Big picture farming – day seven

Today was a change of focus from production systems, breeding, and finances with a visit to David Wallace’s property in Cambridge. David is a second generation property developer and dairy farmer, his father began turning unproductive land into productive dairy country in the 1970s.

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His main focus is on investment opportunities, utilising technology to breed elite genetics for hot climates, and environmental sustainability. David talked to the group about how farmers can be environmentalists and still be productive. We met today at his 16 hectare pest-free forest which is a also refuge for the endangered Kiwi bird. The forest is surrounded by a specially designed and intensively maintained vermin proof fence.

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Also on this property is a facility to produce elite embryos for his farming venture in Brazil, using both MOET and IVP techniques.

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His farming venture in Brazil is on 5.5 thousand hectares consisting of eight 56 hectare centre pivots. Ideal conditions produce 45 tonne of dry matter per hectare per year. This milk is processed at a factory built specifically for the farm enterprise, they produce a UHT milk and yoghurt for the local market.

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Fifty percent of the land has been put aside for conservation purposes. The genetics are predominantly 75% Friesian 25% Jersey, with the use of sexed semen they’re able to increase herd sizes by 25% annually, and they use 100% AI.

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The take home message to the group was to think outside the square and to take advantage of opportunities as they arise.

With our last farm visit behind us we made our way slowly to Auckland for the last day of the tour.

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