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Sarah Flavall

Lonmeck Dairy Ltd

When Sarah returned to the family farm after many years away, she turned to FarmIQ to capture all the information and history that was stuck inside her father's head. 

3 years down the track she is continuing to record the farm's data not only to meet compliance requirements but also, build a legacy which she can pass on to her children when the time comes for them to take over the farm. 

Lonmeck Dairy

Sarah Flavall and Doug Nicholson

Location: South Waikato
Farm area: 100ha
Farm type: dairy

On 1 June each year, many dairy farm owners will see valuable farm information walk off their farm when staff leave, but one South Waikato farming couple is showing how software can change this.

As sharemilkers, Sarah Flavall and her husband Doug Nicholson are using farm software to help run her family farm, and at the same time they are helping build up a historical record.This includes capturing the information that was in people’s heads and could easily have been lost.

It’s a good solution for the problem of how to get new staff up to speed quickly too.

Sarah and Doug came back to the Flavall family farm four years ago. They started out working for a sharemilker contracted by her father Farquhar Flavall and are now completing their first year as sharemilkers, milking 294 cows. Doug does most of the farmwork while Sarah works as a project manager for the local council four days a week.

Get up to speed quicker

Having good records that are easy to refer back to is giving them confidence in their decision-making, she says.

“It’s so much easier when you have everything recorded – like the hazards, the previous pasture information and the fert that has gone on,” says Sarah. “It helps you through that transition period when you are getting to know the farm. You get access to proven knowledge, and it’s being added to all the time. For example, you can see how well a paddock has responded to fertiliser. That will become more important with a cap on nitrogen.”

They really like the many ways farm information can be viewed. “With FarmIQ you can get it visually, for example with the interactive map you can get heat maps that show pasture production or nutrients applied. That is really powerful.”

“When you are running a farm business, you need good business tools and the FarmIQ software is one. We are willing to pay for something that makes life easier."

- Sarah Flavall, Lonmeck Dairy

Total package

They had a good look at what was available in the market before deciding to use the FarmIQ software for their farm management recording and reporting. “When you are running a farm business, you need good business tools and the FarmIQ software is one. We are willing to pay for something that makes life easier. It helps with the day-to-day management as well as giving us more strategic views.

“FarmIQ is a total package. There are lots of other individual systems but they only relate to one aspect of your farm and they don’t talk to each other. With those, you have to enter the same information more than once.

“We just had someone out about renewing our insurance. They saw that we have policy from Federated Farmers and FarmIQ for recording and said, ‘Great, it’s a total system.’

“There are three things we look at regularly – Farm Source for milk information, CRV Insight for animal breeding records and FarmIQ.” With FarmIQ their main emphasis so far has been on paddock management, including regular pasture measurements, task management, staff rosters and timesheets, and health and safety recording.

Sarah has worked with spreadsheets before – but found they take a lot of time to set up. “With FarmIQ you don’t have to start from scratch and make up all this stuff. It’s all set up for you. It’s about the value of your time.”

Building a legacy

She has worked with her father to ensure his knowledge is recorded with FarmIQ. “If something happened to dad a few years ago, all that knowledge would have been lost…”

Sarah is the third generation farming the property and she considers that FarmIQ is helping to create a legacy for the next generation.