Ray and Donna were dairy farmers from Aria in the King Country who, like many other farmers across New Zealand, relied on using urea to increase productivity. They started out with 360 cows, which over time grew to 520.
“Our system was relying on the increasing use of urea – from 50 kilograms of urea/hectare/year up to 150 kilograms of urea/ hectare/year – but production wasn’t increasing and we were facing major animal health issues: downer cows; Rotovirus; a large numbers of lame cows; an increased reliance on CIDRs [controlled internal drug releases] to get cows in calf; induction to try and maintain an acceptable calving spread; and more,” says Ray.
The breakdown in their system led to a lack of net cash profit and they could see the harsh impact of urea on the farm.
“As a farmer you always try to do your best using the knowledge that you have available, but it wasn’t working on our farm. We were actually going backwards not forwards, and we could see that our farming practices were impacting on the environment and the health of our animals.
Read more on this and other Hawke’s Bay stories with The Profit magazine
Posted: 5 December 2018