ANIMAL HEALTH THE BIG WINNER
Lime flour and magnesium oxide, applied to pasture, have helped improve Jeff and Petri Bellamy’s animal health.
Jeff & Petri Bellamy
Taranaki, 150 Cows, 70 Hectares
Tow and Fert Multi 1000 Owner
Jeff and Petri Bellamy’s farming journey has changed direction, with some amazing results.
Coming from a system 5 farm with 850 cows in the heart of the Waikato to a small boutique style farm in Taranaki was a change that Jeff and Petri Bellamy were not expecting when they decided they wanted to purchase and run their own farm.
Originally, they had wanted to stay in the Waikato however prices were prohibitive for entering into owning your own farm. With that in mind their Bank Manager suggested they look on the West Coast of the South Island.
Down on the West Coast, Jeff and Petri spent almost 9 months looking for their perfect farm. Whilst searching for a farm of their own Jeff was also looking at farm equipment and specifically a fert spreader when he says, he “stumbled upon” the Tow and Fert.
Jeff says “I think it was a YouTube video that started our journey down the rabbit hole of Tow and Fert”
Above: The Tow and Fert Multi 1000.
Jeff and Petri’s farm in southern Taranaki is an open book. With very few inputs on the farm in the past, Jeff and Petri are venturing into a different type of farming.
Jeff tells the story of how he and petri bought their farm in South Taranaki, a complete change to intensive farming in the Waikato.
For Jeff and Petri that Tow and Fert video became the catalyst for a complete change in thinking. They had thought that the machine would be perfect for reducing their ‘N’ inputs by 40% and saving money. When the farm on the West Coast they had their eye on fell through they began looking closer to home in Taranaki for something suitable.
Now at home on the farm in Mokoia, South Taranaki their farm is an open book. Both Jeff and Petri have had to ‘learn farming all over again’ due the complete change in system. On this farm they walked onto a farm that presented a clean slate. It had had minimal inputs over the years so there were no preordained input systems or products to follow or wean the property off. Instead, Jeff and Petrie have been able to begin a journey to a different type of dairy farming.
Jeff says “Michael came and visited us with a Tow and Fert machine and that was an eye-opener that started our thought patterns to go somewhere different to where we had been. The Tow and Fert became the catalyst to thinking outside of where we had normally been.”
“In the end no matter which system we decided to run we locked in on the Tow and Fert.”
And now on the farm in Taranaki Jeff says that he has not even used the Tow and Fert for Urea “On our farm here we had no history of fertiliser input. This has meant that we are able to start with a clean slate.”
Lime flour and mag oxide application for animal health.
Saving 6 X the usual cost on animal health.
Jeff says that he has done everything but Urea application with the Tow and Fert. Instead, they have been applying their Mag Oxide, Lime flour and other animal health products onto the grass, ensuring each of the cows is getting what it needs. Additionally, they have begun to apply Fish Hydrolysate and Molasses to begin the process of feeding the soil biology helping to release locked up nutrients in the soil.
“For us the Animal Health side of things has been fantastic. We are 6 X less per cow than what we were in terms of Animal Health Costs, which is mind-blowing for us. We have staggering Animal health”
Petri ads “We have such a calm heard in the cow shed. We had no down cows, no jittery or unsettled cows putting the Mag Oxide through the Tow and Fert. It’s been so good to be able to spread the whole paddock for the milkers, or colostrum’s and to know they are going to get what they need and that there is not one patch of white and one patch of nothing.”
Jeff says that this has led Petri and himself to ask what they could achieve using the Tow and Fert when they do start down the path of inputs into their farm..
An Aerial view of Jeff and his Multi 1000 applying animal health products and a little bit of fish fert.
As they begin their journey on their farm with the Tow and Fert Jeff and Petri are excited to see what they can achieve and how they can transform their farm.
“Our goal or plan is to not just deal with the here and now and chuck Urea on the grass. We are wanting to feed the ground and look after the biology in the soil. There are so many untapped things that are left for us to do there, and we are taking a long-term view.”
The Animal Health side of things has been an unexpected bonus for Jeff and Petrie highlighting the versatility of the machine. And Jeff is all too aware that they are only scratching the surface of what the machine can do for them.
“I’ve been to field days and heard Mike and other farmers using Tow and Fert machines talk about what they are doing with their machine so we know we are only at the start of our journey, and we are excited about what it can still do for us.”
“Even if the machine was only to save us on the animal health side, as it already has, it would still have been well worth the investment.”
Above: Jeff and Petri’s cows grazing on their farm in South Taranaki.
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The Tow and Fert Times.
The Tow and Fert Times is a publication full of information for dairy farmers. Designed to help you with your nutrient management and fertiliser decisions, it is packed full of helpful information, case studies and helpful tips and tricks for the farm.
Volume 9 (Autumn 2023) Available now!