"Just give me the App" | Functional Fertiliser

“Just give me the App”

It’s not an uncommon response when we talk to farmers and farm managers about pasture management.

We would if we could but that’s not possible.  The upside is that there are some things which will always remain exclusive to people.

In this case it’s all about regular observation, the one thing that separates really successful farming and growing operations from the run-of-mill.

Being in the top 5% of operators is a real plus because those operations make money every season regardless of market returns and climatic conditions.

In fact, some of the people we’ve worked with continuously for over the last twenty years have, out of income, repaid large amounts of debt and been in a situation where they have been able to expand.

The problems of high empty rates, twenty percent annual pasture renewal, chronic metabolic issues, weed along with clover flea and weevil infestation, just aren’t topics that come up in conversation because they don’t exist.

When the conditions that favour clover are created and pasture management allows it to fully express itself, clover becomes genuinely unstoppable.

And because it is less competitive for moisture, nutrient, and sunlight than grasses, where it flourishes higher fertility grasses and herbs steadily increase.

Management of pastures to obtain maximum performance is where most attention is required.

When working with those that have only known the fixed grazing routine followed by regular synthetic nitrogen applications putting extra time and effort into observation makes little sense.

That is until the benefits of stronger pasture growth particularly during periods of less than ideal grazing conditions become apparent.

This is quickly followed by an improvement in weight gain and milk yield along with a reduction in overall animal health costs.

The financial margins in farming currently are slim, and although better times will arrive it is still possible to generate a healthy profit, but attention to detail is necessary.

Grazing intervals, often referred to as rotation length, is the critical issue in turning 12,000kg of dry matter per hectare into 15,000kg or better.

That extra 25% is available at no extra cost apart from the time taken to closely observe the pasture in every paddock prior to and after grazing.

The importance of that is that when pasture production does not exceed 10,000kgDM/ha each year it is usually almost impossible to generate a profit regardless of debt levels.

Functional Farming Systems have for over twenty years provided farmers with soil fertility packages that are not reliant on synthetic nitrogen for exceptional performance.

It quickly became apparent that some operators realised the benefits more quickly than others and they were those that spent extra time and effort managing their pastures.

It is under permanent grazed pasture that carbon is most rapidly sequestered, a fact not recognised in current farming models which will have to change if NZ’s pastoral industry is to prosper.

Where carbon is steadily sequestered methane and nitrous oxide are not increased.  Carbon dioxide being heavier than air sits close to the ground stimulating stronger plant growth.

Extra carbon when fully digested provides the perfect filter for rain ensuring ground water is fit for drinking, and it is only soil biology that allows excess nitrogen to be returned to the atmosphere as benign nitrogen gas.

Its essential if farming is to survive the coming financial turbulence that we take heed of the past.  From Soils and Manures in New Zealand (1960) by L.J. Wild comes the following.

“In agriculture, as in other callings, that man is more likely to succeed whose mind is well stored with solid facts, and whose fertile brain is productive of ideas, than he who blindly follows ‘rules of thumb.”

For more information call Peter on 0800 843 809

Pin It on Pinterest