A field day introducing the new farm and the goals of the project will be held on the Ngatea farm of Megan and Michael Webster on July 9.
The focus farm project, supported by DairyNZ, was set up by a committee of farmers in 2011 to demonstrate the profitability gains possible on a typical Hauraki Plains dairy farm.
The committee, known as P3 Trust, selected Michael and Megan Webster's farm in Ngatea as the new focus farm, having concluded the project's first phase on Angus and Karen MacInneses' property in Waitakaruru.
The Websters are excited about being involved in the project for the next three years.
"It is an opportunity to fulfil our potential and really try and strive to be the best we can be," says Megan. "This is a great opportunity to challenge ourselves and step out of our comfort zone."
The couple are equity partners in the 217ha farm where they will milk 640 cows this season and employ two staff. They have already benefited from some of the advice on offer.
"Other farmers have actually been really positive and offering to help out. We've had a few farmers from the focus farm committee step up and mentor us. By just doing the farm walks with them, we've learnt so much in just that short period of time," says Michael.
The Websters followed the progress of the MacInneses and their son Matthew MacInnes by attending field days on the property and receiving regular email updates.
"We've been really impressed with their improvements, it has actually been quite amazing to watch," says Megan.
First focus farm concluded
The P3 Trust held a final field day on the MacInneses' farm at the end of May where a summary of the project was provided.
DairyNZ consulting officer Fiona Wade, says during the last three years the MacInneses have met or made progress on a range of goals resulting in an increase in profit and achieving family goals for succession.
"A strong focus of the MacInnes family and the P3 trust has been to increase profit," says Fiona. To achieve this the MacInnes family and the management team focused on getting the basics of pasture management right, improved reproductive performance, increased strategic nitrogen use, forward contracting of supplementary feed to have a lower purchase price/kgME and overall improved cost control," says Fiona.
At the beginning of the project, the farm profit was $1298/ha. At the same milk price of $6.50/kgMS, profit in 2013/14 would be $2898/ha.
The project on the new farm will be officially launched at the beginning of July - until then a baseline is being established and opportunities for improvements identified.
To receive focus farm updates contact Fiona Wade at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Field day details
Megan and Michael Webster's farm11am, Wednesday, July 9
DairyNZ communications and marketing advisor
021 703 068