The farm is 160 hectares on the banks of the Manawatu River, just 2km from the Manawatu Gorge.
The soils comprise of river silts and sands to peat to Ohakea silt loams (clay). This year coming we will be milking 290 cows. The herd is made up of a mix of Jersey Cross, Friesian and Swedish Red cows.
Grass, hay, silage and some green crops are what the cows eat. For animal health issues and treatments, I use homeopathy from HFS (www.farmsupport.co.nz) .
The fertiliser system used is the Probitas System (www.ecofarm.co.nz) and also Biodynamics are being implemented by Peter Bacchus. Peter has just written a book called Biodynamic Pasture Management and it can be purchased at www.acresusa.com. It's a fantastic read.
My aim is to produce organic produce that is extremely nutrient dense and free from toxin, both physical and resonant. When able to produce such food it then not only becomes life giving, but disease curing. So much of the food today is grown in mineral deficient soil, which could only grow mineral deficient plants. This can lead to pest and disease. It can then be related to people who consume this
produce that it will also induce ill heath in them.
The replacement heifers are left on their mothers for 2 or 3 days so they get a good feed of colostrum. From there they are housed and put on adlib cold milk using the McKinnes teats that induce a lot of saliva, which aids digestion. Also on offer is brown coal and hay. This system is promoted by Dr Paul Dettlof. I have around 24-30 calves per barrel, I don’t believe in feeding calves meal and I must admit last year I was somewhat astounded as to how much milk they would drink, up to 10 litres a day. They were on this for about 3-4 weeks then went outside on 5 litres once a day with hay and grass. They also had access to Vitus Mineral lick. I found this system extremely easy as I was the main calf rearer and milker and it meant I was not tied to a routine for calf feeding.
My breeding programme now is all natural mating, I select the bull calves out of my favourite cows, mainly the first cows to calve and the first ones in to get milked (the bosses) and fast milkers and of course, quiet. I believe that in general farmers have lost touch with breeding and are quite naive to think numbers in a computer will pick a sire that will gell with the herd. There's a lot to be said for epigenetics (ie. traits that are dictated to by
the environment). Diet does affect genes, so why not breed bulls from your own cattle that will breed heifers that already have the same feed trait imprinted in their genes which means performance is already guaranteed.
Weeds are only a reflection of an imbalance in the soil and are growing in order to correct that imbalance. Spraying with a herbicide does not fix the imbalance as the weeds will eventually regrow. Over use of sprays has resulted in super weeds growing. This is also the same with animal parasites becoming resistant to drenches.
If both plants and animals are fully mineralised then there is no need for chemical intervention because weeds and parasites will not be able to proliferate.
New challenges arise all the time and I still get animal health issues which require natural remedies and a connect as to why they became sick in the first place. However I find this way of farming extremely rewarding and I believe the produce that is produced by these natural methods is by far superior to conventional farming produce and it gives me great satisfaction to be able to make this SUPER FOOD (raw milk) available it to those who want it in it's raw natural state.