Thursday, 07 November 2019 10:55

Farmer group is all action

Written by  Staff Reporters
The Ongarue group and two other action groups joined forces to fly Doug Avery from the South Island to talk about mental health and wellbeing of farmers The Ongarue group and two other action groups joined forces to fly Doug Avery from the South Island to talk about mental health and wellbeing of farmers

Firing up effective farm health and safety plans is helping King Country farmers who joined a Red Meat Profit Partnership (RMPP) Action Group based around Ongarue.

Joel Fraser, who farms sheep, beef and deer on 850ha 30km northeast of Taumaranui, says his joining the group soon led him to make small, but important, changes to his farming processes.

 Fraser learned about the RMPP Action Network from Rabobank and found plenty of interest among other farmers locally. 

“There are a few guys around this way of a similar age and situation to me, so we talked about it and thought it sounded like a very good idea,” he said. 

“It’s been great and pretty useful to just get off the farm and meet up with people, and get useful information at the same time. So far we have mainly looked at farm management practices.”

Anna Cuming and Paul Brough, who are Rabobank agribusiness managers in Waikato, were the connectors who contacted farmers to float the idea of joining an Action Group. 

Cuming keeps on at the group meetings.

“I cover a large area as part of my role with Rabobank, so I knew a lot of people in the region,” she said. 

“Paul and I got in touch with some local farmers and organised a meeting to tell them more about the RMPP Action Network.

 “Quite a few of the younger group knew each other already. A number of them are farming on family land and have similar issues they want to deal with. They challenge and encourage each other well with a lot of banter.”

Rob Macnab, a director and consultant with Total Ag, agreed to facilitate the groups.

 “He has been proactive with the group,” Cuming said. “It is an added benefit that he has an established network within the agriculture industry which has helped him source the required subject matter experts, often at short notice from around the country.”

The group early on completed its required extension plan and members are working towards completing their KPIs. It is also working on environmental policy for each farm.

“Their farms are in difficult locations for an environmental plan, with lots of creeks, rivers and valleys,” Cuming said. “They are very forward thinking, looking at things like solar powered water pumps. They are very hungry for knowledge.”

The group started early last year and meets every couple of months, fitting around the demands of work, so more frequently in winter. 

“We had workshops on animal health, soil science, fertiliser application and financial management,” Cumming said. “They covered health and safety at their most recent meeting and were keen to develop H&S plans for their farms and to provide them with a practically based resource.

 “That workshop was run by Beef + Lamb NZ (B+LNZ) and a risk management expert, which the group found useful.”

Most of the group members did not have H&S plans prior to the workshop, Fraser says.

“It was very good. We got the folder from B+LNZ and realised that 80% of it has been done for us. What most of us still needed to do were our hazard identification plans, and we left the workshop knowing how to do that. I’m working through mine and the plan should be completed within the next couple of weeks.”

Cuming says the RMPP funding has been useful. 

“It means the group can bring in experts.”

More like this

Staying ahead of the game

High-performing farmers are front-footing challenges facing the sheep and beef sector and adapting their businesses, according to new research by the Red Meat Profit Partnership (RMPP).

Action groups carry on-line

Red Meat Profit Partnership (RMPP) Action Group facilitator John Stantiall was unsure, at the start of the Covid-19 lockdown, how meetings could work.

Eyes open to different ways of farm ownership

Farmer Jane Smith was “blown away” by the group dynamic and drive when she and husband Blair hosted the North Otago-based Growth and Development in Farming Action Group at Newhaven Farms in Oamaru.

Featured

 

Lely offerings for the future

Dutch robotic specialist Lely launched a new farm management application called Horizon at its recent Future Farm Days 2020.

Designed to connect data from a range of on-farm equipment and suppliers into one management system, it creates a real-time decision-support platform, to make the farmer’s life easier, the herd healthier and the farm more profitable, says Lely.

Developed over a 24-month period, with over 100 test farmers in seven countries, working with 75 engineers, designers, farm management advisors, veterinarians and AI specialists, the new application will eventually replace the current Lely T4C management system. It uses smart algorithms and the cloud to deliver data that is processed into actionable information that is always accessible on any device in a user-friendly way.

Lely claims the Horizon application unburdens farmers from routine decision making and helps them optimise their workloads, using integrated routines based on easily scheduled cow ‘touches’, create logical and more efficient workflows. It is also possible to assign a certain task to an employee and to schedule a time slot for the cow touch, rather than analysing different reports and filtering long lists.

Horizon is also able to connect and combine data from non-Lely sources into a complete solution for the farmer removing the need to enter the same data twice, while scrutinising individual data streams in different applications will no longer be necessary. Currently, connections with farming applications such as Dairy Comp, Uniform-Agri, CRV and Herde already enable farmers to synchronise information about calving and inseminations between applications. Lely’s ambition is to connect with more partners over time, to hand the farmer more smart data.

To ensure full support in the migration to Lely Horizon, existing Lely T4C customers will be personally informed by their Lely Center before the end of 2020.

The migration is planned in a phased approach, from country to country, over the year 2021.

Also launched at the event, Lely Exos is an autonomous concept for harvesting and feeding fresh grass to the herd.

The company suggests that feeding fresh grass makes better use of available roughage, suggesting “fresh” has between 10 and 20% more nutritional value than grass silage, as there are minimal losses typically seen during mowing, tedding, raking, harvesting and feeding.

Lely suggests that feeding fresh grass over an extended season reduces the amount of silage that has to be conserved, reduces the need for concentrates and bought-in feed and increase the margin made on each litre of milk produced.

Based around an all-electric vehicle that mows and feeds, Exos is light weight and uses soil friendly technology, that can be exploited throughout the growing season. Design to work 24/7 as feed requirements change, the system places no constraints on labour or time, while it is also designed to work in tandem with the Lely Vector automatic feeding systems.

In operation, Exos also collects field data as it goes about its job, giving framers live data on grass supply and lending itself to a further concept of delivering a targeted liquid fertiliser as it passes over a harvested area.

Goat farming on the rise

Dairy goat milk processors, looking to increase their supplier numbers, are helping to drive interest among farmers in New Zealand’s growing goat milk industry.

TB fight goes on

The total number of TB-infected herds in Hawke’s Bay has risen to 20, following the recent reclassification of a new herd in the Waitara Valley.

Milking cows behind the barbed wire

A recent field day at the Waikeria Prison Farm near Te Awamutu offered farmers the chance to see what goes on “behind the wire”, alongside introducing the idea of farmers employing offenders near the end or after the term of their sentences.

National

Dispelling wool's myths

Paul Alston believes that when comparing wool and synthetic carpets, wool wins every time.

Not all GHGs are the same

The New Zealand Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (NZRSB) is calling for a new, more accurate, method for calculating methane emissions.

Machinery & Products

Weeds in for a shock

WIith an increasing focus on reducing chemical herbicides, largely because of crop resistance and a potential build-up of residues, new…

V8 - a baler with a grunt

Following three years of testing with clients worldwide, Ireland-based manufacturer McHale has added a bigger model to its range of…

Virtual CV valuable tool

With a 12-year history of recruiting specialised operators from overseas to service the agricultural contracting industry, Hanzon Jobs typically brings…

» The RNG Weather Report

» Latest Print Issues Online

The Hound

Tough gig!

OPINION: This old mutt has a fair amount of sympathy for Ag Minister Damien O’Connor with the two associate ministers…

Cow killer

OPINION: The Hound was not surprised to hear well-known end-of-the-world doom-merchant ‘Dr’ Mike Joy is still as joyless as ever…

» Connect with Rural News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter