To tomorrow and beyond

Future-proofing our land takes careful planning, preparation and the ability to adapt. Pamu, a state-owned farming enterprise, is leading the way with sustainable, innovative farm trials.

 

In November Pamu opened up to the public to showcase their work and share best-practice knowledge on Health and Safety.

 

Pamu Open FarmPamu's Eyrewell Dairy Farm openedits gates to more than 100 people for the Tomorrow's Farms event in West Eyreton, North Canterbury on 6th November. Pamu and participantsshared their projects and swapped stories about the day-to-day challenges and opportunities in farming.

Organised by a team from Farmlands, Pamu, Ballance Agri-Nutrients andSynlait, it is hoped the  Tomorrow's Farms Farm Event Day will be rolled out across the country. Pamu Dairy Operations GeneralManager, Mark Julian says they wanted to show change does not have to be stressful.

 


"Canterbury is going to be a hot spot for environmental limits to farming obviously, so one of the big take-home messages was that our Eyrewell Dairy Farm is changing its system to lower nitrogen leaching. We also want to achieve other goals around animal welfare, reducing bobby calves and looking at innovations such as fertigation and using alternative foragers." Eyrewell Farm has traditionally milked 1,000 cows but is downsizing to 600 cows over three years in a bid to reduce nitrogen emissions.

 

Currently at 800 cows with a plan to rear young stock, the farm is already beginning to notice the difference. "The farm has reduced in total milk production but now has dairy and beef as another revenue line coming out of the farm system," Mark says. "By changing that we change from female mixed-age dairy cows to a mixture of young stock being grown out on-farm. We are targeting primarily steers and male animals which have a lower nitrogen footprint in terms of urine."

The farm has also moved to lower nitrogen crops such as Lucerne and has been using fertigation to further reduce total nitrogen. With the irrigation system already delivering water across the farm, using pivots to apply liquid fertiliser also reduces double handling and puts less vehicles on the farm. "We know vehicles are the primary cause of serious harm and fatalities on-farm so we reduce that risk as well," Mark says.

 

Planning is a key aspect of successful Health and Safety practices, as with a plan comes clarity and organisation. Agricultural Leaders' Health and Safety Action Group  General Manager Tony Watson says good farmers are already making safety part of everyday business. "Productivity and safety go hand-inhand. When things are well organised and run smoothly, people are less likely to be rushing around fixing things which can lead to mistakes and fatigue," Tony says.

For Pamu, having their neighbours andthe wider community onto their land allows perspectives to widen and has a flow-on effect to other on-farm plans. "Change is always going to be there no matter what and we've got to look forward with positivity and innovation. Farmers are natural innovators and the innovative farmers are ahead of research, they're ahead of the industry and they're ahead of government in terms of how land use is going to build into the future," Mark says.

For more information on Pamu see www.pamunewzealand.com.