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Profitability and palatability attract farmers

Todd & Donna Oliver

Todd and Donna Oliver's decision to use Hatuma Dicalcic Phosphate® on Kohunui Station at Aria in the King Country was driven by a desire to find a proven and reputable fertiliser that was more environmentally sustainable than what they'd been using, without compromising profitability.

"We spoke to other farmers who had been using Hatuma Dicalcic Phosphate for a number of years and they were more than satisfied with the results they were experiencing, while topdressing pilots considered the product very user-friendly and safe to fly. We also had a tour of Hatuma's plant to see first-hand how the product is manufactured. Soon after we decided to give it a try," says Todd.  Donna says profitability is a priority to their operation and it was important any introduction of a new fertiliser product was going to maintain the current profit levels.

"Using Hatuma Dicalcic has certainly done this for us and we have been surprisingly pleased with the flow-on cost benefits the product has also given us in other areas like reduced animal health costs and metabolic problems in the livestock, and improved palatability."

Results you can see

The Oliver's began using Hatuma Dicalcic Phosphate® four years ago and they say they have no regrets.

"Soon after we applied Hatuma Dicalcic Phosphate we found the paddocks were being grazed more evenly. Sheep and cattle started going to the corners of paddocks they previously ignored. By year two we noticed a visual difference. We've always had a reasonable quantity of clover, but we've now noticed there is a more even spread throughout our pastures and definitely more earthworms in the ground," says Todd. Todd says they used to apply superphosphate but they found the blend of lime and Hatuma Dicalcic Phosphate® produced better results.

"We farm 25,000 stock units on two properties that total 2,500 hectares, so the price and value for money is important to us. Hatuma Dicalcic Phosphate is 15 to 20 percent cheaper than the superphosphate we were using and it's also kept our animal health bill down. We used to annually vaccinate the majority of our cattle with copper, but we haven't needed to since using Hatuma fertiliser. Metabolic problems within our cows have noticeably declined and staggers or milk fever is something we now rarely experience."

Better for the environment

This year 600 tonnes of Hatuma's 'No.8S' blend (80% Hatuma DP sulphur / 20% Hatuma Generate Lime) was spread across the Oliver's property, with a further 200 tonnes of Hatuma's 'No.9S' (60% Hatuma DP sulphur / 40% Hatuma Generate Lime) on a development block. Both applications were spread at 300kg/ha. Donna says they are conscious of the ever-increasing pressure farmers are under to adopt more sustainable practices.

"It's reassuring to know we've taken a proactive measure to look after the environment by using a non-water soluble product. Hatuma Dicalcic Phosphate has got longevity and it's more sustainable. We're not running the risk of losing nutrients into waterways. We have a large boundary along the Mokau River with many of its subsidiaries running through our farm, so we have a responsibility to protect several waterways."

Improved productivity

As a result of better grass quality, the Oliver's have moved from mainly fattening bulls to a conventional system of running more breeding cows and ewes. They now fatten 6,500 lambs between 17kg and 18.5kg and buy in an extra 3,000 store lambs in a good year.

"Hatuma Dicalcic has made this change in stocking policy effective by improving the palatability of the lesser-productive country the bulls wouldn't normally graze unless they were pushed. Our beef cows have taken a real liking to the increased palatability on the steeper sidlings and have helped convert these areas into better quality, fertile pasture which are now more profitable as I can utilise them to fatten other classes of livestock such as lambs and steers.

The change to a more conventional system in combination with Hatuma Dicalcic has been a success. I also believe we've recovered a good portion of the income we lost from reducing our bull numbers by improving the less productive areas, along with the cost-effectiveness of using Hatuma. Our staff really appreciate the variety of stock work the farm now provides and I enjoy farming a lot more these days."

Available locally

The Oliver's don't need to travel far to get their fertiliser anymore. The strong demand for Hatuma's fertiliser in the King Country and Waikato regions has led to local and well-respected Rorisons RMD Ltd to join the Hatuma Network of lime quarries to now manufacture Hatuma Dicalcic Phosphate®.

"We are keen to see Hatuma Dicalcic being produced near us and are pleased to support a locally manufactured product. There are benefits to be gained from buying within the region. Rorisons RMD Ltd are a well-known, family-owned company who over the decades have done a lot for the district by employing local people, supporting community events and investing in local businesses. With this newly formed joint venture, other farmers can now take advantage of a quality, environmentally friendly fertiliser being produced in their region, plus gain the benefits of buying a locally produced product."