Field days a farm success
November 1 2019
Check out highlights from Pasture Summit’s Canterbury Spring Field Day, one of two events sharing ideas for achieving profitable food production from grass.
The popularity of last year’s New Zealand Pasture Summit was echoed recently at two follow-up field days held this spring. One was held in the North Island in September, the other in the South Island in October. Both events were supported by technical expertise from DairyNZ staff.
Greg and Rachel Roadley hosted the October event on their Ashburton farm. Those attending learned that:
• the farm business has grown significantly off the back of excellent grazing management and strict farm expenditure rules
• pasture and crop eaten is 17 tonne of dry matter per hectare (t DM/ha) compared to 14t DM/ha average
• milk production operating expenses are $3.74 per kilogram of milksolids (kg MS) – $1.33/kg MS less than the Canterbury average
• supplements have largely been eliminated, reducing environment effects but still maintaining production and herd reproductive performance
• a stocking rate of 3.6 cows/ha and calving date of August 1 mean maximum pasture is utilised without needing silage and concentrates from calving.
The Roadleys’ farm staff, contract milkers and equity managers are also growing their skills and personal wealth. This has created strong win-win relationships with people who have shared farming philosophies. Pasture Summit secretary Alistair Rayne says it was a thoroughly inspiring day, with a tremendous turnout of farmers and a warm atmosphere. “The Roadleys showed how choosing a simple farm system meant more time to be superb at managing grass to drive results, results which have consistently delivered profit and choices for themselves, their family, and staff.” Speaking about both the South Island and North Island events, Pasture Summit committee
member Robert Ferris says: “Two great farmers, two outstanding farms. The key message is to focus on profit and pasture, and the rest will follow.” Find out more about Pasture Summit and its related events at pasturesummit.co.nz.
North Island spring field day
Pasture Summit’s other spring field day was held at the Te Awamutu farm of Morgan and Sinclair Equity Partnership (Morlands Farm).
• It’s a low-input profitable farm, generating an extra $1000/ha profit compared to the Waikato average.
• They’re doing this while applying less than half the average amount of nitrogen fertiliser they used to use, and with minimal supplement use.
Olin Greenan, Pasture Summit committee member, says operating expenses at Morlands Farm are below $4.00/kg MS, compared to the Waikato average of above $5.00. “This business has a high profit margin, combined with a low environmental footprint, to ensure it’s sustainable at all milk prices,” says Olin.
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