Farm System Evaluator - Next Steps

After assessing your options and readiness for change via the Farm System Evaluator online tool, use these tips to help decide on next steps.

Selecting the new system and infrastructure

  • Test your thinking and options with business partners, trusted advisors, industry bodies and government agencies before committing.
  • Visit other businesses who are using the system you are considering.
  • Consult financial advisers, lenders and/or potential investors to outline the scale and rationale of investment before getting too advanced with design and planning.
  • In early-stage planning, consult with system designers and specialists on infrastructure design and siting options. Also consider stages of development best suited to the property and integration with existing infrastructure.
  • Develop a realistic timeline for works needed to take the proposed concept through construction to operation.

Project planning and development

  • Where specialists are engaged to assist, the relationship between various parties needs to be clearly and formally recorded in a contract which provides legal protection for all involved.
  • To prepare the relevant application documents for development, preliminary property-specific data collection and planning is needed. This includes planning desktop assessment and relevant site investigations.
  • Communication with approval authorities (e.g., local government councils) will inform the assessment criteria and expectations. It will also identify other government agencies potentially involved in the approval process, their requirements and/or further consent. It’s critical to understand the pathway and triggers for consent from relevant planning authorities before approval or a planning permit can be granted.

Invest to implement the new system

  • Effective project management is critical once planning approval has been granted to ensure the scheduling of works and associated activities to support construction and installation are closely monitored and managed.
  • Results from site assessments, planning documents and any relevant amended conditions will inform construction requirements and determine how the site must be prepared. This includes stages for inspection and supervision.
  • The project manager will be required to observe and manage onsite activities and confirm all specified requirements are being met. The construction monitoring is typically undertaken by the design engineer (or representative) to ensure “key elements” of the design have been interpreted and constructed.

Successfully operating the new system

  • At the completion of construction, it’s important to undertake a final check and assessment of the facilities and installed equipment to check they are fully functional and operating to specifications.
  • Training should be provided on the installed systems and future reviews of the system should take place.
  • Transitioning to new facilities takes time as the herd and staff adjust to farm operation changes. Consider managing short-term reduced production, staff training, and seasonal change where possible.

For more information, please refer to the National Feedpad & Contained Housing Guidelines.

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