Wednesday, July 6, 2022

System fits resources

Fang Ma Peng could have been made a state-of-the-art NZ-style farming model, but it would have been beyond the reach of local farmers.

Instead it is pitched at a level where existing resources are used.

Spray and broadcasting of pastures has been successful but there is a need for training, technology and machinery to help manage the feed problem.

Massey University farm manager Martin Chesterfield was brought over to demonstrate how to build good-quality wire fences.

Fang Ma Peng has improved the water supply for staff, animals and some of the local villages.

Tim Harvey has helped lift the animal husbandry side, but more technical and applied help is needed.

Tim said provincial government wanted some private ownership on farms like Fang Ma Peng and Dushan, but still wanted training for farmers. He believes there is an opportunity to have that once they are making a profit and returning a dividend.

Tim should know – he has had experience with managing change. He took over the running of Massey farms 20 years ago when they were losing $250,000 a year. He separated the farms from the academic side of the university and got the operating surplus at $1 million a year after five years. Academics could use the farms but had to pay for research activity. Tim was also involved with the changes at MATech in the 1980s  and the importation of the exotic sheep.

Next issue: The people behind the projects.

The sheep-goat yards designed by Tim Harvey.

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