Wednesday, 10 February 2021

Ground Effect - Autumn 2021


Welcome to the 12th edition of Ground Effect from Ravensdown

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Ground Effect® has always been about smarter farming. Every farmer case study, agronomic insight and scientific breakthrough has been based on one assumption – that however efficient, environmentally considerate or consumer-focused New Zealand farming is, there are always things that can be improved.  

Well, when it comes to growing food for people or livestock, smarter farming has never been so important to this country. As New Zealand grapples with economic recovery, its primary sector is leading the world when it comes to attempts at squaring the circle of production and environmental impact. An unsubsidised sector that is already efficient, capable of innovation and supported by excellent academic horsepower is in the best position to show the world how ‘scalable sustainability’ could work.  

That’s why the government’s new freshwater proposals and other environmental regulations are so important and feature so prominently in this edition. Federated Farmers’ Environmental Spokesman Chris Allen kicks off a discussion around rule-making while Massey University's Professor Paul Moughan also points out the importance of protein quality when talking about sustainable production.  

Several articles are devoted to pasture variability, management and composition, especially the value of legumes in a nitrogen-capped environment. On page 23, there’s a great exploration of how to improve the response to nitrogen (N) fertiliser and on page 24 an on-farm view of reducing N fertiliser without losing performance. After all, nitrogen is merely a tool and its over-use or under-use comes with associated costs.  

Less typical insights are relayed from Hayden Hape from Ngāti Kahungunu who talks diversification and the virtues of hemp, while the Meat Industry Association’s Sirma Karapeeva talks of the $3 billion dollars that halal processing is worth to New Zealand.  Academic powerhouse Keith Woodford and the founder of the Agri Women’s Development Trust Lindy Nelson discuss leadership – the latter recording a podcast for our readers.  

The curiosity, passion and insights of all the contributors and so many more involved in the food creation “system” of New Zealand is truly humbling. Smarter farming may never have been more necessary, but it is also in safe hands.  

As always, I hope you enjoy this edition of Ground Effect®. Please let us know if there’s anything you’d like covered in future editions.  

Greg Campbell, CEO

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