The NZ agriculture sector is more than just a job for CRV Ambreed’s new managing director James Smallwood.
CRV Ambreed has joined Westland Milk Products and DairyNZ to become the third major sponsor of the West Coast Focus Farm Trust's monitor farm programme.
CRV Ambreed's West Coast regional manager Helen Lash says the Coast is an important region for New Zealand's milk production which has its own set of unique challenges.
"Along the Coast there are a range of different farming conditions and microclimates which create a unique environment for dairy farmers and challenges that are exclusive to our region. This is why the Trust's monitor farm programme is so essential," saysLash.
She said CRV Ambreed will donate 1500 straws of semen which the Trust will tender to West Coast dairy farmers in March and April every year.
She says the market value of the semen is $27,750, but more money could be earned for the Trust if the region's farmers really get behind the tender.
"Dairy farmers are very good at supporting initiatives that benefit the industry, and we are asking them to put their best price forward because 100% of the money earned goes to the Trust. It then comes back to the Coast's dairy farmers through extension from the research and information gathered by the Trust," said Lash.
She said the sponsored semen would be tendered in 50 and 100-straw parcels made up of five nominated bulls of the farmers choice from the company's high ranking Holstein-Friesian and Jersey sires, or its crossbred bulls.
"This is a great opportunity for the Coast's farmers to select genetics that will provide the traits and gains they want to see in their cows in future while at the same time supporting the monitor farm programme."
Tenders are currently open to West Coast dairy farmers through Westland Milk Product's supplier website portal. Tenders close at 3pm, April 20 and successful tenderers will be notified by April 30.
The West Coast Focus Farm Trust's monitor farm programme began nine years ago in 2005 with one farm.
Today four farms along the coast from the Buller region to Hokitika provide essential information on pasture production characteristics of different West Coast dairy farming districts.
The farmers involved in the programme are Cheryl Gallagher (Westport), Andrew Mirfin (Ikamatua), Andrew Robb (Greymouth) and Tane and Rachel Little (Kowhitirangi).
The trust's one full-time employee Gwen Gardener walks the farms' paddocks each week to gather pasture growth information which is then analysed and interpreted by DairyNZ.
The results are then shared on a weekly basis via email so that West Coast dairy farmers can use it for pasture management planning and decision making, for example annual feed budgeting and farm system setup such as calving dates and stocking rates. The information is also shared with farmers at fieldays on the focus farm properties and extending the results at discussion groups.
West Coast Focus Farm Trust chair Nathan Keoghan says the trust was greatly appreciative of CRV Ambreed's support and pleased to see the company getting behind West Coast dairy farmers.
"This programme wouldn't be possible without our sponsors who understand that we are in a unique position on the Coast. The value of the programme's research to dairy farmers in our region is incredibly important for creating changes on farms with regard to improving profitability through better pasture utilisation. This is enhanced by pasture monitoring and management. We sincerely hope this is a long and fruitful relationship," says Keoghan.