Grass into Gold: Doing the simple things right nets a winning result

Morrinsville, 15 January: Winning the best new pasture category of DairyNZ’s annual Pasture Renewal Persistence Competition was a pleasant surprise for Aaron this summer.


And it also showed you don’t need the latest equipment to get pastures off to a successful start, he says.


Aaron and Sarah sharemilk two Waikato properties, including 80 ha at Tahuna where the winning pasture was sown in autumn 2015.


It is a mix of Trojan perennial ryegrass, Kotare and Weka white clovers, Safin cocksfoot and Tuscan red clover. 


This was the second time Aaron entered the DairyNZ pasture competition and while he was pleased with the way the new Trojan mix was looking when he filled in the online form, he didn’t expect to win.


“You never know what other people’s new grass looks like! I was really pleased to find out we’d won when they contacted us. We do all the renewal ourselves; it was broadcast then rolled, so there was nothing fancy about the sowing.


“It shows that doing the simple things right works – having the right seed bed, making sure it’s well compacted, that sort of thing. Getting those basics right is the key rather than having the latest seed drill!”


Because the paddocks were established early, the Prices were able to get their first grazing done before the weather turned wet and that made a big difference, Aaron says.


“And we’ve also used more N this year on the new grass paddocks – 40kg/ha in spring – because they are growing so quickly they just need that extra boost of nutrients.”


Judges for the DairyNZ competition look not only for a great, weed-free pasture but also at how it has been established and how entrants plan and implement their overall pasture renewal plan.


Aaron scored well across the board, and deserves to be congratulated, says Barenbrug farm systems manager Graham Kerr.


There will be a field day and presentation at Aaron and Sarah Price’s Tahuna farm on 23 February; keep an eye out for more details.


The DairyNZ Pasture Renewal Persistence competition began in the upper North Island after the 2007/08 droughts caused severe pasture damage. It is run by the Pasture Improvement Leadership Group and aims to encourage farmers to share good news stories about persistence.


Barenbrug cultivars took out both the new pasture category with Aaron, and the category for best pasture three years and over. This went to a 10 year old mix of Alto and Arrow ryegrass on Noldy Rust’s Pirongia farm.


The winning best new pasture Trojan perennial ryegrass paddock: