SMASH: Run by dairy farmers for dairy farmers

SMASH has been set up to help dairy farmers, particularly those with smaller operations, to run successful businesses. We mainly achieve this by running events throughout New Zealand. These give farmers the opportunity to gain knowledge and skills which will stand them in good stead back on their own farms.

We also want to foster a supportive farming community – we are all in it together! SMASH is run by a group of New Zealand dairy farmers with a passion for the industry and for helping to build a strong and sustainable future for dairy farming. Read more

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Recently, we checked in with Graham Smith for a round up of his season on (and off) farm at Korakonui, he had plenty to talk about!Hi all.A bit to report back on seeing it has been so long since my last blog.The season ended on the 24th May with production slightly down on last year, less than 1%. The cows did 350 kg milksolids which I am happy with in this OAD world. Lance was always going to struggle to better last season due to the high empty rate (19%) last season. I bought in some cows to keep numbers up, but they were of low quality and held the herd back. Out of 15 only four remain in the herd, and this also meant it impacted on culls for this year with us not digging as deep as we would have liked into the lower producers. Still, we managed to remove poor uddered cows and those with high cell counts. On the plus side the empty rate was reduced to 9%. Grass growth was good throughout the season with regular summer rain to boost it along. The days were warm otherwise and this ensured sunshine hours. This growth reflected in us getting 3 cuts of silage into a bulging pit, and then two cuts into bales. We could have got a sixth cut off the lucerne but decided to feed it off to the young stock. All the lucerne bales made were used to supplement the cows through the late part of the season and helped to extend the round early. We ran a 36-day round through early summer and extended this to 70 days in April and May. Late May they were on 106 days until dry off. There is still silage in the pit, and we have 50 bales to get us through winter. Due to the good season the cows are in ready to calve condition now.The cows were shifted onto the lease block early June, and we hope to hold them there until calving. The plan is to draft them as they spring and return them to the home farm.Our veterinary adviser was pleased we only need to treat 15% of the herd with dry cow and the rest only needed Teatseal. We did Teatseal the treated cows as well. The heifers were also Teatsealed.I talked about the purchase of a neighbouring piece of land. It is now a full year since we agreed to buy, and I am still not the legal owner. It is small wonder that this country is going backwards when paperwork and who knows what other problems seem to appear and create costs and delay. There have been monthly bills to facilitate this land transfer, and everyone seems better off except me, the producer!! Finally, our purchase of the camper has already given us good adventures. We did a three-week trip to the South Island venturing down the West Coast and then back through Otago and Canterbury. In the middle of this trip, we did a 4 x 4 organised trip while we left the camper with friends. We also visited friends along the way and made some new ones. We have learned a lot from this trip and are already planning our next excursions.As you know I sell timber planks from milling my Paulownia. I also sell sapling Paulownia around the country. I have recently contracted ArborGen to propagate small, rooted trees for me to grow on. This enables a quicker response to orders and allows me to select from my best trees. One order was from the Far North, and I delivered these and negotiated to stay on the delivery farm in our camper and do a spot of fishing. I managed to avoid one frost, caught some fish and took the chance to make new friends and have a look around. Trees have been good to me and have allowed Tess and I to enjoy new vistas.May you all have a successful season and enjoy your farming year, I intend to! ... See MoreSee Less
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We were lucky to have some nice weather for our visit to Lindy and Michael Bennett's farm where we heard all about calf rearing. Thanks for hosting us guys! The notes from the day are now up on our website: www.smallerherds.co.nz/knowledge-hub/calves/calf-rearing-on-lindy-and-michael-bennetts-farm/And you can also read Emma Cuttance's notes about the correct use of colostrum (we heard some pretty entertaining stories about what has accidentally ended up in people's colostrum buckets in the past 😲):www.smallerherds.co.nz/knowledge-hub/calves/failure-of-passive-transfer-in-calves/ ... See MoreSee Less
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Here are the notes from our Pita Alexander seminars if you were unable to come along. They are also up on our website. Enjoy! ... See MoreSee Less
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Thanks for the event mention Andrew. Would have been even better with sound 😉. ... See MoreSee Less
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We’ve had a great series of seminars this week with Pita Alexander in Manawatu, Te Awamutu and Te Aroha. His knowledge and one liners are educational and right on the money. Will post his notes onto the website shortly for those who couldn’t attend. ... See MoreSee Less
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Our Farmers

Keith and Tracey

Smaller herd works for couple

“You are never too old to learn, attending SMASH events, industry and bank days keeps you well-informed and up-to-date. It is great to get off farm to see how other people run their farms.”

Cam

Always learning something new

“I think some people are shy to walk into an event on their own. The way I think about it is if you go to an event and learn one thing, quite often that thing will make you a lot better farmer. There are a lot of practical ideas you can pick up.”

Paul and Abby

Winning shift to the West Coast

“I love the fact that it is much more family-orientated, that is much more sustainable from a people perspective. My kids will grow up like I did, getting out on the farm, helping Dad in the shed. Ultimately, that is where the next generation of farmers comes from. I think we have done well to attract people from the urban setting, but I don’t think that is sustainable. You have to have environments where you can bring up families and that is one of the big benefits of small herds.”

Peter

SMASH supporter from the start

“SMASH events are more relevant for smaller herds farmers, you don’t feel out of place as you are not among the big corporates. It’s good to have small events like SMASH. I would encourage anyone to go to a SMASH event if they get a chance. I enjoy the interaction with the people afterwards as much as the topics.”

Nathan and Rosie

Career switch to smaller herd pays off

“We like the SMASH events so much because they are at a good level, they are deep enough to be worthy of going, and practical enough that we can use them in everyday life. Getting off the farm to go to an event is like a holiday! We feel so refreshed afterwards, it’s like we have been away for ever!”

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