Andrew Alexander

“SF Pacer seems to be a bit more leafy and palatable than other brands out there on the market at the moment. It’s quicker to establish.”

Farming in a notoriously dry region means that Waipukurau farmer Andrew Alexander is keen on pastures that can hang on in a dry spell and summer crops for his lambs.

He and his wife Gayleen run a 260 hectare sheep and bull beef operation, all finishing and trading stock, on what is predominantly limestone country.

The Alexanders run 1,000 breeding ewes and finish between 1,000 and 1,500 trading lambs. The bull beef operation comprises 200-250 yearling bulls and 50-80 R2 beef heifers.

When they purchased the property they were new to the area and the farm had previously been leased. They embarked on a programme to improve the pastures. “The new grasses and crops are almost tenfold better than the old. The new grasses, in particular the annuals, are huge. The tonnage of dry matter per hectare would be easily three times what the old pastures grew.”

Because of the uncertainty of the summer dry, Andrew likes to get the summer crops for the trade lambs in by Labour Weekend.

They have about 15 hectares planted in SF Pacer leafy turnip, which Andrew says is a safe and easy crop to establish, if done correctly, and works in well with their cropping programme.

“SF Pacer seems to be a bit more leafy and palatable than other brands out there on the market at the moment. It’s quicker to establish and lambs do better on it. They take to it readily.”

They also use annual ryegrasses, with 30-40 hectares in SF Sultan™, as these also work in well with the finishing programme.

“In the autumn I like to mix in, as part of a perennial mix, SF Stellar™ perennial ryegrass and SF Greenly ll new generation cocksfoot. We put in approximately 15 hectares of that a year.”

He is pleased with the results from the SF Stellar™/SF Greenly ll mix and says the cocksfoot in the mix persists well, hanging on better in the summer dry.

“I’m very pleased with the performance of the Seed Force™ products, along with their backup service – they really compliment each other. It’s all very well to sell you the seed, but unless it’s monitored after it’s been established it’s hard to determine how well that crop is doing.

The Seed Force™ guys or the stock and station agent will ring up and check how things are going. Kerry (Davidson) is always out here on the farm looking at the crops.”

“Selling you the seed is only half the job, the backup service is very important, I think. I’ve been rapt with it really.”

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