Technical advice leads to growing new cultivars in trading operation
Arron Grant, Farm Manager of Carnoustie Farm, loves working outdoors. Having grown up on a farm, Arron wanted his own children to experience rural life so he returned to farming when he had a family.
Located 15 kilometres northeast of Taupō, Carnoustie Farm is a 370 hectare (ha) effective trading block with approximately 2,450 units of dry stock on-farm over winter.
“We trade approximately 10,000 lambs a year and run a variety of dry stock including weaner bulls up to yearlings and Angus beef cows which are currently in-calf. We have breeding stock to ensure the supply of lambs and youngstock. The breeding ewes are used to keep the pastures in good condition for the younger animals coming through,” explains Arron.
To feed the stock in winter, Arron grows a Sovereign kale and Ecotain Environmental Plantain mix as well as oats. In spring and summer, the lambs are fed a chicory and plantain clover mix along with Shogun ryegrass.
Arron says conditions on-farm are generally good during the growing season so long as no extreme weather is experienced. The harsher conditions are experienced in winter and summer; summer brings dry conditions while winter brings the cold as the farm is elevated. Pumice soils, according to Arron are, “good in winter as we do not have to contend with mud, while in summer the soil dries out quickly which can make growing crops difficult.”
Having been a customer of the PGG Wrightson Taupō store for 17 years, Arron knows the team well. The store team is led by Store Manager David Gash and Arron receives on-farm advice and recommendations from Technical Field Representative Darryl Jones.
“Darryl monitors our crops”, says Arron. “Should anything need attention he’ll let us know quickly and provide a recommendation.”
“We’ve always received a good service from the Taupō store team. If we need product, it is always delivered in a timely fashion. Darryl and the store work hand in hand; if Darryl comes on-farm and suggests a product, the store will organise it. This is a big help to us.”
The support of the store team and Darryl is appreciated particularly at challenging times of the year as Arron explains. “In the past, we have experienced a shortage of seed for sowing winter crops. At these times, the store team and Darryl have worked hard to source some for us. As there is a short window for sowing, there is pressure around finding a suitable variety in time and the team understands this. If one option is not available, Darryl will find a suitable alternative.”
The level of technical advice offered by Darryl has allowed Arron to try different cultivars. “Darryl’s good at suggesting different grasses as they become available. Last year, for example, we changed from Prospect to Legion. We have a unique climate here, so what works elsewhere may not work here and we are constantly looking to improve our yields.”
TYPE: Trading block
SIZE: 370 ha effective with 85 ha in pines
STOCK: 150 youngstock, 150 weaner Friesian bulls, 70 R2 beef heifers, 100 R2 beef steers, 120 mixed aged Angus cows in-calf, 470 ewes in lamb and 1,500 trading lambs mixed sex
CROPS: Kale, oats, ryegrass, clover, chicory and Ecotain Environmental Plantain
OWNERS: H S and A C McCallum