Demonstration farm turning to dairying

Maurice Hardie.
Maurice Hardie.
Southland Demonstration Farm (SDF) at Wallacetown, near Invercargill, is changing from operating a leased farm to establishing the Southern Dairy Hub.

SDF chairman Maurice Hardie commended the vision of Pam Brock and her late husband Stephen for the provision of their farm, which had contributed immensely to raising the profile and productivity of dairy farming in Southland.

"Nine years ago, farm owners Stephen and Pam Brock made their Wallacetown dairy farm available to the southern dairy industry to showcase dairy farming in Southland.

"Over this time, the farm has grown into a leading example of low cost, highly productive sustainable dairy farming. It has helped generate national interest in further research and demonstration that will occur through the soon to be established Southern Dairy Hub.''

The leased farm had enabled SDF to demonstrate the value of a locally-run demonstration farm, partake in industry research programmes and demonstrate a range of successful outcomes, Mr Hardie said.

Those included the value of new pasture species, implications and opportunities with wintering-on, the use of fodder beet, staff work hours management and health and safety initiatives.

The intention was to continue the lease for another 12 months but an agreement had been reached with the Brock family for them to resume management of the farm in line with the original agreement.

The new farm was under conditional purchase and would be converted to an 800-cow research and demonstration dairy farm for the wider Southern region.

As the Southern Dairy Hub, it would continue the work of demonstrating profitable, sustainable farming systems, while also undertaking large-scale 200-cow farm systems research.

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