Levels Valley / Pleasant Point
“We’re now rotating ewes and lambs on it from about mid-August. It’s allowed us to take on more stock as well by bringing in those areas that were previously unproductive.”
South Canterbury farmer Paul Brown likes to push the boundaries and try new things.
Paul farms 415 hectares at Levels Valley and another 1,300 hectares comprising two properties at Ida Valley in Central Otago. He runs 1,200 sheep, 1,400 dairy grazing stock and 3,500 beef for fattening.
The Levels Valley farm is dry land rolling country, most of which can be cultivated, while the Ida Valley properties have some irrigation via pivots.
“I think it was seven years ago we put in our first beet crop. I like to try different things, have a go, especially if someone tells me it can’t be done on our country.”
The beet has allowed them to winter more dairy stock and, latterly, take more beef stock through the winter.
“With the beef it’s allowed us to get them to market at the times when there’s higher demand for them.”
As long as they’ve done their ground preparation correctly and kept the weeds under control, there haven’t been any crop failures, he says.
Paul is also using SF Force 4™ lucerne on the farm. “We’re using it in places where, when I first took over the farm, the sunnier drier faces only grew weeds predominantly. We’re now rotating ewes and lambs on SF Force 4™ from about mid-August. It’s allowed us to take on more stock as well by bringing in those areas that were previously unproductive.”
In Central Otago, where lucerne is a widely used crop, they are cropping the ground with fodder beet initially in the drier areas and then putting SF Force 4™ in to try to grow more dry matter through the dry spells.
This year Paul is putting in more SF Fuel kale and SF Greenland forage rape to add balance and cater for those dairy clients who prefer their stock to be on higher protein feed, like kale and rape.
“We’ve found it to be good feed utilisation as the cattle eat it right down to the ground, particularly the kale.”
More recently he sowed SF Stellar™ perennial ryegrass in a couple of paddocks and observes it is performing equally as well as his good, more established pastures.
In his dealings with Seed Force™ territory managers, both David Walsh and Liam Donnelly, Paul says they always bend over backwards to help.
“Like if you’re short of seed, they’ll do their best to help… everything is top notch really. The products are performing as well as any advertised and they back it up with good service.”
“As long as you get the basics right when you put the crop in, as long as you get the agronomy right, then I just can’t fault them.”
Paul says Seed Force™ is always keen to help with trials and happy to come along and talk at the annual field day he holds. “One of the reasons I keep doing the field days is that we have a good product to show people, and it’s come from Seed Force™.”