A midlife crisis and the desire for a new challenge were the catalysts for Nathan and Rosie Hughes’ switch to smaller herd dairy farming three years ago.
The organisers are in the final stages of planning the one-day event, says SMASH chairman Noldy Rust.
“The programme has come together well, with heaps of opportunities for learning something new, whether from our excellent speakers or from other farmers.
“The SMASH concept has been hugely successful in bringing people together to network, share and learn… a break from our busy schedules… fun, learning, sharing and last but not least, eating.”
The day, with the theme ‘Farming with Vision’, begins with a different opening speaker in each location: John Roche, DairyNZ, in Northland; Danny Donaghue, Massey University, in Taranaki; and Jason Minkhorst, Fonterra, in Cambridge.
Peter Kemp, Massey University, will speak about research at Massey’s No.1 dairy farm. This farm is trialling a variety of methods for increasing profitability without degrading the environment.
Sarah Dirks, DairyNZ, will look at heifer management and how to get the best out of off farm grazing. She will lead a local farmer panel discussing the impact of undergrown young stock, local challenges and management to grow animals well.
Marloes Levelink, an expert at reading cow behavioural signs, will show attendees how to interpret what cow signs mean so they can improve their stock sense, and increase cow longevity and productivity.
The day will end with a session by Country Calendar presenter Frank Torley.
The SMASH conferences will be held in Whangarei, Stratford and Cambridge on June 15, 17 and 19 respectively. www.smallerherds.co.nz.