FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Overview of Dairy Business of the Year (DBOY)

Dairy Business of the Year is a competition that has a purpose of improving financial, human resources and environmental farming practices within your dairy enterprise through analysis and benchmarking.

Why should I enter, and what is the value to me and my business?

Your DBOY analysis provides a clear and quantitative appraisal of your business and enables you to make informed decisions about your business direction. The detailed report highlights both strong and weak points in your business, allowing you to confidently focus your resources on those areas that can drive improvements in profitability, business resilience, human resources, and environmental practices.
The DBOY analysis and benchmarking provides you with evidence-based farming and a robust database to assist with meeting the challenges of payout fluctuations, climate extremes and evolving environmental farm management regulations. Whether you have a successful dairy business, are looking to make improvements or just starting out, there are significant advantages to being involved with DBOY.

Does it matter what business entity we have?

No, any business entity can enter (owner/operators, sharemilkers with property owners, lease farms, equity partnership, companies). As long as we receive the season's financial information for the whole business system, we can combine them into one business for the competition.

What is DBOY?

DBOY provides an independent and comprehensive farm analysis, which assesses and measures those key business performance drivers within your dairy enterprise during the last full financial year. Your farm performance is then benchmarked against other dairy businesses within your region. The analysis measures and defines the financial/physical, people management and environmental practices, which is considered the triple bottom line to sustainable and profitable dairy farming. Profitability is vital to a resilient dairy business, which is why the primary focus of DBOY is based on profit. However, your dairy enterprise business not only needs to be profitable; engaging sustainable farming practices and good people management assists the business to be more robust during periods of milk price volatility and climatic challenges.
As an addition to providing a business report to all entrants, the top performers in each region are selected based on DBOY's triple bottom line assessment process. These top performing businesses are then showcased to generate and stimulate discussion amongst the dairy farming fraternity, while simultaneously creating an opportunity for other farmers to improve their own farming enterprises. Learning opportunities come from both benchmarked and publicly shared Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), which are generated from the DBOY analysis, coupled with the opportunity to attend one of the regional public Regional Optimisation Field Days, where the regional winners showcase and share their farming performance and business philosophies.

What is in the DBOY report, and how do I decipher my business performance against my peers?

The report summarises your entire business, delivering you an analysis on each of your financial, environmental and human resources sectors. The results are presented in a variety of formats – written, graphical, tabulated and scorecards. Results from all entrants are collated to create a range, and then your results are evaluated to assess your business performance across the spectrum.

What does the Environmental Analysis include?

The environmental analysis provides a snap shot of farm compliance and helps identify areas of the farm which are of higher risk to the environment. This also allows you to identify where current and future compliance issues may arise, as well as assisting with strategically targeting the risk areas of the farm system. Topics such as effluent compliance, nutrient leaching, and nutrient use efficiency are all predominant in the environmental scorecard. Understanding and defining current environmental management practices enables you to strategise as to how you would like or need the farm system to change going forward and future proof your system against any foreseeable or impending changes in regulation.

What does the Human Resources (HR) Analysis include?

HR is judged based on a set of metrics around staff stability, retention, cost and training. This does rely on competition entrants being honest in their reporting of this information. A random sample from those entering is then checked for authenticity. In addition to the metrics information given, finalists are interviewed over the phone by one of our HR specialists, where they are assessed for compliance with HR legislation and good people practices.

How rigorous is the Financial Analysis?

The financial analysis is carried out via a physical and financial analysis software program, which is either DairyBase or RedSky. These software programs require both your financial and physical information from the previous production season. Our processing team are trained in these programs and can identify if, and where, anomalies occur e.g. the cost of feed in the accounts does not logically match the tonnages used on farm for the various feeds, or projected pasture harvested coupled with non-pasture feeds do not match production. Once completed, the DairyBase or Red Sky reports are then audited within our processing team to check for any further anomalies. If the farmer has a consultant that has been identified to DBOY, reports are often sent to them for further auditing. Farms that make the shortlist are then placed through an out-sourced auditing process by trained DairyBase or Red Sky processors.

Does DBOY discriminate against farm systems?

Absolutely not. DBOY's focus is to recognise and acknowledge business excellence, regardless of the farm system that is being utilised.

How do I enter?

Entering DBOY is straight-forward - there is an entry pack (containing three forms) that needs to be completed, which should take 30-45 minutes, depending on how well your records are kept. The DBOY entry pack can be downloaded and printed from the DBOY website and filled in by hand, or directly into Excel online. We offer phone support during office hours to help you complete your forms if required. Entry packs can also be sourced from our team.
There are three forms and steps which include;
Step 1 - People Management form: short two-page form.
Step 2 - Environmental Management form: one-page form detailing fertiliser, forage crops, effluent and environmental protections in place e.g. fencing, planting.
Step 3 - Financial Data Forms: four-page form which is used to capture your physical data that is then matched with your financials. This includes specific feed data, grazing management, land details, staffing and herd details.
We also require authority to access the following (the entrant completes a simple authority form);
- The farm business financial accounts (additional cash manager optional).
- Milk production details – shares, final milk price, total milk production details.
Please click below to be redirected to the Entry Registration page, or contact your farm advisor.

Is my information safe?

Absolutely, all information and results are kept confidential. Only our processing team will have access to this information and your report will only be shared with you, and you may choose who you share this with. Your results will be used anonymously as part of the regional benchmarking process.

What can I expect once I have completed the entry form?

Once you hand in your completed entry pack we will be in touch to confirm that you have provided everything for your entry, or to let you know if any information is missing. Once data processing begins we may be in touch again if we have any queries regarding the information you have provided. Once all DBOY entrants' assessments have been completed a shortlist will be selected and all entrants will be notified. Following this, the finalists will be selected from the shortlist. Meanwhile, invitations will be sent out for the Awards events which are held in June. A Leaders' Optimisation Day (LOD) event is conducted the day after the Awards for the finalists, which, based on previous finalist feedback, is highly-satisfying and rewarding. Later in the year Regional Optimisation Field Days will be held around the country on the respective regional winners' farms.

Does the entry process require a farm visit or an interview?

No, DBOY is largely objective so it is judged using data from your previous season's performance, therefore no on-farm visit or interviews are required to enter. If you become a finalist validation questions may be asked of you over the phone and a visit by an independent person experienced in farm values will be carried out to confirm your land value, validate your effluent system and take photos of the farm for the awards ceremony.

How is DBOY judged?

DBOY is judged by the following criteria:
70% Profit (50% Return on Capital & 20% Operating Profit Margin)
15% Environmental Score
15% Human Resources Score
A shortlist is selected based on the above score criteria; these are then audited to produce a list of finalists which is presented to our independent judges, who are responsible for selecting the regional winners, systems input winners and overall winner. No8HR judges the Best People Management Award, and Headlands the Best Environmental Performance Award.



Should I enter even if I know I am not likely to win?

Definitely, the greatest value is in the reports that DBOY provide to every entrant. It is frequently the farmers who have more capacity to optimise their farm system that gain the utmost value from the reports.

What do I receive if I win?

TThere are multiple awards and prizes up for grabs; prizes are a mix of cash and vouchers from our sponsors. The awards are based on the judging system and include; - The Supreme and Runner Up Awards
- Up to Eight Regional Awards
- Three Farm Systems Awards based on Financial Performance (Low/Med/High Input)
- Finalist with the Best People Performance & Leadership
- Finalist with the Lowest Environmental Impact
All Finalists receive free attendance to the Awards event. The following day there is an exclusive finalist workshop (LOD), where the finalists share strategies and have the opportunity to make further improvements to their own business through the sharing of ideas. DBOY will facilitate workshops and discussions on financial, environmental and people management to understand how others have achieved their results, and to hear from the professionals in these areas. This is also an opportunity to dive deeper into the reports by asking questions of the specialists, report writers and your peers. Previous finalists have said this is one of the most valuable opportunities and a real highlight for them.

What are my commitments if I win an award?

All finalists are required to share their main farm business KPIs publicly for other farmers to use as a goal-setting target. For selected finalists, there is also a commitment to host an on-farm Field Day organised by DBOY. This will be open to the public where other farmers have an opportunity to learn first-hand from some of the best farmers in their area.

What else does DBOY offer?

During October and November multiple Regional Optimisation Field Days are held on the farms of selected award-winning DBOY entrants throughout New Zealand. These Field Days are free and open to the public, where those attending can gain a better understanding of what it takes to achieve an award-winning, profitable, resilient and sustainable dairy agribusiness.