The couple have been 50: 50 sharemilkers on a Mangakino farm for two seasons and are keen to be in the top 10 percent for farm working expenses and for pasture harvested.
To get there they must combat some challenging topography with 50 percent of the farm hill country, with an altitude of 500m.
“It’s always a compromise between the ‘camping spots’ which grow a lot and the slow growth in the sidlings on the same paddock,” says Brett.
Brett feels they could capture more of the whole growth potential and would welcome advice around managing these pastures.
“I want to be challenged in my thinking,” says Brett. “Tiller Talk will allow us to connect with more local farmers which is another positive.”
The couple both enjoy learning. Ruth, who earned an agricultural degree from Massey University, is from a dairy farming family while Brett is a former mechanic who is now into his third season. In his first season he won the 2015 Waikato Dairy Trainee of the Year title.
Pasture management is already top of mind for everyone on farm. Brett and Ruth, along with William Downs (another full time staff member), each do a weekly pasture walk on a section of the farm.
“We do have a good idea of which paddocks are behind in terms of growth – but I feel I have a lot to learn around pasture renewal and the suitability of different perennial ryegrass cultivars for this farm.”
“One of our biggest drivers going forward is doing as much pasture renewal as possible.”
“Our philosophy is do the basics well, pasture first, feed cows well and everything else flow on from there.”
“We go hard on residuals and make it a priority to keep on the top of it in spring so paddocks are well set for the rest of the season – it’s all about quality of feed offered”.