Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Ground Effect®, Spring 2018


Welcome to the seventh edition of Ground Effect

Download your copy of Ground Effect Edition 7 - Spring 2018

This edition of Ravensdown’s Ground Effect brings together the latest science, technologies and real-life examples of smarter farming in New Zealand. We look to industry thought leaders like Dr Jacqueline Rowarth for her timely perspective on greenhouse gas emissions, and to Precision Agriculture Association New Zealand Chairman Roger Robson-Williams to hear how precision agriculture can help us achieve our environmental goals. DairyNZ’s Logan Bowler explains how green water recycling can help reduce the water requirements in dairy systems, and we check in with Zespri CEO Dan Mathieson to hear about their successful value-add strategy for Zespri Green kiwifruit.

We explore the science of ClearTech with Professors Keith Cameron and Hong Di of Lincoln University and Ravensdown Effluent Technology Manager Jamie Thompson talks about ClearTech application and outcomes in a dairy farm system. Dr Ants Roberts presents his thoughts on plant biostimulants and how research in this area could lead to developments to assist farm productivity and sustainability.

A visit to Ātihau-Whanganui Incorporation’s Ohorea Station near Raetihi looks at how the Māori Farming Group is working to establish strong environmental stewardship across their vast and varied landholdings, using technology such as Ravensdown’s PGP programme to ensure their fertiliser is targeted to the areas that most require it. We travel north to the Kaipara Harbour to visit Ravensdown Director Glen Inger’s large-scale avocado orchard which was once a dairy farm, learning about the specifics of growing the ‘super’ fruit and the market opportunities along the way. Then it is back to Mid Canterbury to visit Wakanui farmers and world- record wheat tonnage holders Eric and Maxine Watson to find out how they use smarter farming techniques like precision agriculture and Precision Nutrient Management in their system to optimise their arable production.

As always, we have gathered thoughts and timely advice from the experts within our own four walls. Further expansion on the Precision Nutrient Management techniques referred to in the Watson’s arable operation is led by Senior Agri Managers Dan Copland and Andrew Airey, who explain the principles and benefits of reducing paddock variability through targeted fertiliser applications and the steps required to do this. Animal Health Product Manager Dr Julie Wagner and Independent Veterinary Parasitologist Dr Mark Vickers discuss the important role adult ewes play in controlling and reducing the contamination of worms on pasture. Upper North Island Agronomist Tim Russell talks about managing pasture surpluses and deficits in spring to ensure quality and persistence in pastures through to summer, while Ground Spreading Manager Stephanie Laird covers smarter spreading principles to give you the best bang-for-buck when it comes to your fertiliser spend.

External contributors such as Alan Pollard, CEO of New Zealand Apples and Pears Inc, tells us how careful market development, orchard efficiencies and the development of new varieties has propelled the apple industry forward. Ravensdown director Bruce Wills explains how he turned the thistle burden around on his Hawke’s Bay property with the release of a handful of tiny insects, and how biological controls are an exciting tool for the future. In a time of heightened biosecurity, the Bio-Protection Research Centre is working hard to develop solutions that maintain our natural and farmed environments. Finally, we hear from Cropmark about the journey fodder beet seed makes from France and the stringent requirements it must meet to be sold in New Zealand.

We hope you enjoy the insight, food-for-thought and leadership presented in this issue. If you would like to get in touch about a contribution to Ground Effect please email us at