NZ Dairy Winter 2022

| 103 nzdairy DAIRY PEOPLE » Wayne & Angela Moxham Organic farming is low stress & pro table Richard Loader Once regarded as being on the fringe, organic dairy farming is a low stress, pro table and environmentally responsible way of producing milk whose time has come, Wayne Moxham says. Wayne and his wife, Angela’s generational family farm borders the Manawatu River north east of Levin. It was converted to an organic system from 2006 to 2010. “We didn’t [originally] see it in organics. I guess I was a conventional farmer and we did use urea quite a bit back in the bad old days. We used to grow a lot of grass, but it didn’t have a lot of guts to it and I used to get a lot of lame cows, maybe even 10% lame. On the suggestion of a fertiliser consultant, he ditched the urea and moved to a lime-based fertiliser.” “Straight away I stopped getting lame cows. I might not have grown the same bulk of grass, but there was good density, I still had good quality grass, the cows still did well on it.” This was a real eye-opener and led Wayne to start thinking about “all sorts of things” and that what he had been taught was not necessarily the best way to farm. The Moxham’s dairy business comprises two separate milking platforms. The home farm covers 260 hectares and supports a herd of 550 which is spring calved and milked through a 54 bale rotary platform, while a second unit of 75 hectares winter milks 60 cows in an old 14 a-side herringbone shed. This system allows a few empty heifers with potential to be carried over.“Your heifers are your highest PW (production worth cows) and it seems a shame if you get a couple of those that are empty in the rst season - you’ve spent two years raising them. Most farmers cull them, but we’ve got the ability to carry a few animals over and then I get them back in calf and they come in [milk] in the following autumn.” Like other organic farmers, Wayne pays close attention to the soil as the engine room of the farm system. “If you look after that you are going to grow healthy grass and if your growing healthy grass your animals are going to be healthy.” The farm’s location in Koputaroa, halfway between the coast and the Tararua Ranges, provides the perfect climate that lacks extremes of heat and cold, Wayne says. Pastures comprise a multi-culture of species and while there is less bulk of feed, the density and nutrition of the grass is better than grass underpinned by urea. For assessing pasture cover, he subscribes to a service which provides detailed pasture data, from images taken by satellites, emailed to him each week, as well as using his ‘eye metre’. “We still soil test and then we add what is required, but it is more a lime-based fertiliser.” Liquid sh fertiliser is usually aerially applied during autumn. With signi cant pressure coming on farmers to meet increasingly more stringent environmental regulations, Wayne and Angela are fortunate to have chosen to swim against the tide. “We are running a really clean system. The way the environmental thing is going, I think we are ahead of the game now, as are most organic farmers. “There’s just no stress in our system and at the end of the day the bottom line is pretty good.” Tyler, Ryder and Aria Moxham. Hay & Baleage: Round or Square - Tube or Individual | Ploughing & Cultivation Direct & Roller Drilling | Boom Spraying | Hedge Mulching Phone : (06) 368 4663 | Gavin : 021 445 804 GAVINTEALCONTRACTINGLTD FARM SERVICES HOMEOPATHIC TALK TO THE EXPERTS FOR FARMING SUPPORT 07 858 4233 @HomeopathicFarmServices Honda Horowhenua & Stihl Shop Levin proudly support Wayne and Angela Moxham 06 367 9951 108 Oxford Street, Levin