Craig and Jenny Stockley, Te Aroha

Craig and Jenny Stockley, Te Aroha

Craig and Jenny are laid back, with the intention of enjoying whatever they do.

Originally they had come back to Craig’s parents farm as sharemilkers. Not a large job, the property being 60 hectares, but progress was good, leading to them buying the farm off Mum and Dad.

This of course, brings a mortgage and commitments and investigations began on how they could squeeze some more out of the farm financially.

Unlike a lot of farmers, instead of diving into a costly intensification process, they investigated organics. Back in 2007 there were not many converts, but with the added incentives financially to convert, it looked like a better option, they didn't have to change too much in their farming operation to comply and it certainly wasn't going to add to their on-farm costs.

Some challenges faced although not confined to organic farmers, was thinning of pastures.

Over time, they've treated their soil as best as the information has allowed, but certain aspects that have been overlooked by nearly all agricultural reps had been identified by the guys at Ecofarm and those changes are significant.

The soil depth and quality has noticeably deepened and Craig has given up under-sowing as it not worked (with significant cost), yet when he looks at his pastures now there is clearly no need anyway. The pastures are thick and lush.

Significantly, production is up (47% in 2018) and there will be no crops, just hay and silage, with farm costs around $2kg/ms with their 2019/20 forecast season payout at $8.75kg/ms. (A far cry of Dairy NZ standard costs of $4.27kg/ms from a $6.35kg/ms payout leaving plenty of scope on their profit per hectare).

All for the sake of taking some very accurate soil tests and knowing what the starting materials are.

Lifestyle got a lot better, less work, more time and money to go and do whatever they want to do.

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