Last week I called in to see one of our central North Island customers, the Pacey’s. Lynda and Mac Pacey have farmed on the edge of Lake Rerewhakaaitu since 1981 and now their son Mark has returned home and is running the farm.
The Pacey’s have been involved in the Lake Rerewhakaaitu catchment monitoring group since its inception. At the recent Fertiliser and Lime Research Centre Workshop, outcomes from this group were discussed in a couple of presentations and one theme that came through was the engagement of the majority of the farmers within the catchment in the work of the group. I was interested to learn from the Pacey’s why they thought the group has been so successful, and also about how they are finding the Regen services.
Sitting at the table there is a lovely view out over the lake. Talking about the various activities of the group since it began Mac reflects that the reason he believes it has been so successful is that almost all the farmers surrounding the lake use the lake for their recreation. It is a great water-skiing lake and this is a big part of the community. So they all have a vested interest in ensuring they each do their best to maintain and improve the lake qualities for themselves, and their families, to continue to enjoy in years to come.
The group has been a forum that they can each find out about ways they need to modify their farming practice to ensure that they have minimal impact on the lake quality and to get some specialist advice and support. This approach has been working, as the quality of the lake has been maintained since the project began, with every farmer making some changes to their system but nothing too radical.
Using Regen services has been part of the Pacey’s commitment to continue to improve their farm management. They recognise that getting up-to-date farm information means they are making decisions based on what is actually happening, not a general approximation. The daily effluent irrigation text has linked with the work they have done on testing the application rate of the two travelling irrigators and one pod, and will help them work out how best to extend the irrigation area on the farm and decisions about effluent storage.
Nitrogen is not a big part of their fertiliser regime, but they usually apply some in spring with their capital and maintenance fertiliser if the conditions are right. They were very complimentary of the nitrogen app, finding it easy to use and understand. When I asked what else would be useful features in later versions their answers supported the other feedback we have had from farmers; forecasting how soil conditions might change over the month, and how it linked to pasture growth rates. I am taking these ideas back to the office and they go up on the wall as part of our planning process.
It was great to spend some time with the Pacey’s and to learn how they are getting new information and ideas into their business. I’m proud that farmers like Lynda, Mac and Mark are choosing Regen to be part of their farm operations.