Simon Lord’s New Zealand Adventure
Simon manages the third-generation business in partnership with his brother operating approx. 800 hectares of mostly owned land. The farm is mainly arable but does include some permanent pasture for their flock of 900 breeding ewes, lambing early March and finishing by August.
Three words to describe the trip?
Amazing, Inspirational, Adventure.
If you were to make a New Year’s resolution, inspired by your trip to New Zealand, what would it be?
Get Stuff Done!!
What was your impression of NZ farms?
It was a long way to go but it certainly was worth it, it was the trip of a lifetime.
We visited huge multi-million-dollar agri-businesses which are so switched on and very export orientated. I was fascinated by EastPack, a kiwi farm just outside Te Puke. Kiwi fruit are a very different product that I didn’t know a lot about, and it was so interesting to see the attention to detail necessary and the processing involved in producing such a labour intensive, high quality crop.
All the businesses we visited were making a profit and were re-investing both in and outside the business. In the cereals sector, all their produce goes to very local markets, the mills to feed the cows. It’s probably fair to say they are riding on a bit of a crest of a wave with the dairy industry. They are making good money as their price is driven locally so they do not have to compete on world market.
What was your impression of NZ as an agri-food exporting nation?
We noted that enterprising growers were working together to add value to their crops by investing in processing plants or grain mills, which are perhaps what we did 25 years ago when the local farm co-ops were set up.
We visited Mike Solari, former holder of the world record for wheat yield, whose nine-year rotation includes three years in grass ley which he believes allows him to produce record breaking yields. Growers in New Zealand are just so lucky with the soil and the climate; the winters are mild, and they have the day length to provide a long grain filling period. They can do absolutely anything.
What did you learn about cereal growing in NZ?
Growers want to keep their crop in the ground for as long as possible, with one commenting, “With a good wheat crop we will try and have a birthday out of it.” Here in the UK we are facing different challenges to those in New Zealand and we just have to try and do what we do, better.
They are probably fifteen years behind us when it comes to bureaucracy and regulations, and for us implementing some of the high input regimes would simply not be allowed.
What did you think of BASF’s new cereal fungicide in trial for Revysol®?
On farm we saw what a fantastic job Revysol®, BASF’s new cereal fungicide had done on barley. There were in-field trials where we thought one plot had been sprayed off and one hadn’t. However, it turned out that the plot that was still green had been treated with Revysol® and the other hadn’t. It was quite staggering the differences between the treatments. It will be good to get it over here and get using it.