Business Rural Summer 2021

22 | Test driving the Dianna Malcolm B eef+Lamb New Zealand’s (B+LNZ) Lanercost Future Farm is test-driving cutting edge tech- nology within an operating commercial farm so that its members don’t have to. The current work is being completed on a 1310-hectare Lanercost Future Farm in North Canterbury. B+LNZ’s General Manager for Farming Excellence Dan Brier says they are two years into a 15-year lease at Lanercost, and it is poised to give tangible feedback to their membership on five projects. The property carries up to 300 Angus beef cows, 3500 Romney sheep and it has wintered 500 dairy cows. It includes 200ha of flats, 300ha rolling coun- try – with a balance of medium hill country – in the heart of the Hurunui catchment. “We know that farmers are practical people, and they appreciate seeing things in the flesh,” Dan said. “This farm gives us the understanding of the whole farm system. “It goes beyond a farmer that’s interested in triplet lambing, because – while we hear a lot about it – we don’t understand what that means for the rest of the farm in terms of labour requirements, the effect it’s had on animal health bills and stocking rates, among other things. “We’re trying to be a systems example on a working farm to show the whole impact of the changes, as opposed to bits and pieces that our farmers have to find out alone.” The five projects currently under the microscope are a mix of “right here, right now” results through to looking a little further into the future. The findings will be shared through, annual field-days, and B+LNZ’s e-dairy. The projects include: • Farm Planning “We know that most farmers have to do some form of planning whether it’s around the green- house gas emissions or their water quality for their council. We have a philosophy that farm planning should be about the farmer, and how it makes their business stronger and more resilient so that the outcome is that the regulator is happy, the custom- ers are happy, and the other people who might be interested are comfortable,” Dan said. MEAT & WOOL » Lanercost Farm “We’re really trying to pivot farm planning to understand the resource and to figure out the best thing for our farmers to do on their farm.” • Parasite Resistance Dan confirms that in a B+LNZ survey the single biggest farm production issue was parasite resist- ance. “We also have a degree of parasite resistance on Lanercost. We will use that for a focus on how we’re going to manage it on-farm, and the deci- sions around using or not using drenches,” Dan said. “We’ve got AgResearch and some local vets involved in that. We’re not discovering new science in that particular project. But it’s really a demonstra- tion about how we’re going to handle the problem on our farm knowing that others are handling that same problem on their own farms.” • Virtual Fences Before Christmas Lanercost’s beef cattle will be fitted with collars, which will enable virtual fences to be created using GPS to manage and track where the animals go. The system they have chosen is eShepherd® by Agersens. “The reason we’re looking at this is because we’re considering stock exclusion on hill country and how farmers are going to try and keep cattle out of waterways – in particular without having to go to the cost of fencing – not to mention the environmental cost of putting in those miles of fenc- ing,” Dan said. “The grazing management advantages of being able to creep-feed cows with calves at foot or make sure the cows graze into various parts of the hillside, will allow farmers to more accurately graze their properties.” • Low Methane Genetics Rams, which have been selected for low meth- ane production will be run alongside Lanercost’s rams to show the production differences between them, and to measure the differences in the meth- ane production of their respective daughters. “We also want to know if those sheep with low methane production are still useful sheep in terms of their breed characteristics and lambing rates, which are still equally important to farmers,” Dan said. “We’re trying to be a systems example on a working farm to show the whole impact of the changes, as opposed to bits and pieces that our farmers have to find out alone.” Leading the charge at Lanercost Future Farm: Jansen Travis (farm consultant), Digby Heard (manager) and Dan Brier, B+LNZ’s General Manager for Farming Excellence. CARRIERS OF LIVESTOCK, GENERAL FREIGHT, BULK & FERTILISER CHEVIOT TRANSPORT 2017 LTD 99 Ward Rd, Cheviot 7310 P: 03 319 8644 A/H: 0276 776 787 Proud to be associated with Lanercost Farm SPRAYING FERTILISER FIRE FIGHTING SEEDING CAN PROVE VARIABLE RATE One of the South Island's independent operators supporting our local community Turanganui romneys proud to be associated with Lanercost Farm Mike Warren 027 446 5312 or 06 307 7841 Guy Warren 027 848 0164 WilliamWarren 027 824 9327 Turanganui Romneys