Josh’s Comment – HB Monitor Farm

Beef and Lamb New Zealand’s Monitor Farm programs started in 1991 with the aim to help farmers plan for success by way of bringing together a community group and focusing on a selected farming business. Hawke’s Bay’s newest and only monitor farm is Te Hau, owned and operated by Patrick and Isabelle Crawshaw.

The first day, held in February, was widely attended and brought together some passionate and key community members from all over the East Coast. The group put forward some key ideas for areas of focus and established a well rounded committee with local bull beef farmer Robert Pattullo appointed as Chairperson.

The group discussion sessions had a holistic approach on what the key take home messages from the program could be. In particular, there was a real emphasis on what is needed to progress the farming business from where it is today, to where it needs to be to meet the set performance targets of the proposed model, e.g. stock classes, pasture covers and feed quality. One area of particular interest from the community group was maintaining high levels of profitability while meeting all environmental sustainability targets, to ensure best practice stewardship of the land is upheld.

Overall we think that the first day went very well and some important areas of focus were set. The program will most definitely be a success and farmers will have a lot to take back and implement in their own systems.

The second community day two took place on the 23rd of May and was an excellent opportunity for everyone involved to take a closer look into the areas of key interest in the program. In particular we found the discussions around the environmental factors of the farm very interesting and valuable.

The key take home message we found was that it is best to be proactive about sustainable farming and make sure that you record the good things that are being done on your farm. New environmental legislations are coming and it’s best to be ahead of the game.

It was excellent to see John Cannon’s presentation of the Farmax model. It really showed how useful the program can be, especially in the early stages of a farming business to help figure out what stock classes are going to be most effective.

The third community day is looking to be set towards the end of July. For more information on the Hawke’s Bay Monitor Farm program, click HERE.