Outgro Industry News

Incline Farm Pasture Rated a “Dam Good 10/10”

A recent article published in the dominion post (May 19th) written by New Zealand’s 2011 agricultural journalist of the year “John Morgan” had one of New Zealand’s leading soil scientists rating Outgro’s founding farm pasture quality a damn good 10/10. Dr Doug Edmeads wasn’t very willing to attribute the success of the Inclines pasture quality to Outgro, saying “it is illogical to attribute the current success of this farm to biological practices applied in the last few years.” “The current quality and vigour of the pasture can be explained largely by soil fertility.” We thought it would be useful to provide a little more detail and a few more facts around the Incline farms fertiliser history and current levels of fertility

Incline Farm Facts:
Commenced Outgro in April 2006. Milking platform 230ha. Ceased all use of super phosphate and potassium chloride in 1998. Reduced brought in feed by 50% over last 6 years. Reduced drenching of young stock to 2x per year. Mastitis, Lameness and cell count have also been dramatically reduced. Reduced synthetic N applications from 300 units in 2005/06 season to 30 units in the 2010/11 season.
Reduced the use of bloat oil by 95%

Incline Farm 75mm Soil Tests
Paddock pH Olsen P CaBS% MgBS% Ca/Mg Ratio
5 6.6 23 66 8.2 8.04:1
16 6.6 20 64 9 7.11:1
39 6.5 24 61 8.8 6.93:1
Average 6.56 22.3 63.6 8.6 7.36:1

Soil Test Results
Neil believes there is potentially a lot that can be learned from the Incline soil test results and comments from Dr Doug Edmeads. The above soil test results clearly challenges the traditional mindset that say we require an Olsen P of 30-40 to achieve optimal pasture production. The Incline farm achieved record production for the 2010/11 season of 335,000 ms off 230 ha, or 1459 ms/ha and that was coming out of an extremely wet winter with a very poor spring.

This high level of production was achieved off a 90% grass fed system. Neil say’s in the first two years transitioning into a biological fertiliser program with Outgro I was spending around $1000/ha on fertiliser, freight and application, now that has reduced to $450/ha, the reason why we have been able to achieve this
reduction is because we have now created a more self sustaining farming system, my soils are healthy, the legume component in my pasture sward has flourished and is fixing almost all the required Nitrogen to achieve optimal pasture production. Neil believes the approach he took by getting stuck in for the first 2-3years was the right one and highly recommends it to other farmers.

Neil says he would be the first to admit that the quality of his pastures cannot be solely attributed to Outgro, but what he does believe is that since adopting the Outgro system it has allowed him to change his pasture management. Through Outgro’s regular detailed analysis and custom built treatment supplying the Inclines pastures with its nutrient requirements it has greatly improved plant function. A consequence of this has been allowing Neil to introduce new plant species to his pasture sward and increase his pre grazing cover up to 3500 kgs dry matter/ha at times through the season without losing palatability or quality of the pasture, Neil says he has now all but gone away from any cropping and instead has been introducing a lot of new species to his pasture sward like, plantain, chicory, red clover, prairie, timothy, cocksfoot and even Lucerne this with the ability with running higher covers has built a lot of resilience into my farming system and has also greatly reduced the cost of production.

In his article, Jon Morgan asks “I hope they will resolve a dilemma I have in writing the stories of such farmers. Biologics is growing and its leading farmers are among the country’s best producers. How can this be so if the scientists are to be believed?” The proof it appears is in the pudding, Jon clearly showed that while there are entrenched attitudes of conventional science towards new fertiliser technologies the success continues to be seen on-farm.

Outgro would like to congratulate the Dominion Post farming editor Jon Morgan on his recent award for the “Agricultural Journalist of the Year” the premier honor for agricultural communicators, from the NZ Guild of Agricultural Journalists.