Achieving Sustainable Improvement Research

Above: This research explored a proactive (rather than reactive) veterinary service to help farms achieve high milk quality

Fast Facts


Client: Dairy Australia
Location: Southeastern Australia
When: 2006-2008

Responsibilities: To develop and pilot a process to help make repeatable planning in farm businesses a routine practice

Project description

The need:  This research studied an approach to making repeatable planning in farm businesses a routine, fee-for-service practice. A new service, Countdown MAX, was derived from the Countdown Downunder program and offered to farmers on a commercial basis. Factors affecting farmer demand for the service and its viability in the case study businesses were explored. The dairy industry was especially interested in understanding what was required for the private sector to incorporate principles from an industry project into their service businesses.

What we did:  The Harris Park Group partnered with The University of Melbourne to design and conduct the research. The service and its components were co-developed by a team of 20 people with Drs John Penry and Mark Paine as the lead researchers.

Three Countdown MAX modules were developed, each involving regular connects between farms and their service providers to plan and review progress. All veterinary practices in the development group offered the service in their client base, with 55 farms participating in 88 consultations. Although the service was enthusiastically received by clients, the level of change needed within the veterinary practices to make the service self-sustaining was not achieved.