Although we're still in the height of summer, autumn is only a hop, skip and a jump away - that means it's the time of year when dairy farmers need to prepare their farms to produce high-quality pasture for the coming months.
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SUPPLIED Now is the time of year when dairy farmers need to prepare their farms to produce high-quality pasture for the coming months.

Pasture plans, however, will look different for every farm depending on a wide range of critical factors including: soil type, weather patterns, farm goals, grazing patterns, and prior land use, just to name a few.

Each of Farm Source’s 68 stores located throughout New Zealand have specialist Technical Sales Representatives who are available to assist farmers in making these critical pasture decisions. The role of a TSR is to be there year-round to offer specialised support and advice on the nitty gritty of seed, fertiliser, ag-chem, and help guide farmers to achieve their pasture goals.

But don’t take it from us – here are three Kiwi farmers sharing how working with their local TSR to create individual on-farm feed plans has paid dividends in pasture.

Kevin van der Poel (Waikato)

When Kevin and his wife came back from the States and bought their 103-hectare dairy farm, they knew that a large part of their model would be to maximise pasture growth. They began the hunt for a pasture that would be hardy, palatable and would offer good tonnage throughout the year.

Kevin says his local TSR, Debbie, is quite instrumental in actually understanding what his district needs, what works for the area and what works for his business.

“Debbie can actually match product, grass seed and other services that suit what we’re trying to achieve here,” says Kevin. “There are a whole range of things that I find I can go to her for, and if she doesn’t have the answer, she knows where to go and get the answer.”

“If you need to find some local advice, get some good prices and get a good selection of product, why wouldn’t you go there?”

Brett Farrell (Northland)

Brett has owned his farm in Parakao for 27 years, growing it over that time from 180 cows to 840. He collects data around pasture growth, cow condition, feed inputs and more to help them grow as much pasture as possible per hectare.

Brett’s local Farm Source TSR, Jamie, suggested they try out Mohaka AR37 – switching to hybrids has helped them grow grass all winter, as well as solved some black beetle and stem weevil problems.

“It’s quite good having these TSRs with all this knowledge, part of which comes from them seeing farms every day – what works, and what doesn’t,” explains Brett.

“We use the reps to decide where we’re growing, soil testing, what varieties, what paddock is most suitable – that’s all down to the reps from Farm Source.”

PJ Van Dongen use Farm Source's blue pasture pack with two clovers and platform, which they've found works well on their land.
SUPPLIED PJ Van Dongen use Farm Source’s blue pasture pack with two clovers and platform, which they’ve found works well on their land.

PJ Van Dongen (Rukuhia)

PJ took over his 245-hectare family farm in Rukuhia eight years ago and has since transitioned it from a System 4 farm to a System 2-3 farm. They now use Farm Source’s blue pasture pack with two clovers and platform, which they’ve found works well on their land.

“We got onto Farm Source’s blue pasture pack through our local TSR, Nick – phenomenal bloke,” says PJ. “He’s got a lot of knowledge around the technicalities of the products that we use. I can’t fault the relationship at all.”

“I think if anyone’s got any questions, they shouldn’t hesitate to speak to their local TSR. When it comes to picking a pasture pack for your system, your local TSR is where you should be heading.”

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