Organic Farm Systems – Autumn Update

It has been a busy season for Organic Farm systems, primarily with a major organic dairy project underway. There has also been many good field days this year, and I am particularly looking forward to catching up with Dr Christine Jones at a nearby field day at the start of May, and working with Dr Graham Shepherd later this year.

Lecture with Dr Graham Shepherd

Trial work with seaweed at Stevenson’s has been interesting with VSA’s showing a marked increase in worm populations over a three-year period, even with a significant intervening dry period.

Early trial of George’s mixed brassica
Visual Soil Assessment with George – 63 worms!!

It has also been enjoyable to meet the many visitors to New Zealand this year including US veterinarian Dr Paul Dettloff and Dan Mosgaller of US organic dairy co-op Organic Valley.

Field day with Dr Paul Dettloff at Clearwater’s farm, Geraldine.

It was also good to get away for a break to Cambodia, Vietnam and Singapore. Even on holiday you still taking note of, ask and learn about different agricultural and ecological systems. Once a farmer, always a farmer. Thanks to all my clients for your support this year, keep up the good work!

Rice fields being replanted after a major flood a few month prior, near Hoi An, Vietnam. The flood waters reached half way up the power pole (about 10ft), or 1st floor of the pink house.
Mixed agricultural systems on a small Island on the Thu Bon River, Vietnam (not my bike…)
Weren’t meant to be heading up the road that way!
Traditional mat weaving, Vietnam


You can have your cake (steak) and eat it! Allan Savory – TedX

Ever heard of the saying “Can’t have your Cake and Eat it”. Allan Savory shows we can have our cake (or more fittingly Steak) and eat it on the subject of climate change and livestock.  If you have never heard of Allan Savory, his ideas and work are well worth looking into. A excellent example of how we could all make a difference, in a win-win future. There are many New Zealand farmers applying this management successfully. From 2013 – 22 mins.



Organic day with US Vet

Learn transition and animal health tips from an expert USA organic vet – March 2018

Dr Paul Dettloff is the most senior and experienced organic vet in the United States. For the last 25 years he has worked for Organic Valley Dairies, the largest organic dairy cooperative in the world, with 2300 farms. He is on the point of retiring and has brought hundreds of dairy farms onto the Organic Valley truck. His specialised knowledge and approachable style of teaching is unmatched for practical value to farmers. He will teach establishing animal health and production from the soil up, ways to treat health issues and demonstrate how to assess animal health and production from cow vital signs and hair coat. Valuable for both dairy and sheep/beef farmers.

1 March – Fonterra Organic Dairy Conference for suppliers, by invitation only. New Plymouth
5 March – ODPG Workshop, Paterson Farm, 1931 State Highway 27, Patetonga, Waikato 10am to 4pm. $100pp, ODPG members $75. Teas and lunch provided.
8 March – Southern Organics Group Workshop, James Cummings Wing Bld. Gore, Southland 10am to 4pm. $50 pp for non-members, free for SOG members. Teas provided. BYO Lunch.
13 March – ODPG Workshop, Clearview Dairy, 793 Peel Forest Road, Geraldine, Canterbury 10am to 4pm. $100pp, ODPG members $75. Teas and lunch provided.

Registration required by one week in advance. Please email to save your space. Bring cash or a cheque on the day.

Visit and for details

Busy Start for Organic Farm Systems

It’s been a busy start for a new business – I’ve been working flat out with a number of clients across sheep, beef, dairy and cropping since start up in June. There’s also all the usual new business stuff to deal with – like “blogs”.

There has also been a number of events for natural, biological and organic farmers around the country that I have attended.


There was a good turnout at the field day at Bryan and Jackie Clearwaters property at Peel Forest, with guest speakers Phyllis Tichinin and Graham Shepherd. (top)

Early in the year the Southern Organic Group farm discussion group meet near Dipton to look over a dairy farm that has started to convert to organic operation. (below) There is another event coming up next week with the Southern Organic Group on Thursday the 9th of November which features Graham Shepherd. Contact me for more details…