Full benefits only realised with farmer use

Published: Mon 19 Jan 2015 07:03 PM
Full benefits only realised with farmer use
Product innovation and technology breakthroughs coming out of the Ballance Agri-Nutrients Clearview Innovations Primary Growth Partnership programme are going to deliver some real results for farming, and for New Zealand. However, the full benefits will only be realised when farmers start using them.
Ballance Science Extension Manager Ian Tarbotton says a key part of the co-operative’s $19.5 million programme, co-funded by the Ministry for Primary Industries’ Primary Growth Partnership, is on-farm support to help farmers understand what these innovations can do for them, and how to use them.
“With the first of our products, such as N-Guru, now becoming available for use on-farm, there’s a significant piece of work going on to make it easy for farmers to do just that.
“Every farm and every farmer is different, and this philosophy has been the cornerstone of our work. We are tailoring our training approach, taking into consideration the farmer, farm type and their desired goals and outcomes.
“We are also customising the extension plan for each of our new products so that farmers can quickly understand what it is we’re offering, and we’re backing each one up with research, case studies, experience and reviews.”
Supporting Ballance’s field team is a team of eight Science Extension Specialists who provide ongoing training and support. In addition to upskilling the team on the latest science, research and development, they provide support for best practice use of Overseer, and regional policy differences are also incorporated into training.
Mr Tarbotton said that farmers need to know what the specific product, service or technology can do for them on their own farm – not the farm down the road. They also need to know if it’s going to be sustainable, and understand how it fits with regional policies around nutrient loss.
“Much of our science and its application is around increasing the amount of nutrients that go from the fertiliser into the final product be it milk, meat, crops or wool, and not lost to the external environment.
“For farmers, seeing is believing, so when we go out on farm, we will be working closely with our customers, showing them the science, making sure it fits with their needs, and giving them confidence in the results they can expect to see.”

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