The conferences are coming! Theme: Sustainability in a Changing World
|Northland||Monday 24 th June||Barge Showgrounds, Whangarei||click for program|
|Taranaki||Wednesday 26 th June||TET Multisports Centre, Stratford||click for program|
|Waikato||Friday 28 th June||Don Rowlands Centre, Cambridge||click for program|
We have an excellent line up of speakers including Martin Hawes, who is going to speak about investment planning for smaller herd farmers and Steve Gurney, who will talk about motivation and resilience when the going gets tough.
Martin is New Zealand's leading financial adviser and author, seminar presenter and columnist with the Sunday Star Times. He has written 20 books, most of which have appeared on the bestsellers list. He frequently speaks at seminars on financial and business topics, and was presenter of Financial Secrets which screened nightly on TV One. He was also one of the expert presenters on the TV One show "The School of Home Truths" and frequently comments in the news media on topical financial and economic issues.
Steve is an adventurer, inventor and motivation expert. Along with world-wide racing achievements, he has won the Coast to Coast a record 9 times, has an engineering degree, and was awarded the MNZM for services to endurance sport. He has now turned professional, as a motivational speaker and trainer, and has written 2 books, Lucky Legs and Eating Dirt. His talk will contain stories and yarns about his racing and adventures, but will also include research and strategies around success, resilience and mental excellence.
The day costs $70 for levy payers ($120 for non levy payers) and includes great speakers, great food and great conversation!
Register early and you will go in the draw to win a Batt-Latch.
Growing Great Heifers - Taranaki and Waikato
We had very informative days in both Taranaki and Waikato where we learned about how to grow great heifers, an issue which is particularly topical this year when conditions have been less than ideal. Not only did we get to see some great heifers on farm, and hear about how they have been managed, but also Sue Macky (Dairy Production Systems) spoke about the principles behind growing great heifers including:
- Why do I need fully grown first calving two year old heifers?
- How much does it cost to grow heifers poorly (or even just averagely)?
- What sort of a heifer does $8.50 a week for grazing really get you?
- Managing heifers from their return home, to successfully milking them and getting them pregnant again.
- Recovery from drought. Strategies for getting small heifers back on track.
- What is a fully grown heifer?
Ken Winter (CRV) was also present and talked about:
- One size does not fit all.
- Breeding to your ability to feed. Discussing relative breeding selection criteria for different production systems.
- Getting the basics right - breeding decisions.
Once a Day Milking - Manawatu
The visit to Christine Finnigan's farm on 4 th April was well attended, with visitors learning from the collective wisdom of Christine Finnigan, who successfully milks Once a Day on her farm, and Emeritus Professor Colin Holmes, who has spent many years researching the system. They produced an excellent hand out, packed with information about Christine's farm and OAD, to see the hand out click here.
How to achieve 100,000 SCC and less than 10% mastitis - Northland
Over 70 farmers turned out to hear Steve Cranefield outline practical and effective ways to reduce somatic cell counts and mastitis with a focus on the influence of the milking machine on mastitis, plus participate in an excellent question and answer session.
Milksmart Showcase - South Island
We had some excellent feed back from our Milksmart days in the South Island. Developed specifically for smaller herd farmers, they were inspired by the success of the Milksmart sessions at the 2012 SMASH conferences.
People learned tips and fixes to help them:
- Effectively manage cow flow and routines in the dairy.
- Maximise cow flow through races and yards.
- Understand the world from a cow's point of view.
Island Farming - Matakana Island
Everyone had a great day on Matakana Island, Bay of Plenty, on 13 th March. They learned about the challenges that island farming brings and heard about how you can manage your pastures in dry conditions. Chris Glassey (DairyNZ) talked about how to manage pastures so they persist in challenging climates and Terry Harding (Ballance Agri-Nutrients) spoke about making the most of the nutrients you add to your farming system.
Robots and Mastitis - Cambridge
Our trip to the Fishers' farm at Cambridge on March 5 th to look at their robotic milking system was a sell out, with 97 people attending despite the heat and dust! John and Margaret Fisher were the first Waikato dairy farmers to install an automatic milking system on their farm, commissioning 4 robotic units in 2011 to milk their 330 cows. John spoke about their experiences getting the system up and running. Also Adrian Joe (PureMilk) and Mark Blackwell (DairyNZ) talked about how to achieve 100,000 somatic cell count and 10% mastitis, and the release of SmartSAMM, the replacement for the SAMM Plan. Click here to see our notes from the day (thanks to Sue Hasnip for these).
Pasture persistance with tall fescue
There was an excellent turnout at Brian and Bridget Frost's farm, at Tauhei near Morrinsville on 21 st February. Many farmers struggle these days to manage their pastures so that they will survive more than a year or two, Brian and Bridget's solution was to convert their farm to tall fescue. They shared what they have learned and farmers also heard from Errol Thom and Chris Glassey, from DairyNZ, who spoke about how to establish persistent pastures and how tall fescue can fit into existing systems. Read our notes from the day here, Chris's presentation about tall fescue and Errol's pointers on establishing tall fescue.
The Energy Day, on February 12 th at the Don Rowlands Centre, Cambridge, looked at how to produce and save energy on farm. All farmers are conscious of how energy costs subtract significant dollars from their bottom line, but not all know how they can set their dairy up to be energy efficient, and whether the different energy generation technologies are worthwhile.
Stephan Heubeck, from NIWA, spoke about energy generation, including solar, wind and microhydro and research NIWA has carried out on generating energy from effluent, while Jim Miller (an energy consultant to Fonterra), talked about how energy is used in the dairy and how farmers can make operational changes to save energy.
The feedback from this day was extremely positive, here are Stephan and Jim's papers from the day, they make interesting reading!
Offer of help: Jim has offered to help people out with advice about on farm energy efficiency. He is willing to provide free advice for smaller queries (e.g. 15 minutes on the phone or an email response to a query) and to quote for larger consultancy jobs. If you would like to contact Jim his details are: Phone: 021 755 798, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
We have been hard at work organising the calendar of events for 2013. For a run down have a look at December's newsletter and make a note in your diary!
Focus groups meet
The newly formed focus groups from Waikato East, Waikato West and the Bay of Plenty met in September to hear from LIC about some of their technology offerings, and from local accountants, who spoke about the benefits of using BankLink. To read about MINDA Mobile and MINDA Weights click here, and for information about Protrack click here. And click here to see notes about breeding for smaller herds.
Craig Sanders (accountant, Te Awamutu) had some other interesting comments to make:
A child can earn $1500 before tax is deducted
Farmers can claim a fuel rebate for fuel used on farm
Purchases under $50 do not need a receipt
Attendance at conferences, including food, are tax deductible
Farmers traditionally neglect to claim entertainment expenses
Consider the implications of:
Herd Scheme and stock valuations
Income Equalisation - bank with IRD
ACC cover Plus Extra - guaranteed income if an accident happens.
Is hot off the press. Find out about what happened at the conferences, news from the Northland team, how the focus groups are getting on (there could be one starting near you!), some interesting stats from Pitstop's activities and a heartwarming story from farming couple Leanne and Zane Crosby. Click here for a read...
Some more Hot Tips
We have just posted some more hot tips from the conferences onto the SMASH Facebook page. If you would like to take a look click here!
This year's conferences are now complete...
- A new paper from Mel Eden and Josh Wheeler on Milking Smarter not Harder has now been loaded (see below), as well as their paper from the conference, well worth a read to get some great tips on improving your milking routine. You can also have a read of Hayley Moynihan's paper. Keep on checking the website, we will be adding more great content!
- There are some photos from Manawatu on Facebook.
- County99 came along to the Waikato conference here is the clip they filmed.
- If you left your black Yvandong brand vest at the Don Rowlands Centre drop us a line at email@example.com and we can organise its return to you...
Theme: Smarter not Harder
Ideas, inspiration and methods to help you work smarter not harder in your farming business and life in general.
Some papers from the day
Hayley Moynihan from Rabobank examined future trends in the world dairy market in her paper Efficient Market Outlook Assessment.
- Milking Smarter not Harder. Find out how to make improvements to your milking routine and dairy which will make your life easier and your routine flow smoothly next season. Mel Eden and Josh Wheeler will give you practical ideas which you can immediately put into action on your farm. Here is Mel and Josh's paper from the conference, plus some more great ideas for how you can improve your milking procedures.
- Mel and Josh's paper. Milking Smarter not Harder.
- More great hints on how to improve your milking routine. Quick Fixes to Improve Cow Flow.
- Bob McDavitt and Dan Corbett from Metservice looked at the weather and how it will affect your farming operation.
Strategic Planning and Decision Making Workshop
Speakers: Lynaire Ryan, DairyNZ, Joyce Brown, SMASH farmer
Two highly successful workshops (one in the Waikato and one in Northland) have just been held covering strategic planning and decision making. They were an extension of last year's SMASH conference, which included a session on strategic planning, using DairyNZ's QuickPlan. QuickPlan is ideal for starting, or refreshing, plans to achieve what you wish for your life and business. Many people put this essential process into the "too hard basket", or decide it is something they will "do later", the day helped people to get started on this process.
The day also covered decision making matrixes and how to use them to make better decisions and how to create a bucket list.
Standing Off and Feed Pad Field Day - Taranaki, 9th May
The recent field days SMASH held (in association with DairyNZ) in the Waikato were well received. Now we are taking it to Taranaki! The day focusses on:
The planning and design of standing off, feed pads and sheltered facilities.
You will hear about the options from industry experts and farmers, who are using a range of different systems. To find out more click here.
SMASH Northland Once a Day field day/workshop
The Northland workshop on once a day milking (OAD) was a big success with over 100 people attending. The audience found out about successful farms using OAD, and some of the background behind OAD from Colin Holmes, the science of OAD from Claire Phyn, and heard about the experiences of 3 farmers who use OAD. Notes from Prof Colin Holmes and Claire Phyn. To see photos of the day click here. An article about the day was in the Rural News.
Cluster meeting in Morrinsville
Sharemilking agreements were discussed at a recent cluster meeting in Morrinsville. Ciaran Tully, from Federated Farmers, spoke about the different options and the keys to a successful contract. Also people shared their ideas for ways to save 10 minutes a day.
Our third newsletter has just been published. If you would like to find out all about our recent events, plus some handy hints and tips, then click here.
Some more from Allan and Sue Baker - Kiwisense
Those of you who attended the conferences will have heard Allan and Sue speak about how to make a success of personal and work relationships. They have kindly offered us some more helpful insights, which are particularly useful to think about in times of stress e.g. around calving. For example did you know that every couple in New Zealand is able to apply for six fully funded counselling sessions in any one year period? For more about this and other helpful hints see Allan's article.
"A little bit of maintenance can save major breakdowns. Any piece of machinery that does not get regular maintenance will break down in time, usually when under pressure. If the early warnings of a problem are ignored then it will get expensive. Replacing a noisy water pump on a car may cost $300 but ignore it and you will be faced with rebuilding or replacing the whole motor. A relationship isn't any different. The sooner the early warning signs of relationship tension are addressed, the quicker and easier it is to turn it around." Read on....
Feedback from the conferences
The team was delighted to hear that 100% of the conference attendees would recommend attending the conference to other farmers! It makes all the hard work worthwhile. Make sure you get onto our mailing list to hear about future events by filling in the form under Contact Us.
Diversifying into Tourism
Kerry Simpson from Longlands, Matamata spoke recently to a SMASH Special Interest Group about his highly successful farm tourism and function centre, which he developed and runs in partnership with his wife Sylvia. Click here to see how it is done.