Thursday, January 20, 2011

Wednesday, January 19

The group started the day with a picture at the 45th parallel south. 45th north runs through South Dakota.

They then visited the Rollinson Farm, dairy owned by Ted and Sue Rollinson. It includes 1,000 acres and 1,300 cow dairy with Friesen/Jersey crossbred cows. They utilize a 70-cow rotary on concrete platform for milking. A rainer irrigation system delivers water to fields. They successfully utilize a sharemilker, Tom, who owns cows and is employed for his labor. Ted and Tom know their cost of production and are good businessmen in how they use their resourses.
 The group spent the evening at a reception and dinner with the New Zealand Ag leadership current class. Following dinner they heard from Jim Sutton, former New Zealand Minister of Ag.

A free day is planned Friday in Christchurch. They will depart NZ Friday at 11:00pm (4:00 a.m. Friday morning CST) and arrive Sioux Falls at 11:00 pm Friday night.
Grant (Guide), Ted (Dairy Owner) at lunch with Bonnie Dybedahl
in Rollinson Garden

At the 45th Parallel South
With New Zealand Leadership class
 Lincoln University Libarary
Merrill Karlen, Gary Cammack, Tom (sharemilker)

Intensive Grazing
Ted Rollinson, Terry & Sandi Jaspers

At Rollinson Dairy
At Rollinson Dairy

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Wed. Jan. 19 Visit to Mt. Cook

The group spent Tuesday night at The Hermitage Hotel at Arangi Mount Cook Village. Wednesday morning was free time with some opting for a boat ride on the glacier lake to view Mt. Cook; some took a three-hour hike to see the mountain, while others relaxed. They traveled down Waitaki Valley to the town of Oamaru in the afternoon.

Suspension Bridge

Boat Ride

Walking to the Boat Ride

Ice Glacier
Unloading the Boats
Mountain at base of Mt. Cook
Mt. Cook
Lake enroute to Mt. Cook
Glacier Ice

Hermitage Hotel

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Monday, January 17 - David Ward Radfield Farm Visit

The group had another fantastic farm visit at the David Ward Radfield farm, 1,000 acres on the south Island near Ashburton. The soils are medium to light.
David says that although soil is a fixed resource, how it is treated can greatly alter its characteristics, mainly by altering the structure of the soil and its water holding capacity.

Rainfall is 26 inches /year. The main way he alters the climatic effects are by irrigation and shelter.

According to David, the farm can only operate within the management ability of the owner, unless the owner recognizes a limitation and either brings in management , or advice and assistance from research, technical, and consultants, but even this is dependent on the ability of the owner to correctly interpret the results

Irrigation from thre bores with two 1,530 ft lateral irrigators, two Roto Rainers and two Briggs Linears. They raise 800 weaner red deer and 14,000 lambs. They mill wheat, feed wheat, feed barley, maize, processed peas, ryegrass, cocksfood, white clover, carrots, radish, beets, marrowfat peas (Asian market) and sweet corn.

David says he has no problem with organic, but they can’t feed the world; farmers must be open minded. He says we will always be able to feed the world based on technology. He believes in no-till farming. He buys equipment after first owner goes bust. He doesn’t have much money tied up in stuff. It’s your personal choice how you do your business. He likes the risks & rewards of growing premium crops. He is not a fan of over fertilization.

Rabbits and possums are still problems.

Farm Truck that can Dry Grain

David Ward in Carrot Seed Field

Grant McFadden (left) Guide & David Ward, right

Group at David Ward Farm Tour

Lateral Irrigator

Loading Grain

Marrowfat Peas

Roto Rainer

Group listening to South Dakota's Secretary of Ag, Walt Bones

Monday, January 17, 2011

Sunday - Gallagher Animal Mgmt. & PGG Farm Supply

The group had a great visit to Gallagher Animal Management World Headquarters. They toured all production units before morning tea. They toured PGG Farm Supply, one of the three largest farm supply stores in all of New Zealand. Discussion about the Maori culture over lunch with elders who are large farmers in New Zealand.

Eight members of the group checked in for their return flight to LAX. Twenty-one flew on to Christchurch on New Zealand's south island and will be meeting Grant McFadden again, their guide for the final five days of the trip.
Maori greeting at Tainui

Randy Wirt and Bill Slovek at
Gallagher World Headquarters

Portable Bunk at Farm Supply Store
Lunch with Farm Managers

Managers at Farm Supply Store

George with servers

Beck Farm Visit Report (Saturday, Jan. 15)

Super nice visit to Beck family farm in high country near Taumarunui on New Zeland's north island. The visit was hosted by John & Ailsa Beck and their son, Roger, and his family and daughter and her family, as well as several friends and neighbors.

We started with lunch of sheep meat and beef and all the trimmings. We then loaded on back of pickups for high country ranch tour of sheep, cattle and native forest (see pictures in separate post).

The Beck farm has 4,600 sheep mainly Romney, 160 cattle mainly Red Stabilizers, and 150 dairy heifers.
John and son Roger and family provide all the labor. Production 140% lamb crop and 100% calf crop.

This was the most scenic farm we have seen thus far. John and Ailsa have visited SD and stayed with Cammack’s and Gee’s. John was wondering why Cole Briggs was not on the trip.

Report by Dan Gee

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Report from Pohuetal Farms Visit

Pohuetal Farms is near Dannevirke NZ. The manager is John Held.

Pohuetal Farms is 6,500 acres with over 13,500 sheep, 3,500 finishing lambs, 2,300 young ewes and 2,000 cattle either red angus or Red Stabilizers. They are using a bull that Bill Slovek produced on his ranch near Philip, S.D.
They use Leachman genetics. Also finish Friesian bulls for processing beef.This operation is run much like our research stations with a lot of research conducted here including taste tests on lambs fed various forage diets as many of the lamb carcasses are shipped to UK.

They have a contract with McDonalds, which uses their beef. Cattle are priced/contracted two years in advance.

My favorite saying from John is “ The knob way over there is somewhere near our boundary”.

Beck Farm Visit (Saturday, Jan. 15)

Standing in the Beck Forest
Lunch with Hosts, John and Roger Beck

Dan & Rae Jean Gee with Ailsa and John Beck

Beck Farm Hosts

Ladies (and Bill Slovek) on Beck Farm tour

More Home Stay Reports for Friday night, January 14, 2011

Jaspers and Davis's Home Stay

Terry and Sandi Jaspers and Glen and Janet Davis stayed at the home of Charles and Jill Simpson. Charles and Jill are pretty much retired from the day-to-day operations of the farming enterprise, but are very active in the financing and overall operation of both of their sons' farming endeavors.The main operation involves fattening sheep from their 3,000 head ewe herd in addition to purchased sheep. They run an intensive fattening program based on grass, chicory and turnips. They are getting gains equivalent to feedlots. Charles and Jill were excellent hosts and we enjoyed conversations around government, health care, horse racing and other topics regarding New Zealand life. We especially enjoyed conversations regarding other guests they have entertained. As they are avid horse racing fans Terry and Sandi were able to see them at the races in Palmerston North the next day. This was an exceptional farm stay visit!

Reported by Glen Davis

Walt & Jan Bones'  Home Stay

Jan and Walt stayed with Howard and Marice McGrath. They are semi retired and have a small farm (220 hectares) in a very interesting and unique part of NZ. It is so unique that there is only one other place in the world (Argentina) that has a similar geological formation. There is a place on their property that has 14 different terraces or layers of old river bed that can be found. It is really beautiful country and they are very proud of their farm.

They raise some holstein bulls on grass starting them at 300 kg (650 pounds) and raising them to fattening weight, which is at about 550 kg. This whole grass fed thing is really interesting and works well for them. It would be nice to have grass 12 months out of the year that we can use. Obviously, that will not work for us but that is what diversity in agriculture is all about. It is still amazing that these animals (here and there) can take grass, corn stover, hay or whatever we have that they will eat and make it into a product that humans can get nourishment out of.

Reported by Walt Bones

Phillips and Karlens' Home Stay

Scott and Paula Phillips and Merrill and Karen Karlen stayed at the home of Jack and Carolyn Brice. Jack had an intensively managed sheep and cattle grazing operation using nine systems.

He was very proud to show us how the system worked. With from help from Paula, he moved some of the electric fences while we watched.

We also helped pen one "mob" of sheep that were going to market the following day.

Jack had purchased some heifers at the local market that day and they were delivered just prior to our arrival. He specializes in heavy feeder cattle and grazes them to finish weight.

Jack shared a couple of "close out" sheets with us showing that on one system (pasture) he had a gross income of $3,327 per hectare for grazing cattle.

We enjoyed a good dinner and visited until late at night about many things that we have in common even though we are on the other side of the world.

Howard is an expert on all the various types of trees and actually travels around the world looking at trees. He knew the scientific name for all the beautiful trees in their garden. Marice was the gardener and she will be hosting a garden society meeting at their place in a couple of weeks. The stay was wonderful and the hospitality was excellent.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Saturday, January 15

Note: Group is 19 hours ahead of CST.

Today we arrived at 9:30 a.m. from our overnight farm stays. Everyone had a great time and found the stays very interesting. See the blogs from some homestays (already posted). From there we traveled to the Waitatapia Station Ltd. located six miles west of Bulls. The farm is owned and managed by brothers Hew and Roger Dalrymple and consists of corn, wheat, squash, oats, and kale production. They are involved in lamb and beef trading by contracting 4,000 head of beef cattle and marketing 67,000 lambs last year. They also have 1,000 acres of forest land and run sixteen center pivots for irrigation. Corn is grown for silage, earlage and grain production for the local markets, wheat is grown to supply the dairy industry, and squash is grown to export to Japan and Korea.

Hew and Roger utilized high levels of technology in their farming operations. As Hew indicated “We want to be smarter than them at all times” when referring to government conservation officials. They have adopted land contouring techniques to optimize soil depth levels over an entire field providing uniform moisture levels and increasing overall yield potential. They are the first in New Zealand to use this technique. Variable rate irrigation with each nozzle being controlled to optimize water application and extensively mapping fields is also part of their cropping management. All of their management decisions are extensively researched. They have purchased a wide range of farm machinery from the U.S. including CASE IH combines and 4-wheel drive tractors and Great Plains seeders from Fargo, ND. After harvest of the main crops, grass is planted for winter grazing. This was an outstanding farm visit.

Steve Pohl

Farmstay (Pohls, Lola Roseth, Linda Smith)
Judy Bonner, the hostess of our farmstay was a very gracious and hospitable lady. She was a “spicy” gal who had been widowed and recently found a soulmate, Stuart, again. Judy and her husband had been sheep farmers with three sons, one of whom was now living close by and farming for her. He was also, as she said many New Zealanders were, supplementing his income. In this case, going high up into the mountains and shepherding for others.

In our visiting we found Judy and Stuart felt New Zealand had many of the same issues as we have in our country – animal rights activists; retirement benefits; health care, the reclaiming of land by Maori tribes and the effects of this on the country’s finances.

Before heading back to meet the rest of our group, we left the beautiful gardens of Judy’s home and drove up the road to the top of a hill overlooking her home and land with beautiful mountains in the background. Can’t get much closer to heaven than this!

Lola Roseth, Linda Smith, Steve and Kathy Pohl

More Photos

Lunch at  Pohuetal Farms

Merrill Karlen, Walt Bones with Guide

Group at Mision Winery on Thursday

Friesen Cattle - Destination: McDonald's


Hugh at Waitatopia station
with from left: Stephen Pohl, Glen Davis, Bill Slovek