Piet with some of his cows about to move out to pasture.

Mower tech measures pasture

Chris McCullough A Dutch dairy farmer whose cows just recently learned how to graze again after 10 years kept indoors is using a rather novel method to measure his grass yields to ensure he only uses fertiliser where required. Piet Jan Thibaudier, 31, discovered the pasture reader technology in Australia and adapted it to fit on to a mower that sits on the front of the tractor. The technology measures the height of …

Keep fodder beet clean and green rather than using more nitrogen is the best way to maximise margins.

Clean green beet gives best return

Andrew Swallow Keep fodder beet clean and green to maximise margins, farmers and agronomists heard at a series of field days this winter, but that doesn’t mean using more nitrogen. Plant and Food Research ran workshops in Waikato, Wanganui, Canterbury and Southland in July, relaying findings from the first two years of a three-year MPI Sustainable Farming Fund project – …

The final.

Rugby in the heartlands

Farm workers were once the mainstay of country rugby teams But many now have other commitments. John Cosgrove takes a look at the Otago’s Strath Taieri team. The carpark is full of dusty utes with packs of dogs growling menacingly from cages on the decks. Inside the changing rooms the players arrive in dribs and drabs. There isn’t a cell …

While more dairy farmers are expected to elect an all AI programme, there’s still strong inquiry for service bulls.

Demanding assurance

Farmers have made a mind-set change to cope with the threat of Mycoplasma bovis when buying stock. Anne Lee reports. Farmers are asking many more questions and demanding assurances over biosecurity history when considering bull purchases or leasing arrangements this season. Calf buyers, too, are wanting more detail when making buying decisions. PGG Wrightson national dairy livestock manager Paul Edwards …

Dairying in the remote Maruia Valley.

Hitting the sweet spot

Focusing on stockmanship and breeding worth has seen a West Coast couple’s herd reach top-ranking production figures. Anne Hardie reports. Six weeks calving is long enough by Kane and Rachel Inch’s reckoning and they’ve also dropped cow numbers, milk once a day and feed just grass through a season that amounts to just 270 days in milk. The result? They …

Jeremy and Stacey Duckmanton with Gabbie, 4, and Walter, 2 – a technology spend during tough times pays off.

Better breeding: Avoiding the risks

When the payout was low, a sharemilking couple made an investment that meant they could avoid using bulls and the risks and costs they entail. Anne Lee reports. It might seem a bit about face but Jeremy and Stacey Duckmanton’s decision to make a major investment in technology so they could get through the low payout period has turned out …