The key themes for agri-investment success you probably know nothing about

What is involved? What does it take? What do you have to do?……and how much does it cost?

This is the science (not alchemy) of transforming farms from underperforming conventional orthodoxy into healthy, resilient, successful ecological systems.

It is not alchemy as it is real and we are not creating ‘nuggets of the purest green’.

Capex is not the limiting factor.

The following are critical themes in ensuring you are on the pathway to farm performance and success.

Breeding Quality

Not eugenics; although good people are critical to success and superior performers are required to succeed in the more intellectually challenging ecological management systems.

This is about selection with respect to livestock, i.e. those biological organisms (they are not machines) that convert grass into dollars.

The type of animal and the key characteristics it offers must be appropriate for an ecological management system.

The very particular aspects of performance must be strong both in terms of genotype and phenotype.

You need an animal that will perform in that specific system in terms of management and property characteristics.

If selection is not right you cannot expect to achieve optimal animal performance and more realistically you invite sharply negative consequences.

Pasture

Grass is grass, even if it is sometimes greener the other side of the fence.

Not really; palatability, production, root depth, persistence, compatibility, diversity, resilience, biological fixation. These are aspects of interrelated and high importance.

Driving through Central Hawkes Bay a few weeks ago at the height of the summer dry provided a stark illustration of the folly of simplistic pastures. Dry was not the word, barren would be more accurate (and illustrative) and the colour nearer white having gone beyond brown.

And yet even with such stark illustration of the failure of ‘normal’ there is no questioning or discussion of how to change or improve. The best that might be managed would be a discussion about the application of water. Sometimes unfortunately, advancement rewards poor management more than good management and much so called ‘progress’ in agriculture is merely a conventional (input based) fix for weak management at the paddock level.

Even if water is introduced it has a cost, in some cases high, and the ability to run a more resilient system becomes advantageous in, and supportive of, lower cost production.

Water is good but with the right biological set-up it can be so much better.

This highlights the advantage of knowledge and the importance of getting pasture right as a key theme in productive agronomic ecosystems.

The Unseen Majority

No, not supporters of a particular politician or political position.

These you cannot see (or hear).

But they are out there…..beneath your feet, in the soil.

Soil and soil microbiology are fundamental to agroecosystem performance.

This needs to be understood, at least as much as can be managed in what is a largely neglected, under researched and poorly understood sphere of science. Sadly ironic given that life on Earth is entirely dependent upon the soil.

The health, complexity and vibrancy of soil microbiology is essential and a strategy to enhance it is of the utmost practical importance.

Stopping ‘the drugs’ is not a strategy, although it is a start.

The Power of 3

Three key themes to understand and respond to, to underpin and apply.

Breeding quality (selection), grass (pasture) and those that lie beneath (soil and soil biology).