“We have had some big disappointments with paddocks renewed only two to three years ago, weeds replace sown species very quickly – I am reluctant to touch our older paddocks which perform relatively well,” says Dave.
In Dave’s opinion, the biggest opportunity on the farm is to improve the pasture renewal process, especially around the establishment of tall fescue. He is looking forward to bouncing ideas off other farmers around the topic.
“We are trying to do quite a few things with our regrassing programme, using tall fescue and trying different methods of establishing clover and chicory in the mix,” says Dave.
“I want to continue to improve pasture species to allow us to increase home grown feed. Our target is to maintain pasture and crop eaten at 14t DM at least.”
This is Dave’s fourth season as a contract milker on his family’s farm near Te Awamutu. This year (16/17) they have taken on a small winter milk contract so will continue milking through winter.
As a former DairyNZ consulting officer for Northland and Waikato, pasture was an area Dave was passionate about – this enthusiasm has continued in his on-farm role.
“I’d like to build on my knowledge and learn more about endophytes, and appropriate round length for our system. It will be interesting to see what others are doing.”
“Our main focus is summer management – when it starts getting dry, it’s our most difficult time of the year; that’s where the turnips bring value to the system, when we have very poor grass growth,” says Dave.