NZ Dairy Winter 2022

| 111 nzdairy Promoting industry best practice Sue Russell DAIRY SERVICES » NZ Groundspreaders Graeme Martin leads Groundspread NZ (the New Zealand Groundspread Fertilisers’ Association), an organisation that traces its beginnings back to 1956. Its formation links to a recognised need for the sector to look at better ways of putting fertiliser on pasture. The industry has always been about innovation, initially the design of fert spreading bins on trucks. While a step forward, these methods didn’t guarantee that fertiliser was being applied to pasture where it was most needed at the correct form and rate. There was waste, and it was very labour intensive and time-consuming back in its early days. Today, it’s a very different world, where precision spreading, adherence to high health & safety standards, and equipment certi cation are the hallmarks of the industry and those who belong to it. Groundspread NZ (NZGFA) were instrumental in creating the Spreadmark™ certi cation, and Graeme says that any contractor carrying that quali cation knows their stuff. “It’s not hard to do, as a groundspreader, if you are committed to doing it and the bene t of it is two-fold. It tells clients that you’re adhering to industry best practice and it also helps inform your operating systems.” Graeme says one of the critical pathways forward in adding value to both spreading operators, and their farming clients, is to understand that new technologies are there to create meaningful gain and deliver value. He hopes that in time, the work Groundspread NZ (NZGFA) is doing to outreach on the bene ts of engaging contractors who carry Spreadmark™ credentials will bring real gain to farmers, the environment, and professional contractor’s enjoyment of the vital work that they undertake. Groundspread NZ has recently completed a strategic review to advance its future direction and impact on the sector, driven by the goal of enabling contractors and the industry to continue to operate and not be constrained by Resource Consent regulations. “Also Health & Safety, so that everyone is safe and the gear is t for purpose and being able to meet the requirements of our customers. A lot of that blends into the environment space; not putting fert in unwanted places, getting around the paddock safely and ensuring that we meet the guidelines of the Healthy River Accord are all priorities for us at this time.” Graeme’s been involved in the sector for nearly 30 years, 7 of which have been connected to the Association. Now, uninhibited by the demands of outside work, Graeme can devote his time, energy, expertise and understanding of how organisations best operate to the role of President. He belongs to a National Council that has ve distinct branches of interest: Transport, Fert & Lime, Training, Membership and Promotion. “With intensive practices becoming the norm with farming, and in horticulture, the way fertiliser is applied and all the technologies behind its application have undergone a huge revolution. Aoraki Mount Cook National Conference 2021 attendees. Going over trays for Spreadmark testing: Nick Hyslop from Hyslop Groundspread in Oamaru. Graeme Martin (below). A lot of farmers still do their own fert spreading and one of our aims, as an organisation, is to encourage them to see merit in gaining fert-spread quali cations or engage a contractor who has.” While there is a central National Council, there are also branches spread throughout the country, and they meet independently. Each branch is a hub for collaboration and for the training of its members. A national conference is a much-anticipated meeting of members. However, due to Covid-19 uncertainties and limitations, this year’s conference scheduled for July in New Plymouth has been cancelled; however, the annual awards gala will go ahead in Wellington. “We’ve had some wonderful entries this year of young, innovative, clever professionals and it bodes well for the future of the sector and our organisation. We’re all about encouraging members to continually evolve and improve their practices, to participate, and to contribute back to the sector.” Awards are given across Innovation, Health & Safety, Young Achiever, and a President’s Award for contribution to the organisation. “We are going to run a gala dinner in July for just the awards. It’s going to be a wonderful event given the calibre of entries.” For all your ground spreading requirements - Chris King 0273415875 NORTHLAND Spreading Northland The precise way to grow Call us today: Jason Williamson 027 499 2530 • We apply what you need, where you need it • Ravtrak advanced guidance • Proof of placement maps • Application history stored online • Experienced local operator • Options for all terrain Ravensdown Customer Centre 0800 100 123