The Far North Partner Farm was created earlier this year following the success of the Northland Focus Farm, owned by Alister and Lyn Candy. The Candys made $200,000 more profit, assuming a $6 kg MS milk price, over the three years they were involved in the project.
DairyNZ project manager, Gareth Baynham, is looking forward to the farm building momentum.
“We received really positive feedback and achieved a lot of things on the Candys’ farm. The thought was maybe we could expand this,” says Gareth.
“I think people have been really impressed with how the Candys managed to reduce their costs and that has probably inspired a few people to really get into the budgeting side.
“It’s been great at the Candys’ but Northland is a story of pockets of land and we wanted to demonstrate that you can achieve the same sort of things in other parts of Northland, hence the creation of a partner farm.”
Tony Lunjevich and Briar Lissington are 50:50 sharemilkers on the focus farm which is owned by Tony’s parents, Don and Linda.
Tony is enjoying the process so far and has already achieved some positive results.
“The changes have already been quite dramatic and we've only been going a few months,” says Tony.
“It's going to be our best year yet and that is with the drop in payout. A change in pasture management has been the key driver – we're spending less on supplement but making more milk.”
A management team of Northland farmers have been meeting on the Far North farm monthly over the past six months. They are the ones who drive the decisions, with the approval of Tony.
“It's been great having such an experienced bunch of farmers give advice,” says Tony.
“The farmers on the management committee have such a broad range of knowledge, there is no problem that is too challenging for them.”
Like Lyn and Alister Candy's farm, which is in its final season as a focus farm, the partner farm will provide information and data that can be benchmarked against.
The Far North project will have a specific focus on profit from pasture and farmers will be able to follow its progress through regular email updates and events.
This article was originally published in Inside Dairy December 2014