Eltham, Taranaki, New Zealand
Tow and Fert Multi 4000, Dual Booms
“I can do so much more, so much more cheaply than I could in the past and that for me has been the real bonus.”
Tow and Fert’s versatility has led to significantly increased milk production for Alan Marx.
Nestled below Mount Egmont in Taranaki Alan Marx’s dairy farm was running a conventional style, pasture based dairy system. Nutrients were applied in solid form through the use of a bulky up to 6 times a year. Application was always weather dependant and particularly Urea, was a waste of time without any rain.
Alan had seen the Tow and Fert machines at National Fieldays over the years and had often wondered about the concept of foliar applied fertiliser. It was only when chatting to a friend in the South Island who used a contractor to apply his fertiliser with a Tow and Fert that Alan decided to find out more. He phoned the contractor and, after a lengthy discussion about its versatility, usability and flexibility, Alan decided to head over to Dannevirke to Metalform to see the machine being built for himself.
“I wanted a machine that could do a lot of other things than just dissolve and apply Urea. This is a very versatile machine and it’s ticked a lot of boxes for me in terms of it’s versatility.”
Since taking on the Tow and Fert in September of 2018 Alan’s farming system has changed significantly. From a largely conventional nutrition system, Alan has moved into a system that focuses on the ecosystem of the farm, considering the soil, grass and the animal. In no way organic, Alans system includes Molasses which he applies with every load to feed the microbes in the soil.
“The other thing I’ve started doing a lot is adding Magnesium sulphate to the brew. This increases the magnesium content in our grass as this is an element that our cows are always looking for.”
Alan also includes Lime flour. Every kilogram of Urea is balanced with one kilogram of lime flour which is easily added in with the molasses.
“the other thing I have done is spread my small seeds, I’m talking about clover, chicory and plantain. They are all applied simultaneously with the fertiliser products, so I literally just chuck it in at two kilograms per hectare. The Multi 4000 will hold a six-tonne payload, so half of that is water, the other half is product. There is no extra labour, no extra machinery costs and the strike from the seed being broadcast through the Tow and Fert is absolutely unbelievable.”
And the results have been seen across the farm in a short space of time. With the summer of 2018/19 being hot and dry farms in Taranaki suffered. Alan’s Fonterra Milk production graph clearly shows the drop off in the district as the heat took hold. But at Alan’s farm, the grass held on a heck of lot better than surrounding farms meaning Alan did not have to reduce milking turnaround times to every 16 hours or once a day.
And, says Alan “when the rains did come in late March, early April, the farm responded very quickly.”
Heading into spring and summer of 2019/20 Alan is once again looking forward to seeing how the farm responds. He notes that the cover of grass on the farm is consistent and he and his team have coined the phrase “carpet grass” to describe the look of the paddocks under the Tow and Fert System.
“One of the things we’ve noticed on farm is how even the grass is growing and the grass sward is very, very thick. We have got a lot greater plant density since we’ve been using the Tow and Fert.”
With the warmer weather around the corner Alan is now looking forward to continuing his journey using the Tow and Fert.
“To be able to do small seeds, herbicides, insecticides and fertiliser all in one pass is a real bonus. There are things about this machine that no other machine on the market can equal.”
“It’s simply a magic way to utilise one machine to do a broad spectrum of jobs on the farm.”
Episode 1: Allan Marx talks about moving to the Tow and Fert Multi 4000 and the versatility of the machine on his farm.
Episode 2: Allan Marx tells us how he is using his Tow and Fert Multi 4000 to improve his grass growth.
Episode 3: Alan talks frankly about the Tow and Fert – mixing challenges, mistakes and the results. But also the tough economic, political and environmental climate out there!
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