Review, Updates & 2009

Well let's start with an update of the last month!!
Northland Field-days; Dargaville
The Organic Promotions site saw a steady flow of farmers and input/service providers flow through over the first two days. Many a good discussion was had on grose, kaikuyu, whether anyone was picking up organic milk in Northland (which they are) and in general just how close many farmers are to certification.
The sheep and beef were not in short supply either with a good number of contacts made and issues dealt with. It would appear that a sizeable supply base does exist in Northland and with a little work would be able to establish a year round supply of top line certified beef into the market.
The third day was cancelled due to the weather. I support the committee in this decision-the ground is too soft after rain to hold the marquee pegs---they will need to look at double pegging.
All in all a most successful event.

Central Districts Field-days; Fielding.
Arriving in gale force winds and heavy rain I was glad of the heavy soils. Marquee up and into the setup. The 3 days were all action packed with the full spectrum of questions. 2000 laying hens to 400 acres at Wellington, plenty of 30 to 100ha drystock blocks that can link together to fatten /finish stock and some large(6000acre) drystock and dairy(60-1500 cow) units---the markets are there.
I had a chap wander in to the marquee; he is the head of the Swedish Government Organic Advisory board, we had a good talk and he then spent the following week with the OrganicAg Pastoral Group.

We were joined on site by Rural Trader, a new website service for farmers. check it out at

 The Organic Dairy & Pastoral Group also had a display on the OrganicAg site; a shame that the sector organisations can not see the important of representation at these regional farmer focused events.
Again a very exciting and rewarding trip.
OrganicAg Pastoral Extension group.
The annual 2 day event was held at Paeroa. We started with a visit to Chaos Springs and viewed the compost, compost tea, weed brews, etc before heading to the back of the 200 acre farm.
In the afternoon we had Jerry Brunnetti speak on the ‘rumen as an ecosystem'. A most interesting topic and reinforced so much of what the OrganicAg members are doing on farm.
The evening saw the OrganicAg dinner followed by conversation until very late; of course this was aided with redheads', tall blondes' and some long blacks' (organic beer from Nelson). Wednesday breakfast at AgriSea followed by a great tour through this seaweed plant, out to Environmental Fertilisers at Kerepehi and then to Jenneraytions Organic Dairy farm to share their vision. What a great couple of days with some 45 people present.
Organic Expo; Matamata.
The 19th saw the reintroduction of Organic Promotions Organic Expo. We had good exhibitor numbers and excellent farmer involvement. The general comment from exhibitors was that again we had delivered cheque book clients not tyre kickers-many had a better commercial outcome than the 3 day events of the last month.
Jerry Brunetti;
Jerry did a day in Gore for the Southern Organic Group. This saw some 90 people enjoy his presentation.
Jerry joined the OrganicAg programme for the full 2 days of the annual event. The farmers enjoyed the one on one opportunity as well as the group situations. Many arranged appointments with Jerry in the OrganicAg lounge at the expo to discuss aspects of their own farm-this was most useful.
At the expo Jerry also spoke with a number of non-members.
Friday saw Jerry present to input/service providers, around 20 all of whom have reported satisfaction with the event. The topic was again ‘the rumen as an ecosystem', this was followed by a question answer/discussion section lead by the group. The outcome is a far deeper appreciation of the relationship between the soil and the animal and what's in between.
He then met with a small group including an oncologist in Auckland before the evening event (110 people)for the Western Price Foundation on Nutrition and Human Health.
All in all Jerry has inspired some hundreds of people in his ten days here.
We are in discussions with Jerry re visits later in the year and in 2010.

Homeopathic Information Services (HIS) workshops;
Tineke of HIS Ltd will be delivering her workshops in April/May around the country. Check out the dates and detail on the OrganicAg events calendar. These are excellent for ALL staff and are FREE.
OrganicAg Pastoral Extension Group.
The dates are now on the website for the balance of 2009.
The groups are seeing steady growth and more than steady involvement from members.
If you have not joined yet consider the cost of $900 pa as an investment.
Russell Simmons of our Carbon sponsor ‘The New Zealand Organic Dairy Cooperative Ltd' has a wall hanging;
‘if you think the cost of education is expensive-try ignorance!!'

With it now been autumn it is important to be looking at the inputs and management systems within your operation. Every decision should be based around the question ‘how does this relate to the soil biology?' this applies to nutrient inputs, crop choice, livestock management, pasture management. It is the combination of these that will determine the size and timing of the spring bounce /kick. It is also the time to get tree or supplementary planting underway. I would like to see a minimum of 4 ‘trees' on every fence line in the country. This would I believe give far more return to the country over a far longer term than the national bike way!!
What ‘tree' ? from my point of view one that will grow quickly and easly. Don't be shy about putting in a pole (poplar, willow, paulownia, etc) that is 3metres tall and 150mm thick---it will out do a small pole and give results in the first 12 months. Natives that are of a good size-flaxes-fruit trees-as long as the stock can eat the leafs/fruit and they provide shelter(wind/sun) get them planted. If you get these quick growing items in the slower growing one can be planted later in the adjusted environment-you then can cut out the first planting if needed.
By the end of April we will have material on this on the website.
The OrganicAg calendar has been updated so check and see what is coming up with OrganicAg and other providers in this field.



Bill Quinn
Organic Promotions.

Organics'--integrity through transparency'