DairyBase: Ken Kimber | Bega, NSW region

When Ken Kimber says DairyBase is going to help him better run his 1200 cow dairy farm, other dairy farmers should take notice.

The Bega farmer is an accountant by trade and has been on a quest to improve his farm business book-keeping for almost 40 years.

He reckons DairyBase will finally offer him the comparative analysis he has always wanted – and he can’t wait to start inputting his numbers into the system.

“I’m really looking forward to getting properly organised after 38 years in the industry,” Mr Kimber joked.

“I’ve never got it right - and I used to be an accountant - so I’m quite embarrassed to say that. This will give me the basis I’m looking for.”

DairyBase, which is an online tool developed by Dairy Australia, allows farmers to measure and compare their performance over time.

Mr Kimber knows the system better than most, having been a board member of the Australian Dairy Conference, which helped Dairy Australia fine-tune the program to ensure it was ready to help farmers improve their business performance.

Now with it up and running, he is excited to see what it can deliver for himself and other dairy farmers.   

Mr Kimber believes being able to calculate the actual cost to production means farmers will be able to improve financial decision-making around the farm.

That means smarter farming and a better chance to profit in good seasons and limit the damage in poor years.

“Another good thing about DairyBase is that it does the calculations for you,” he said.

“It takes your figures as you enter them and - in front of your eyes - gives you the calculation of costs per kilo of milk solids, costs per cow, costs per hectare and other options.

“It’s pretty sweet the way it does it. It’s quite amazing actually.”

With a larger than average farm size, Mr Kember said DairyBase’s ability to benchmark against other farms is of less interest to him than comparing his own farm performance from year to year.

“It’s hard for me to find farms that are exactly the same, although this system will allow you to select farms on the basis of similar cow numbers or irrigation systems or in a similar district,” he said.

“In that way you will be able to select what you are comparing against to make it a meaningful comparison.”

The 67-year-old, who runs the 1050 acre family farm with his two sons and a son-in-law, said young farmers in particular would be able to benefit from using DairyBase.

“Certainly, if I was just coming into the industry I’d be looking for all these figures to see if my costs are way out of line and if they are, to see how other farmers are doing it,” he said.

Mr Kimber said he had improved his own business by talking to good farmers in his district, almost all of whom were willing to share their knowledge and experience. He believes DairyBase will extend that pool of local knowledge to a nationwide level.

“I think it’s going to be a great tool for the farmers, but also for the industry,” he said.

“I’m a great believer in it … it’s really exciting”