Case Study - 15 Dec 2016


Grasslands is a global dairy production business currently milking 16,000+ cows in Canterbury & Southland (New Zealand) and Missouri (USA).

With more than 20 dairy units spread across both hemispheres, it was imperative for the Grasslands management team to develop a reporting system that could provide up-to-date, consistent and transparent reporting for each of its operations and to be able to confidently share this with key stakeholders.

Grasslands’ geographic spread means that the business operates in a diverse range of conditions, such as climate or regulatory requirements, adding additional complexities to the dairy production operation. As a result, the business is structured into regionalised management hubs located in Canterbury and Missouri that feed into a centralised CEO and Board of Directors.

As the business operates on a low-cost mantra, Grasslands’ focus is on pasture management while minimising wastage and encouraging fewer livestock losses. Given this, it is important for the business to have accurate on-farm reporting to measure performance and trends within, and between, the farming operations.

Eltorito was engaged in 2014 by Grasslands to implement a new reporting system to act as a ‘single source of truth’ that could streamline information from the farm to the boardroom in an efficient manner.

“We knew we weren’t making our data work as hard for us as it could and that we needed to structure our reporting in a way that could easily give us a picture of where the business was operating at any given time. We approached Eltorito as we knew they had a unique ability to understand farming principles and to build reporting models that were relevant in the boardroom.” – Zach Ward, CEO, Grasslands

The reports include critical operational information to provide oversight of farming KPIs such as pasture cover, supplement input, cow condition, milk production and compliance matters. Weekly reports are compiled so that action can be taken quickly to rectify any matters than need attention.

Once the core data capture and storage system was established Grasslands could pull from a database of operational information as and when required to produce regular insights and benchmarking reports.  Access to this business intelligence has meant that Grasslands management can readily collect farm information and visualise it in the context of multiple farms over a period of time, allowing them to monitor trends such as how animal body condition score is looking or where production is tracking.

“We’re now spending a lot less time capturing and cleansing data allowing us to focus our efforts on interpreting the results to make informed decisions in a timely manner. There is so much value in being able to provide our stakeholders with a real-time and accurate view of the areas they’re concerned with, allowing management, Board and sub-committees to track and benchmark how we’re performing at a micro and macro level.”

Eltorito continues to work closely with Grasslands on their reporting systems and has helped to streamline their irrigation processes. 

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