Flemington Farm, Canterbury

Flemington Farm, 10km south of Ashburton (Hinds Catchment), is owned by Phill and Jos Everest and run by their son Paul Everest.

The dairy farm is 273ha of flat terrain, with a milking platform of 217ha and 38ha used for winter/feed crops and young stock. The balance, 18ha, is in trees, laneways and buildings. No cows are wintered on milking platform and young stock are grazed off from weaning.

Two options for reducing environmental footprint were modelled for this farm, from the 2018/19 season:

  1. The first scenario focuses on reducing N fertiliser use, reducing the cropping area on farm, and replacement rate of young stock, while maintaining production. This resulted in reduced N loss, and emissions, and increased profitability.
  2. The second option builds on the first option and aims to reduce N loss by a further 12% through further reducing N fertiliser and substituting pasture grown with low-N supplements. This results in further reductions in N loss and emissions and a decrease in profitability.

Key findings

  • As the farm is well set up with very efficient irrigation, and the soils have low drainage, there is little opportunity for more efficient irrigation.  The opportunities to change the farm system and maintain profit are also low as the farm uses little supplement.
  • The scenarios modelled show that the farm can meet the current Hinds catchment N reduction target. However, these come at a cost to profit unless alternative mitigations such as plantain, winter active species and Low-N cows are feasible farm system options. 

“We care for the environment but need a balance between social, economic, environment – can’t go broke individually or as an industry/country.  This project gives the opportunity to carefully review options.  We are prepared to give things a go, examples are spreading plantain out of the fertiliser bulk spreader truck, duals on pivots to reduce ruts, focus on labour/time efficiency, with the automation in the dairy shed, our men only have to milk once a day.”
- Phill Everest, farm owner

Changes

Year compared to

2018/2019

Scenario 1

Scenario 2

N leaching

Baseline 2012 & 2013

-15%

-28%

-40%

GHG losses

2018-19

-

-8%

-11%

Profitability

2018-19

-

+11%

-11%

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