For Murray, being involved in Tiller Talk was a great way to further understand the basics of ryegrass growth, as well as a chance to share these skills and knowledge with his staff and bring them on the journey with him.
“It was particularly rewarding and insightful working 1:1 with agronomist Hamish Johnstone.”
- Pasture renewal – we did a lot of oversowing based on what we could get to because we are farming on steeper country
- In every group there was always something new to learn, for example
- plantain establishment,
- leaf stage.
“One example was how 1500kg DM residuals look like for me against how it looked like others in group.”
As part of the project an agronomist, along with other farmers, will discuss opportunities for improvement on Murray’s farm throughout the year. Murray, who has 10 years’ worth of growth rates, is a fan of data.
“We are very science-based,” says Murray. “We think there is always room for improvement – I want to continue learning from other people.”
“I am really looking forward to bouncing ideas off other like-minded folk and hear about the latest pasture research.”
Murray milks 440 cows on the self-contained 176 ha farm (effective) in Te Puke, which has been in the family for more than 70 years. The farm is hilly to steep, a challenging contour that brings Murray to put cows on once a day from Christmas time every year.
Well-fed cows, but also high growth and high utilisation of pasture are key drivers for any decision making, says Murray.
He sees the biggest opportunity for the farm is to grow more grass.
“I want to learn how we can grow more grass, increase pasture performance while farming sustainably and leave a good farming environment for the next generations.”
Some of the challenges he will need to overcome include a difficult soil type and a change in stocking rate next season.
“With less cows on-farm from next season, we anticipate making more silage, hence we need to be on top of pasture surplus throughout spring and that includes ensuring quality silage is made,” says Murray.
Pasture renovation is another area of interest.
“Due to the contour of our farm we have a lot of area we can’t cultivate. We are looking for methods to maximise our sidling’s through fertilizer, grazing management, pasture species and pasture replacement methods”.