Sunday, January 16, 2011

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.