Sponsored by the Oamaru Club, Robyn C introduced Sven who was part of the Rotary Study Exchange group that visited Tasmania earlier this year to learn more about Farming Technology. Some of you may have heard him speak at Conference, as a noted speaker, Sven is now doing the Rotary Club circuit captivating and enlightening members about his wonderful experience.Managing a 800 cow dairy farm in Nagapara near Oamaru with his wife and three children has been a positive career move from a pilot for Mainland Air. He feels lucky to be working for owners who are quick to embrace technology. His Fonterra supplying, intergenerational property is modernised enough that milking is a 1 man, 2 ½ hour operation.
Nestled in a beautiful part of North Otago complete with a swagman’s cave, moari rock drawings and more importantly, modern housing. As a young man Sven, like the owners, is open to and actively seeks better and more efficient ways to add value to production. For example the cows have collars relaying vital information and blue pods deliver 15 mls of “rain” per day going where the pivots can’t go, both vital tools in his day to day management.
Like many of us in the room, I was fascinated by Sven’s experiences and photos. He learnt a lot not only from the places he visited but also from those around him whose agricultural interests differed from his. Whether it was in value add ons, the power of social media to promote your business, a system based, corporate farming in an excessively clean and tidy farm operation or a sense of pride in copied and adapted NZ farming Systems, Sven gleaned what information he could through the various farming practices the group visited. He did note that while Tasmania is ahead in diversification and the pros and cons of value add ons, they are surprisingly well behind in Health and Safety. Sven was quite intrigued by some notable differences in thinking and spending i.e feed costs.
Visits included a Lavender Farm, Cloverlea Dairy Farm, Ashgrove Tasmanian Cheese Farm, a Truffle and Organic Farming operations. All had their own systems that made them standouts in their respective fields. From a farming background myself, I thoroughly enjoyed listening to Sven’s presentation. As Don mentioned in his thank you, how beneficial this trip had obviously been for the likes of Sven and his career. This particular program was not originally available to Rotarians, however tonight’s presentation only highlights the value in the exchange of ideas, experiences and learning opportunities enabling people like Sven in their professional development.