Atiamuri, Central North Island, New Zealand
Tow and Fert Multi 2800, Dual Booms
“We have cut our fertilizer BILL IN HALF in the first year and produced the same amount of grass”
The return on investment in the Tow and Fert Multi 2800 for Miah Smith from Atiamuri has been less than 18 months.
Atiamuri in the central North Island is a place with hilly terrain traditionally suited to sheep and beef farming or forestry. So, it is a change to the norm to find Miah Smith and his family running a 350 hectare dairy farm with 530 cows.
When Miah and his wife Jenny first arrived on this land, they found a converted forestry block that was baron and dry with not much life in the soil, weeds and gorse running rife and a lot of work on the horizon. Over the course of the last 7 years they have set about reestablishing the farm as a successful dairy operation and breathing new life into the soil and pasture.
Having started with a conventional approach to fertilizer application using approximately 150kgs of N per hectare Miah’s results were proving frustrating. Searching for a new way of producing better results and growing more grass Miah decided to move away from the conventional fertilizer approach and to give Biological Stimulants, specifically seaweed products produced by AgriSea NZ, a go.
“We knew we wanted to regenerate the farm with Biological Stimulants and also reduce our Nitrogen use back to 50-60 kgs.”
Application was the next piece of the puzzle and Miah new that the Tow and Fert would do what he wanted it to do but the terrain of the farm meant that the models Tow and Fert offered were either too small or too big.
Enter the Tow and Fert Multi 2800. At National Fieldays at Mystery Creek in 2018 Miah bought the very first Multi 2800 the team at Metalform had built. It was the perfect size for their farm and was built with a specification that enabled him to use it on the hills with relative ease. 6 months on and Miah has managed to cover over 90% of the farm using the Tow and Fert 2800.
With Miah’s unconventional approach to growing pasture, going down the biological stimulant route with AgriSea products, the Tow and Fert 2800 has meant that he is able to spray small seeds with the Tow and Fert 2800 such as Plantain, Chickory and Clover. These plants play an important role in Miah’s system so being able to apply them in one pass with his Nitrogen and seaweed products means he is saving considerable amounts of time.
Super phosphates and DAP fertilisers have now been removed, replaced by the biological products which release these nutrients already in the soil making them plant available. All in all Miah has cut his fertilizer bill in half,
“We have cut our fertilizer bill in half in the first year and produced the same amount of grass. The Tow and Fert 2800 will be paid for in only 1 and half years. That’s a good return on investment”
“I am able to now go out and follow the cows 2-3 days after grazing giving the pasture an immediate boost. We have just as much grass saving half the fert costs and putting on extra seed is a real benefit to us because we are wanting to get a lot more species into our pastures. Its just been so easy. We can put everything we need into one tank.”
“Its been really good to not lose any production and save money at the same time. If I was a farmer out there who wanted to cut his N use, grow the same amount of grass and save money then this is definitely the way to go.”
Episode 1:Miah Smith talks about moving to the Tow and Fert Multi 2800 and the versatility of the machine on their farm.
Above: Miah Smith and his two sons in-front of their Tow and Fert Multi 2800
Above: Miah Smith bought the very first Tow and Fert Multi 2800 for his rolling hill farm in Atiamuri. The Multi 2800 is perfectly suited to those farms with more hilly terrain.
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