2009 1119nov090008

Hill country needs investment

More investment is needed to improve hill country productivity, AbacusBio consultant Peter Fennessy says.

Speaking at a recent hill country symposium, Peter says a strategy is needed to guide investment decisions and drive innovation in the sector.

The symposium, which was the first event held in 30 years, acknowledged the five million hectares used for hill country farming provides a key platform for red meat breeding that would increasingly be needed for finishing stock.

Conference speakers all share a similar message, that is there is a lack of new science specific to hill and high country farming systems, especially given the fact that more than three-quarters of New Zealand’s lamb and beef calves originated from hill country breeding properties.

“Having said that, the symposium was a good opportunity to bring together farmers, rural communities, professionals, and scientists with a combined focus on setting direction for the future of hill country farming.

There are many innovative approaches and technological developments available that would help support a highly productive and profitable farming sector.

The key here is for producers to actually see for themselves how integrating innovation in their farms would reap benefits, and subsequently the innovation or new technology must be simple to understand and simple to implement at the farm level, Peter says.

“Essentially, the innovation must be readily scalable and easily transferable.”

Peter believes that the people in hill country farming tend to be good passionate people, and their resilience has enabled them to already do much better today than 30 years ago.

“The vision for the next 30 years is that the sector will have worked together to make collective decisions in adopting new innovation and technologies to ensure hill country is effectively and profitably farmed.”

This article was adapted from the NZ Farmers Weekly issue 9 May 2016 here