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MaiaGrazing on the Map: on location in New Zealand

MaiaGrazing on the Map: on location in New Zealand
Written by
Sheeda Cheng
Published on
March 7, 2019

The team at Rehoboth Farm in Clinton, New Zealand, have big plans for the next 12 months, including growing 10,000 kg of dry matter per hectare per year and producing better forage and grain crops, with significantly less input, all whilst utilising regenerative farming principles.

Hamish Bielski of Rehoboth Farm, a 276 hectare cow and sheep breeding operation, said he had identified a clear need to improve their grazing management in order to achieve their goals.“MaiaGrazing allows us to look at big picture trends on our farm, but also the day-to-day recording of stock movements. We now have a foundation to build in real-time pasture growth rates of each management area, which allows us to make earlier, more informed decisions,” he said.“We need to know up-to-date pasture growth rates, moisture levels and information on when to start reducing stocking rate to protect our ecology. The MaiaGrazing platform is directly assisting us with these decisions,” Hamish said.

Hamish recently hosted a farming field day at his property and he told the audience that graziers faced big challenges in the future and that the way they farmed in the future would be different to how they have farmed in the past, or even how they are farming now.“We are seeing a lack of profitability for smaller farms and more extended and intense dry periods here in New Zealand. Applying regenerative farming principles at Rehoboth Farm is working to increase our pasture yields with less inputs like fertilisers and sprays and the utilisation of innovative technology, like MaiaGrazing, means we are best equipped to make good management decisions day in, day out,” he said.

Regenerative agricultural practices were introduced at Rehoboth Farm about three years ago after Hamish was inspired by the research of Dr Christine Jones, a passionate advocate for regenerative land management techniques.“I am focussed on growing the highest quality food, improving the environment and being profitable, all at the same time,” he said.

He started planting a Winter crop mix of kale, ryecorn-oats, faba beans, hairy vetch, crimson and Persian clovers, prairie grass and sunflowers to help restore compacted soils and he has been pleased with the results.Using MaiaGrazing is equipping us to predict the future tipping points of stocking rates and the Grazing Plans help us get through low pasture growth months,” he said.

Hamish was raised on a farm and his first job was at Smedley Station at age 18, which he says “laid a strong foundation” for his continuing career in agriculture.

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