Adopting New Zealand Dairy Farm Principles And Practices In Argentina
The dairy sector is important to Argentina because it creates genuine wealth and employment. Milk production at competitive costs is crucial for the endurance of the Argentine dairy sector; therefore the development of competitive dairy farm systems is important for Argentina. New Zealand (hereafter NZ) dairy farm systems are internationally known for their competitiveness without the presence of subsidies. Though Argentine dairy farmers have been attracted to NZ systems for more than 40 years and despite the fact that the NZ knowledge appears to be beneficial to Argentine farms, NZ practices have been rarely adopted. This seemingly fruitless effort in extending this technology shapes the research question of the present study: Can Argentine dairy farmers benefit from adopting New Zealand dairy farm principles and practices?
Seven Argentine dairy farmers were selected as case studies because of their awareness of NZ dairy systems; the research data was collected through interviews, farm physical and economic records, and field visits to the farms. Two frameworks were utilized to analyse the qualitative and quantitative data: the Diffusion Theory (Rogers, 2003) and the IFCN network (International Farm Comparison Network www.ifcnnetwork.org), respectively.
Ten NZ innovations were defined; they were principles and practices considered typical in NZ dairy farms and not common in Argentine dairy farms. The innovations were related to four areas of the dairy system: pasture management, herd management & genetics, farm structure & organization, and human resources. The seven farmers selected differed in the level of adoption or rejection of the innovations.
Results revealed that higher levels of adoption of NZ innovations by a group of Argentine dairy farms were associated with higher levels of Return on Investment; this was mainly due to a higher utilization of the main asset and most limiting production factor of Argentine and New Zealand dairy farms, the land.
Keywords: Argentine dairy farm systems, New Zealand innovations for Argentina, Argentine dairy industry, Argentine dairy systems, diffusion of innovations, adoption of innovations.