B+LNZ Demonstration Farm conference3

Farmers set the bar even higher

Can high quality forage be grown on uncultivatable hill country? Hamish and Annabel Craw join the Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) Demonstration Farm Programme with a new project to find out.

AbacusBio was contracted to facilitate the annual B+LNZ Demonstration Farm conference at Dunedin’s Toitū Otago Settlers Museum in July.

The conference brought together 18 farming enterprises, in addition to the B+LNZ extension manager’s team, representing 11 demonstration farm projects.

Four projects are drawing to a close after three years in the programme. The addition of the Craws’ project brings the current number of demonstration farm projects to seven.

The Craws farm 422 hectares on Banks Peninsula, and are looking to find a reliable way of establishing and maintaining high quality legume-based pasture on improved uncultivatable hill country.

They aim to improve average pasture growth from 5 to 8tDM/ha/year and feed quality from 10 to 11ME.

The project should increase stock performance (tailing %) and amount of product produced (% lambs drafted at weaning and lamb carcase weight).

The two-day conference brought together like-minded farmers, with each demonstration farm team presenting an overview of their project.

Breakout sessions focused on project management, farmers’ experiences, and key learning points. In addition, a mix of guest speakers covered topics on farm systems, new technologies, and international markets.

The B+LNZ Demonstration Farm Programme was established in 2011 to improve science and technology adoption within the sheep and beef sector.

This is the second year that AbacusBio has organised the conference on behalf of B+LNZ. Feedback was consistently positive, with participants commenting that they “met some really good people that are doing great things” and “it keeps getting better every year”.

Expressions of interest open early in the new year for farmers who want to identify tools and practices that will result in real financial improvements.

More details can be found at: http://www.beeflambnz.com