Want to increase your farm efficiency and productivity in dairy, beef and sheep? Valley Seeds’ Northern Victoria and Gippsland Regional Manager Andrew Wood can help.
“Not long ago I visited a large dairy operation in the Northern Victoria region. The farm had a new manager who needed to get across a bunch of different issues. We went for a walk and I worked out quickly that the herd were getting a lot of starch and not enough microbial protein to utilise it. We changed the ration slightly and within a few days the cows had a milk response of 3L which was a terrific result.”
With decades of experience in animal nutrition and a deep understanding of the dairy industry, Andrew offers farmers a highly sought-after blend of skills. Helping farmers achieve their goals is what he loves to do.
“When I drive onto a farm, straight away I’m observing what’s going on in the paddocks and surrounds so I can ask the farmer the right questions. We’ll talk about what their challenges are and what they want to focus on. We’ll go for a farm walk to look at the pasture and livestock, look at what feed’s on offer, quality of fodder, the herd’s condition and overall health. Then after a farm walk, we discuss areas of focus, and I these use visual observations and data available to assist the farmers decisions.”
Andrew also has his own business called Redwood Agsolutions and an impressive record with businesses like Fonterra, Lactalis, X-Zelit ™ and Lely robotic milking systems. This experience means he can assess things quickly and identify solutions to challenges on the farm.
“I love the dairy industry because every farm is different and there are always challenges to assist farmers with. Managing farm inputs, looking at costs of production, utilising pasture/fodder well is a constant challenge because of seasonal challenges and variable input costs. I get a lot of satisfaction increasing your productivity by working out the cows’ needs and requirements.”
Andrew says productivity and efficiency comes back to animal nutrition, and putting in the right pasture for the region is key. “All farmers are bug farmers, it’s about getting the bugs in the soil and rumen to work with you. Make the farm work for itself and get the livestock to do the work.”
“Nutrition is all about balancing diet with feed available on the farm to work out what supplements the livestock needs to optimise their productivity. The next step is to look at the farmer’s feed budgeting and farm plans. On the back of this we’ll work out the best Valley Seeds varieties to meet their pasture growth curves.”
Selecting the right pasture and fodder varieties to suit feed gaps and meeting energy and protein requirements throughout the year is the goal. And while fodder is important, it’s equally key to balance the livestock’s energy, protein and NDF (neutral detergent fibre).
Backed with trial data, Valley Seeds has a proven portfolio of varieties with different growth curves to suit different regions. The 100% Australian-owned business analyses enormous amounts of data from their own and independent trial sites across Australia. The data helps Valley Seeds understand trends and growth curves and where to focus their significant R&D capital investments and how to help growers make their farms more productive and profitable.
Andrew says this is the ultimate goal. “Optimising farm systems and efficiency gain inputs to achieve a customer’s goals is what we love to do. Valley Seeds understands farmers’ needs and the satisfaction seeing a farmer succeed and hit their goals is the biggest reward.”