Case Study:
Matthew Zonderop

Matamata, Central North Island, New Zealand
Tow and Fert Multi 1200

“There are so many benefits to using a Tow and Fert, but time saving is, for us, the biggest”

Over the rolling hills in central Waikato, just around the corner from Hobbiton, Mathew Zonderop’s farm of 420 Kiwi Cross cows and 140 hectares is looking lush and green.

A number of years ago Matthew was invited to a good friend’s farm to view a demonstration of their new Tow and Fert machine and how versatile it was. It did not take long for Matthew to recognise the benefits that running a Tow and Fert could bring to his farm and the system they were running.

That system was based around the solid application of fertiliser by traditional bulky, however as they got bigger Matthew wanted to become more efficient, both from a work and time point of view and from a fertiliser use point of view.

“I realised early on that we could run multiple products at once for a one pass solution. We could run Magnesium Sulphate or Zinc Sulphate and also do a single pass with Giberillic Acid and a Herbicide.  We could clearly see the time saving benefits with only one pass required”

Matthew decided to make the change from a solid to foliar application for 2 reasons.

  • He knew that applying fertiliser direct onto the grass as a foliar spray could see more grass growth, and
  • He could see the efficiency gains from only having to apply a one-pass solution instead of having to put solid fert on, then come back to the paddock to use a herbicide and then come back again and put on giberillic acid.

“Now we can do all of those things in one simple, time saving pass.”

“Where calving was concerned, we saw that we could save a lot of time by spreading Magnesium Sulphate on the pasture before the cows started calving and this would last about 90 days. This would cut down about an hour and half on the farm each day of labour, not to mention the petrol savings and wear and tear on machinery, simply because we could do it all in one pass.”

From an animal health perspective, Matthew says the ability to put down Magnesium Sulphate directly onto the leaf of the grass means that they have reduced their number of down cows. The foliar application meant that the Magnesium Sulphate was available through the plants direct to the animal.

Four years on from making the change to the Tow and Fert Matthew is thrilled with machine. “The Tow and Fert stays on the tractor for 9 months of the year. We are using it for fertiliser application in a one pass solution saving us heaps of time and also to clean culverts and troughs. It is a versatile machine and so easy to use.”

Matthew says that the application rates for his fertiliser programme are now far less than his old bulk system. With the Tow and Fert and foliar application of fertiliser, the uptake is a lot more efficient because it is sprayed directly onto the leaf.

And the proof is in the results. Matthew has seen increased grass growth and a marked improvement in milk production. On the bottom-line Matthew is able to make savings of around 25% due to the reduction in the fertiliser he requires.

“We are seeing a difference on the farm with our application and usage of fert greatly reduced. We are seeing a better return on the product we are using.”

And for other farmers considering a Tow and Fert Matthew says

“One of the reasons we went to the Tow and Fert was because of its adaptability. There are so many diverse uses for it and for us it was a no brainer. We have had this machine for 4 years now.  The return on investment would only have been two years.”

“To those farmers thinking about a Tow and Fert, it is a no brainer. In our farming operation I would have liked to have gone bigger, and we will in the future, but I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend to other farmers to get one, whatever size.”

Episode 1: Listen how Mathew has reduced his fertiliser input, made it a one-pass job, grown more grass, produced more milk and saved money!

Episode 2: Matthew Zonderop discusses the benefits he has found on farm since converting to a foliar based fertiliser system using the Tow and Fert Multi 1200

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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.

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