Herd of Excellence

High Calibre Speakers Challenge Riverton Field Day Guests

The Cranstone Family of Riverton Hereford stud hosted their Honda Motorcycles Hereford Herd of Excellence field day recently.

The line up of speakers was high calibre and attendees left armed with plenty of information from branding and marketing to cropping and weed control to how best to tackle the succession of farm businesses.

Professor Hamish Gow from Massey University spoke on Cracking the Value Puzzle…. Building Marketing Channels that Deliver Results. He said when it comes to marketing it’s important to identify what value and benefits your product offers people. Ideally you should provide a product that helps remove challenges that customers perceive are associated with your product.  An example he offered was the fall in market share for an off shore chilled chicken company. They began losing ground to a company selling frozen chickens. The frozen chickens outsold their chilled competitors because it was a hot country with little affluence and by the time the purchaser of the frozen chicken travelled home it had safely thawed and was ready to cook. The chilled chicken posed heath issues when being transported home in the heat. He also urged people to build an experience into their product. “Functional branded experiences should be based on specific attributes of your product,” he said.

His closing words were to “think about what the customer needs and wants.”

Dr Rebecca Hickson from Massey University addressed yearling heifer mating and profitability.

Rebecca addressed the perceived pros and cons of heifer mating raised by farmers she has surveyed. When it comes to associated costs she had calculated it takes 2.5tonne of dry matter to feed and maintain a non pregnant heifer. A heifer with calf at foot is calculated to need 3.7tonne of DM, which is a 45% increase in DM intake. However she has worked out that at 12c/kgDM that’s an extra $138 for the gain of potentially $500+ from the calf as a weaner weighing 232kg at a schedule of $2.20/kg.

She told the field day calving heifers was one way of lift the productivity of the national cow herd, which has little change in performance for the last several decades.

Rebecca says it was vital to choose the right bulls to use and she said EBVs should be taken into consideration. In particular calving ease direct and birthweight. She encouraged farmers to ask their bull breeder if they are actually measuring birth weight and they calve their two year old heifers.

Phil Guscott, Wairarapa farmer, farm valuer and consultant and chairman of Lean Meats was joined by his wife Jo and son Mark to discuss succession. Phil addressed the key points farmers need to consider when it comes to the farm business and the next generation. He said the first question to ask yourself was “is this a succession plan or an exit plan?”

He said the four key principles to a succession plan are: It must be economic for the retiring generation, it must be economic for the farming generation, there must be a plan for any non-farming family members and everyone must be able to “live” with it. He stressed the phrase “live with it” because equal is fair, but in farming, fair isn’t equal.

Phil was followed up by brief talks from his wife Jo, son Mark and members of the Cranstone family who all shared what they felt were the key messages from their own personal experiences in succession.

Paul Oliver from H&T Agronomics talked to field day visitors about high octane forage crops which can help maximize stock performance in summer and autumn.

Hickson Heifer Mating



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Feilding 4740, New Zealand.
P. +64 6 323 4484
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