Home' Otago Southland Farmer : April 5th 2013 Contents 5.4.13 Farmer
- Muesli Mix
- Economy Calf
- Weaner Calf - Hi Protein Calf
- Denkavit Plus CMR
- Pellets/Meals - Rolled Barley
- Bulk Molasses - PK
Power Harrowing & Drill Combination
Precision seeding / fodder beet & maize
Baling & Wrapping, Tube Wrapping
Grain Harvesting & Drying
McClintock Contracting Ltd, Riversdale
Russell 03 202 5703 or 027 432 8505
McClintock Contracting Ltd
Dairy conversions & maintenance
Advertising Feature Not all about money
By JENNA VAN DER HOORN
The non-economic benefits are not
often considered when beef and
sheep farmers make the decision to
convert their farms to dairy.
The productivity is greater, the output is
greater and therefore, the income is
greater. However, there are also non-
economic benefits that are causing farmers
to make the change -- and were the main
reasons for farmers converting in the past.
Swiss academic Jeremie Forney spent 18
months doing postdoctoral research into
the non-economic motivators that made
families in Southland convert their sheep
and beef farms. This involved interviewing
23 farmers who had converted, in 31 two
From the in-depth study, it was determined
that the two main non-economic driving
factors in dairy conversions were farm
succession and recognition of good
Long term survival and farm succession
were main factors because farmers wanted
opportunities for the next generation of
their family, and this was not seen as a
feasible option by remaining in sheep and
High land prices due to the potential
inherent in dairy made farm succession
difficult on a sheep farm, and keeping the
farm a family business was an important
value to most farmers.
By converting to dairy, it also allowed more
job opportunities for family members who
may choose to work on the farm -- keeping
to the motto of it being a real family
Beef and sheep farmers also felt there was
not enough recognition of good farming in
their sector. They wanted to be able to
demonstrate their skills through good
performance and be rewarded for it.
Farmers felt limited, and dairying offered
the farmer rewards for their effort and
performance, as well as leaving behind the
conflict from meat companies in sheep and
And finally, even though both types of
farming involved the growing of grass,
farmers felt growing grass for dairy was
more science based opposed to sheep
farming where they felt it was mainly
intuitive knowledge and 'family recipe'
Through the dairy system, they were able
to rely on technology and science with
scheduling and measurements, and were
provided regular feedback to adjust their
So even though economic benefits are very
important when making a conversion from
sheep and beef to dairy, the non-economic
factors are also just as important, and just
as beneficial to the farmer, their workers
and their family.
Dairy Advisor to help farmers
Russell Winter has spent considerable years involved in
dairying, yet hasn't milked a cow in this time.
My aim is to get them the best system for
them at the best price and ensure they get
value for money for their investment." ---
Environment Southland Dairy Advisor Russell
Russell works for Environment Southland in a
Dairy Advisory role but his years with the
Council date back to 1965. In later years, he
began working with dairy effluent related matters for
the council before stepping into the new position of
Dairy Advisor. This position, created in response to
the increasing conversion of farms to dairying and a
rise in dairy farms' non-compliance for dairy effluent
discharge, has been Russell's since its creation, and it
has seen him meet literally hundreds of dairy farmers
across Southland, and visit untold farms as he helped
deal with a range of matters.
Russell is the guy in the know, and he should be the
first port of call for anyone considering converting to
dairying, needing to renew their current consents or
for advice on anything from effluent storage to staff
training. Nothing's a problem for Russell, and he
knows Southland like the back of his hand.
His main role now is to help achieve higher rates of
environmental compliance from dairy farmers and
workers by working alongside them. Not only does
the Dairy Advisor help farmers through the
environmental requirements of the conversion
process, he also assists with trouble shooting
problems occurring in existing effluent disposal
"I can give the farmers information that is relevant to
their property, which can make the consent renewal
process simpler and faster," Russell said. "Things have
changed since some of those first consents were
given, including different methods of effluent
storage and disposal."
For Russell the key to converting or to renewing a
consent is for the farmer to get good advice and get
it early. With a number of consents up for renewal in
the next few years, and Russell is keen to talk to
farmers early on in the process.
This phone call early on could save many hours and
headaches when it comes to converting or consents.
"My aim is to get them the best system for them at
the best price and ensure they get value for money
for their investment."
This might include taking them to see different
storage devices at various sites, although soil
structure, location, climate will all play a huge part in
any decision making, with some places, environmen-
tally, very sensitive.
"I can also talk about the pros and cons of
conversions if someone is thinking of moving to
Russell brings a wealth of expertise to the role, is well
respected in the dairy farming community and has
enabled a closer working relationship between
people in the industry and Environment Southland.
Because of this, Russell can help to make contacts
with certified suppliers for those needing more
While the number of dairy conversions have rapidly
diminished from the 'wildfire' effect of those early
years when dairying began its hold in the south,
there are still some coming through.
"My advice to anyone working on consents either
new or renewal, is to come and talk to me," Russell
"I will come out to the farm, and work with them.
Effluent is now worth money and now there are
animal health issues involved with its dispersal, ao it
is important to get everything right."
"This advice is free -- and helps to avoid hazards,
dangers and issues down the track. I see myself and
this role as the ambulance at the top of the cliff
rather than the one at the bottom."
"We are all here to achieve a good outcome
financially and environmentally."
"Although sometimes it's not easy."
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