Spring 2014 Outgro Newsletter

A word from Jim

As we continue to focus on improving the productivity of your farming operations, the first thing that comes to mind for most people is I need to grow more grass; and this is true to a point but is also very reliant on temperature and moisture which for most of you is outside your control. Also generally speaking you don’t get paid for grass but for the protein and fibre you produce, so is this not the most important metric we should be measuring regarding productivity gains?

This is an area Outgro has been focusing a lot of attention in recently and our initial findings have been indicating that some of the largest productivity gains can be achieved through improving feed conversion rates which will have an impact on improving profitability. As much as we all know there are numerous factors that can influence feed conversion efficiency, including breed and sex of livestock, the key area we have been investigating is the nutritional composition, including trace elements, of a particular pasture or crop relative to dry matter intake and live weight gains and or milk production achieved.

Initial indications are pointing towards a very strong correlation between the nutritional compositions of a particular pasture or crop and the feed conversion efficiency, resulting in improved live weight gains and milk solid production per kg of dry matter consumed.

I’m sure to most of you this sounds logical and can relate to this based on past observation, for example experiencing fantastic live weight gains/milk production off a particular pasture or crop at some stage and then on the other hand having a great looking crop or pasture and the stock not doing well at all with very poor live weight gains/milk production.

With the development and implementation of technology (individual animal identification) this is going to allow very detailed analysis in this area, which I believe is very exciting and will start to improve your decision making process. For example; in the past a lot of farmers have based the success of their fertiliser program on a single measure “Olsen P” which is really just one measure providing an indication of a potential plant response from a P application. Won’t it be great into the future when you are able to measure the success of your fertiliser regime based on increases in productivity and return on investment.

As part of Outgro’s dedication to improve the productivity of the land, while not only preserving but enhancing the environment, we have also become involved in the beekeeping industry.

We recently started a new company called The True Honey Co where we specialise in harvesting manuka honey from remote locations and have focused on developing mutually beneficial relationships with our landowners and creating a value chain with integrity. As you all know bees are an essential part of agriculture. It has been recently reported that bees support over $5 billion/year in agri industry exports.

I hope you all enjoy reading our spring newsletter and I wish you all the best for the remainder of the season, as always if any of you have any feedback, comments or suggestions regarding our service or anything else please feel free to contact me at any stage.

Jim McMillan, 027 682 4716,

Quarterly Feature

Balanced Nutrition is the Key:

Balanced nutrition is vital for supplying energy and improving feed conversion efficiency for profitable beef and sheep production. Since animal diet is mainly plant regulated, an imbalance in plant nutrient ratios can create animal health problems.

Nutrients including calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, sulphur, nitrogen with trace minerals are required for plant and animal health. Trace minerals are essential components in animal diets and they serve many functions within an animal. They are important for growth, promoting optimal fertility, immunity, bone development, enzyme activation, muscle contractions, regulating acid-base balances and are a component of hormones critical for maintaining the well-being of animals.

Tony Joseph BScAg, MScAg, PhD. 027 680 9707

Please follow the link to read more from Tony;

  • Have you got balanced feed for a profitable sheep and beef operation
  • Roles of minerals in raising sheep and beef
  • Major minerals for sheep and beef production
  • Trace minerals for sheep and beef production

Outgro Product News

Outgro Fertiliser’s Commitment To Quality

The team at Outgro are very passionate about the quality of the fertiliser treatments that leave our factory as well as the ingredients that go into making them.

Our manufacturing system and the delivery of the finished fertiliser product in our custom built Heli Tankers and Ground Spray units is our unique point of difference in the fluidised fertiliser market, and we at Outgro see this as real strength. Our ability to accurately measure both the solid and liquid components, grind, mill, dissolve and filter those in a consistent and controlled manner ensures all components, including the trace elements, are evenly distributed to maximise nutrient utilisation.

The warehousing and storage capabilities of our business also allows us to carry sufficient volumes of ingredients from dedicated suppliers, giving us the freedom to react quickly and efficiently to our clients needs.

Our suppliers are required to provide a Certificate of Analysis for each batch of product they supply. This ensures consistent nutrient composition, provides detail around the heavy metal analysis, as well as the ability to track each batch back to it’s source of manufacture. We utilise suppliers that can provide us with products that carry recognised quality standard certification such as ‘Fertmark’, ‘ISO9001:2008’, ‘PRINCE GOLD’, ‘ACVM’.

All of this, along with the fact that we designed and built our own equipment and processes for the recipe building, manufacturing, transportation and application of our customised fluidised blends, allows us to internally monitor and control the process from end to end.

Our purpose built CDS (Computer Delivery System) provides clients with nutrient detail, proof of placement and farm mapping details, as well as easy 24/7 access to all information relating to their fertiliser plan. This provides our clients with measureable results by clearly being able to demonstrate the uptake and changes in the nutrient status of soil, plants and field observations.

Outgro Fertiliser provides a complete system that we are very proud of and can therefore provide our customers with peace of mind that they are receiving a quality service and quality product.

Zinc Sulphate – Savings

As part of our continued dedication to source the highest quality products at the best possible price we have secured a supply of Zinc Sulphate at a competitive price. As a result we are happy to be able to pass these savings onto our clients.

Zinc – Animal Nutrition

Zinc is an essential trace element for the nutrition of pasture and all ruminant animals. Deficiency of zinc typically results in reduced growth rates of young stock, reduced feed consumption, reduced efficiency of conversion of feed energy to milk or live-weight gains, dermititis or scaley skin, swollen tissue around the hooves and foot problems. Development or growth of testicles and sperm production is likely to be affected. The desired range of zinc levels considered adequate in pasture and animal feeds is 30 to 50 mg/kg.

From the South

Looking forward to Spring’s arrival

Winter defiantly decided to arrive in the period of a few weeks this year and I sympathise with all of you that have been at the forefront of the wet and cold blast as you continue to get your daily jobs done. We will all be looking forward to soil temperature lifting and the sun showing its presence once again.

For those of you that have planned to give your pastures a boost of Nitrogen and Sulphur but haven’t been able to get it on over the last month then why don’t you think about applying our fluidised pasture boost application. We have a range of application options available to work around those wet areas and ensure you aren’t left behind heading into the spring months.

Like all farming operations time does not slow down for the calendar and therefore we are getting closer to mating for all you dairy farmers out there. So what does this mean in regards to your fertiliser requirements?

As you come into mating you will be aiming to have your herd in the best condition possible to ensure the herd mineral status is healthy so that conception rates are high over the mating period and the 6 week in calf period is as compacted as possible.

It has been known that lactating cows and sheep are more likely to suffer from iodine deficiency than non-lactating stock due to the loss of iodine in milk. This can result in low conception rates at mating time and increased numbers of ‘still births’ may also be due to iodine deficiency affecting the developing foetus.

Talk to us about assessing your current trace element concentrations within your pastures and how we can lift these levels through our spring foliar and soil treatments. I have number of clients in Southland using this approach to ensure their herd’s mineral status is lifted and maintained. Observations have been made in a number of operations that even when the dosatron was removed from the system the cows’ mineral status levels maintained, and in some cases lifted, especially Selenium, Magnesium and Copper levels that have been measured through blood and liver samples in the herds.

Variation within your pastures:

The early spring period is a great time to look at filling in some of the bare gaps in pastures following the winter months and adding more pasture diversity to your overall pasture sward. There are many benefits of having diverse pastures as part of your grazing operation. Some of these benefits are:

  • Increases in root biomass and rooting depths
  • Assistance in improving soil structure and overall aeration
  • Legumes have the ability to fix atmospheric nitrogen
  • Assist in extending the grazing season
  • Help to assist in water filiation and overall soil porosity

Outgro has the ability to add any round seed species with any soil revitaliser treatment, to assist you with increasing your pasture diversity. Some of the species we recommend are:

  • White and Red Clover (These legumes have the ability to fix nitrogen as well as provide very palatable high sugar herbage into the pastures. Red clover is especially recommended at the moment because of the impact clover root weevil have on white clover. They will preference white clover over red clover)
  • Tonic Plantain (deep rooted mineral rich herb with good drought and pest tolerance)
  • Chicory (broad leaved, tap rooted drought tolerant herb)

Have you thought about where you are going to grow next season’s forage crops?

Now is a great time to start thinking about where on the property you are going to source both your supplement feeds for harvest and winter crops for next winter.

Once you have chosen these areas give your local field consultant a call and get soil tests coded for your crop cultivar of choice so you can start preparing the soil and adding the required nutrients needed to get a healthy crop out of the ground in the summer.

Don’t take our word for it, here’s what one of our Southland clients has to say:

“I’ve been using the Outgro product now for two years and the crops have been outstanding. They are growing like pine trees, I can’t put the electric fence up because by the time I get to the end of the crop they are towering over my head.”

Hill and High Country Management in Southland

Environment Southland in partnership with the Southland community and Ngai Tahu ki Murihiku are currently steering the ‘Water and Land 2020 & Beyond’ project.

As many of you are aware the project is aimed at changing the way our water is looked after and managed around the Southland area so that it is able to:

  • Sustain our own ability to live
  • Preserve our environment
  • Maintain Cultural values

Recently as part of this project hill and high country properties have again been one of the main focus points and even though no rules or regulations have yet been set, there are a number of activities as landowners you can be actively thinking about to nurture and enhance your natural environment.

Starting with your soils, the greater the health of your soils the less potential impacts and risks there will be to nutrient runoff and soil loss into nearby waterways.

The 3 main soil variables need be taken into consideration when considering farming activity to occur on each soil type to reduce soil related problems and create optimum conditions for maximum crop/pasture production. These are Physical, Chemical and Biological:

  • Physical includes soil texture, structure and porosity as well as drainage properties
  • Chemical includes soil pH and fertility
  • Biological includes rooting depth and soil biology and activity

Understanding your soils and its variables is essential for profitable farming.

Looking at the physical soil variables we can easily determine ways to improve overall water quality and nutrient holding capacity.

Soil’s porosity is related to overall soil structure, soils with high porosity (wide range of spaces between soil particles) will have an overall better structure and drainage status than those soils with less pores and large clodded aggregates.

Poorly drained soils will mean:

  • The water table will be closer to the soils surface
  • The subsurface will be compact
  • More susceptible to pugging and to nitrogen being lost to the atmosphere

We want to aim for well-drained soils to allow water to drain thorough it all year and so it is less susceptible to pugging.

You can asset with minimising pugging and compaction by:

  • Avoiding cultivation when soil is wet
  • Increasing your soil’s organic matter and nutrient status
  • Maintaining good pasture covers and building pasture variation to promote plant and root diversity
  • Graze land that is at risk of pugging with light stock classes
  • Use light machinery rather than heavy machinery during susceptible periods of the year

Outgro’s team of consultants can reveal a great deal about your soil’s current state by accessing soil quality with one of our no-obligation farm visits and observations. Call your local field consultant today to undertake this assessment and get advice on how you can address any current problems you may have.

Another way to minimise nutrient losses to water and knowing the fate of nutrients once they enter the soils is to have a nutrient management plan made for your property. The benefits of having a nutrient management plan are that you are able to monitor your fertiliser’s performance and have an estimation of the off–farm impacts of nitrogen and phosphorus on water quality. This can enable you to put mitigation strategies in place to reduce nutrient losses and environmental impacts.
Outgro has consultants who have passed the Overseer nutrient course and can put together a nutrient plan together for you on request.

Olivia Ross
Senior Technical Field Consultant, Southland
027 555 6345,

New Approved Applicator in Milton – Lister Helicopters

We would like to welcome Lister Helicopters to the Outgro team as an approved applicator. Based in Milton, South Otago, Alister and Nadine Lister operate two Hughes 500E aircraft equipped with Tracmap GPS and fine particle spray equipment suitable for Outgro products. With a farming background and the ability to offer a personal service from a family owned and operated perspective, we feel Lister Helicopters will be a key part of Outgro continuing to provide quality end-to-end service to our customers in the region. We look forward to working with Lister Helicopters.

What’s on the Calendar

Central District Field Days
12 – 14 MARCH 2015
Outgro will remain at sites O51 and O52