NZ Dairy Winter 2022

90 | nzdairy DAIRY PEOPLE CANTERBURY » Dalkeith Farm Methven farmer Andrew Barlass. Richard Loader Methven farmer Andrew Barlass has imported a new forage variety that he believes could potentially help farmers to meet their environmental targets. Sainfoin is a perennial legume that brings a number of key bene ts. It is highly palatable to animals and has an excellent nutritional balance. It has a high DM yield and can be grazed, or fed as hay or silage. Because it has a deep tap root it is highly drought tolerant and has the ability to draw up minerals from well below the surface. Unlike many other legumes, Sainfoin is non-bloating and is known to have anthelmintic properties meaning it contains compounds that kill intestinal worms in livestock. “Protein in the plant is bound up in condensed tannins and passes through the rumen, animals absorbing a greater proportion for use in the production of meat / milk rather than secreting it as urinary nitrogen or methane. The result is animals grazing Sainfoin have improved live weight gains, reproductive performance and should have a lower environmental footprint,” says Andrew. Following research work done in the 1980/90s Sainfoin has had little attention in the last 30 years, he says. Andrew believes he is one of the rst to import Sainfoin seed into New Zealand since then and planted one paddock as an initial trial in 2021. He says the cons are that it is harder and more expensive to establish and persistence in a mixed sward may be an issue. He is keen to work with other institutions to further research Sainfoin as a forage to determine its suitability for the New Zealand farming system. Andrew is a big believer that environmental solutions need to come from a collaborative approach between regulators and farmers rather than a top down approach. Dalkeith Farm making the most of Sainfoin “Farmers are the most innovative people in the world and we need to work together. That’s also the way to get buy-in to what we’re all trying to achieve. There are lots of opportunities out there that the number eight wire attitude of New Zealand farmers will uncover.” Andrew is involved in the overall management of his family’s farms with his role including strategic planning, raising replacement young stock and 160 dairy beef cross steers and heifers, winter crop establishment and re-grassing, silage making and maintenance. The business includes two farms: Dalkeith 360ha and Kowhai 236ha supporting 675 cows and 750 cows respectively. Each property also raises all young stock and winter crop. Dalkeith is run by a contract milker and Kowhai by a sharemilker. Andrew says a priority is breeding and genetics as the milk production from the bottom 10% of cows versus the top can be signi cantly different. With a push for smaller herd sizes to meet environmental regulations the opportunity to be more selective and remove poorer performing cows, while continuing to breed for and improve performance traits is key. The family is also focusing on native planting. Kowhai is next to the Rakaia Gorge and the aim is to establish pockets of natives and encourage birds such as kereru to make the farm their home. Andrew wears many hats. Besides farming, he is the newly appointed Ruralco director. He has also taken up a directorship with Ashburton Contracting, is a director at EA Networks – the only co-operatively owned lines company in New Zealand, and has a board appointment at Christchurch International Airport. He is also the treasurer of the Methven A & P Society, partner to Sarah and father to three young children: Isabella, 10, Henry, 8 and Hannah, 5. So how does he t it all in? “I just don’t get a lot of sleep,” he jokes. Proud to support Dalkeith Farm DALKEITH FARM FOR ALL YOUR ELECTRICAL NEEDS Dalkeith Farm ELECTRICAL YOUR TRUSTED PROUD TO SUPPORT EXPERTS Ph 03 308 8049 RESIDENTIAL INDUSTRIAL COMMERCIAL DAIRY AND FARMING ELECTRICAL