HEALTHY CROPS & LOTS OF GRASS
This is the story of how Georgie Galloway changed nutrient programs and grew more grass and kale for wintering cows.
Farm Manager, G.S. Marshall Farm, Invercargill.
Mixed Farming 160 Hectares.
Growing Kale and grass for Silage.
BIG IMPROVEMENTS DOWN ON THE FARM
In 2015 Georgie Galloway joined Graham Marshall and his partner Gail as farm manager on their mixed farming 160-hectare farm just outside of lnvercargill. Georgie had worked for Graham for some time but joining the farm as Farm Manager full time was a change welcomed by both parties.
It was not until a March application three years into her role as Farm Manager, when Graham applied solid Urea onto a Kale crop, that the trigger to change was pulled. The story goes that Graham got halfway through applying solid Urea to a 5 hectare paddock before running out. Georgie explains,
“Graham thought to himself ‘Yep, I’ll notice that in 2-3 months for sure.’ There should be a big deficit in crop growth (on one side of the paddock), and we thought that it would hurt our production.”
However, 2-3 months later Georgie says there was no difference at all, the side of the paddock that did have solid Urea applied had grown no more than the side that hadn’t.
Applying the FishIt fish fertiliser onto a kale crop with a Multi 1200 enables Georgie to minimise her tracks and the booms sit well above the bales of silage in the paddocks.
Episode 1: Georgie Galloway, Farm Manager on the G.S. Marshall farm talks about the farms transition from solid based fertiliser programme to a fish based one applied using the Tow and Fert Multi 1200.
“So that was our main trigger for why we would look at something different.”
It was shortly after this that Georgie and Graham were approached by the team from Fish It.
Georgie says “We have not put any Urea on our grass this season.
We don’t need it. We are three years into our Fish It and Tow and
Fert journey, and we are building up our soil health nicely.”
Pointing to the grass in the paddock she is standing in Georgie comments, “this grass here has had three cuts of baleage off it and after each round of baleage we are putting on 30L of Fishlt through the Tow and Fert.” The grass is a deep green colour and looks and feels rich and wholesome.
A VERY STRONG BUSINESS CASE
With the Multi 1200 and the change to FishIt Georgie has reduced costs yet produced more.
For Georgie the benefits to the farms production have been significant. Georgie explains,
“In the Kale paddocks we have put on 120kgs of Urea (in liquid form) total. In the past we would have put on three times that. Using Fishlt with the Tow and Fert we have better pastures and better crops so all in all it has been a good business investment.”
As well as the reduction in fert costs from around $100,000.00 per annum to just over $50,000.00 per annum, Georgie explains that the increase in production has allowed them to produce more bales of silage.
“Now we make about 3000 bales on the farm, before we had to buy in about 500 bales a season. Since we have had the Tow and Fert we haven’t had to buy in any bales and all of those 3000 bales go into the winter crop to feed the cows.”
Another benefit Georgie has noticed on the farm is that in the last three years there has been no need for pesticides. Georgie believes this is due to how healthy the soil and plants are.
For Georgie the change in the way they are doing things on the farm has been profound.
“Obviously, it coincides with the change to Fishlt, but if we didn’t have the Tow and Fert we couldn’t apply the Fishlt. It has changed everything. The grass is so much healthier, the crops are better, and both the grass and kale hold on longer. We really rate it.”
And to other farmers considering changing their systems to incorporate a Tow and Fert, Georgie has this to say,
“Obviously we are not solely a dairy farm, but I think this is a no brainer investment.”
Episode 2: Georgie explains the farms move to a fish-based fertiliser FishIt program with supplementary Urea and the results she is seeing on the farm. She discusses the business case and the savings she is making from making the change to the Tow and Fert.
Episode 3: What does the future hold for Georgie? Looking forward, Georgie touches on what she expects to happen in the future including the fact that the farm has had no need for pesticides since shifting to the FishIt and Tow and Fert programme.
“It is all about starting the journey with the Tow and Fert.
It (the Tow and Fert) has definitely opened our eyes to different stuff and it’s good. It’s real good.”
Above: Georgie says the change in fertiliser programme and application technique has meant the plants now hold on longer and stronger through summer and the Kale is particularly healthy with no pesticides being required.
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The Tow and Fert Times.
The Tow and Fert Times is a publication full of information for dairy farmers. Designed to help you with your nutrient management and fertiliser decisions, it is packed full of helpful information, case studies and helpful tips and tricks for the farm.
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