Andrew and Natalie Morris
“That cocksfoot is a magic plant. I’m quite impressed with it, it gives us so much more bulk in feed. The grasses Garth (Shanks) has put in front of us, I’m amazed at how much they grow.”
When Andrew Morris converted his farm to dairying he began a programme to replace old pastures with new high performing grasses, and that’s where Seed Force came in.
Andrew and his wife Natalie farm at Conical Hills, near Tapanui, and converted their sheep farm to dairying last year. They are currently milking 720 cows on their 327 hectare milking platform, with a further 120ha of dairy support land.
Last year they replaced 70ha with new grass and Andrew reckons the pasture production doubled, compared with the old pastures. This year they have planted a similar size area again.
The plan is to use high performing grasses to move the farm forward quickly, and they hope to increase numbers to milk 900 cows in the future.
“We went from sheep pastures to dairy and we’re still trying to turn it over, that’s the reason behind the move to higher performing grasses,” he says.
By changing to new high performing grasses they have been able to increase milk production markedly, and also find that the new pastures are able to come back into the grazing round quicker.
They are also looking for pastures that are suitable for supplementary feed in the winter. With a good season this year they have been able to cut large amount of silage and balage.
Andrew has been impressed with the Seed Force products he has planted, particularly SF Greenly cocksfoot and Sultan annual ryegrass.
“That cocksfoot is a magic plant. I’m quite impressed with it, it gives us so much more bulk in feed. The grasses Garth (Shanks) has put in front of us, I’m amazed at how much they grow.
“The SF Sultan annual ryegrass is phenomenal. We have grazed and grazed it and it’s been incredible – it grows like a weed,” Andrew says.
“With dairying the cows instantly tell us whether the pasture is any good, the milk production climbs. The other indicator is how quickly the pasture comes back into the round, we are going back to the new grasses within 20 days – the old sheep pastures might not get back into the round for 50 days.”
The couple have also planted a mix of the new Hustle perennial ryegrass, SF Greenly cocksfoot and SF Quest white clover and, while they are looking good, they are yet to be grazed.
They have dealt with Seed Force rep, Garth Shanks, for many years and value his direct and honest approach.
“He’s one of those guys who tells you exactly how it is. He’s honest and good to bounce ideas off, he knows his area and his knowledge is exceptional really.
“He’s very direct and easy to on with – a good likeable bloke – and the main thing is that he absolutely, without question, knows his plants. It’s very hard to find people like that now.”
They also find Garth’s input with farm layout and where to put different grasses invaluable.