy farmer Brody Kennedy is excited about DairyBase.