Farm environmental compliance requirements are still front and centre with many farmers. I frequently find farmer discussions are dominated by the confusion around winter grazing requirements alongside the unknown of freshwater farm plan roll-out and greenhouse gases pricing. When coupled with existing end of year environmental reporting requirements this can trigger more than the occasional expletive!
Good record keeping is key to minimising the impact these requirements have on the farm business. Data platforms such as Hawkeye, MyBallance, FarmIQ, Trev, Precision Farming, ProductionWise etc. can make data management much easier, as well as add value. Having this information easily available also makes it cheaper to complete your Overseer nutrient budget and update your Farm Environment Plan.
Overseer budgets contain valuable information. A good consultant should be identifying and explaining changes in nitrogen and phosphorus loss to you, alongside greenhouse gas emissions. Some regions of Canterbury such as Selwyn and Hinds have nitrogen reductions that will need to be demonstrated this season, so taking the time to ‘understand and get things right’ will provide peace of mind that your farm system is viable for the long term.
An advantage (yes there is one!) of this new compliance data is that it can be used to support farm financial decision-making. Overseer nutrient budgets and farm environment plans, used in conjunction with a Farmax analysis allow operating costs to be scrutinised and the targeting of capital improvements.
Winter is also a good time of year for soil testing if you’ve free-draining soils. Winter testing allows next seasons fertiliser recommendations to be aligned with your actual needs, it also ensures pastures can be ready to maximise early spring growth. Whether you test the same paddocks for representative trends over time, have a focus on paddocks going into crop, or paddocks which have underproduced, or test every paddock on farm, having good data with which to make fertiliser decisions is key. The N-Cap regulations, farm environment plans and farm assurance programs all have requirements that you may also need to consider for the upcoming season, like managing within the 190 kg N limit, wintering rules for crops, completing cadmium tests, and visual soil assessments.
Alongside water and irrigation management, Primary Insight are also specialists in nutrient and compliance management. If you are wanting independent fertiliser recommendations, farm plans and consenting advice, need support with an audit, or want to work through a farm system change from a financial and environmental perspective, we can help.