An Ecofarmers' Discovery

Begin the journey now & discover how your soil really works?​

“What started as making observations on the farm and then enquiring into how things work and why has turned into an investigation that has taken up a fair chunk of my life. The main driving force on the farm was to always and I mean always get better at whatever we were trying to achieve.

Enduring “poor” soils to allow us to have a beautiful place to live certainly was enough to start with, but the increasing degradation of soils, rivers and our health were becoming more and more evident across the country and the world. I was able to visit and inspect so many farms all over New Zealand and many other countries so I had plenty to think about with the issues that were arising, and when these issues kept coming up as a recurring theme it gave me a chance to link the circumstances to the outcomes.

So many of these outcomes ARE NOT even considered by what you would call conventional agriculture. Research is only based on the ability to profit from selling the farmer products. There is NO other reason within the Universities and Research Centres to actually function.

Ewan taking a soil plug for a comprehensive soil test

Apart from a few that have put their careers on the line for the sake of humanity, the institutions function on MONEY. Fundamentally this may be why farmers may be very cynical of new ideas as they’ve been the target of salesmen for a long time. My Grandfather emphasised this to my father more “than once in one of his sayings “The Farmers a Great Mark!”

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What Others Are Saying…

Mike Chapman.

“After going to Ewan’s farm and listening to him speak I knew I was on to a winner. The integrity of Ewan was what I liked and his experimentation and learning through observation. His underlying goal is to get farmers thinking and take note of how important soil health is to the overall health of their farm and what is grown on it.  And becoming profitable without being locked into the bullshit science that enslaves farmers to propping up their farms with animal remedies and toxic sprays.

As far as I’m concerned there is nothing else on the market that comes close to this system.”

Mike Chapman – Organic Dairy Farmer, Manawatua

Craig & Jenny.

There’s one thing about Craig & Jenny that’s really cool, when you go to visit them they are laid back with the intention of enjoying whatever they do.

Originally they had come back to Craig’s parents farm as sharemilkers. Not a large job the property being 60hectares but progress was good leading to buying the farm off Mum and Dad.

This even in their laid back lifestyle brings a mortgage though and commitments and investigations began on how they could squeeze some more out of the farm financially.

Unlike a lot of farmers instead of diving into a costly intensification process they investigated Organics. Back in 2007 there were not many converts, but with the added incentives financially to  convert, it looked like a better option and they didn’t have to change to much in their farming operation to comply and certainly wasn’t going to add to their on farm costs.

By 2010 they had become fully certified and the original $1.05kg/ms premium had risen to $2kg/ms. This really off setting any production losses, and the farm was really running on a very low input cost system, so it all helped.

They’ve had their challenges along the way, such as dealing with mastitis without the use of antibiotics, and lice on the calves for the first couple of years, but with most things solutions were found. 

Certain things like drenching calves never got to be an issue, although there has been other challenges, that are not confined to organic farmers, such as thinning of pastures 

Over the following years production has had its ups and downs along with the recorded three wettest winters on record. Like any farm your trying to get the best out of what you do and in a way Craig & Jenny have been part of a farming revolution in that because they have been organics their inputs are somewhat limited and had to utilise their resources the best possible way they could.

But now its really stepped up to another level, one that’s changed the game altogether. 

Over time they’ve treated their soil as best as the information has allowed but certain aspects that have been overlooked by nearly all agricultural had been identified by the guys at Ecofarm and those changes are significant.

The soil has noticeably deepened and Craig has given up under sowing as it hadn’t worked and had a significant cost, yet when he looks at his pastures now there is no need. The pastures are thick and lush.

What’s even more significant is production is up 47% this year and at this rate there will be no crops just hay and silage with  farm costs around $2kg/ms with their 2019/20 forecast season payout at $8.75kg/ms.

A far cry of Dairy NZ standard costs of $4.27kg/ms from a $6.35kg/ms payout leaving plenty of scope on their profit per hectare.

All for the sake of taking some very accurate soil tests and spending $150/ha on inputs.

Lifestyle just got a lot better, less work more time and money to go do what they want to do.

Whether conventional or organic farmer wouldn’t you like to discover what the limiting factors are on your farm, and how much you can profit from knowing.

Craig & Jenny Stockly – Organic Dairy Farmers, Waikato


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