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Unique Pasture Management System Goes Online

An Internet-based farm management system has got off to a flying start for Otorohanga-based Grazing Systems Ltd.

"There has been a lot of interest in the system, from here and overseas, since we launched our website in July," says one of the men who developed the system, Barrie Ridler. "The website allows any farmer or blockholder access to unique programs that not even researchers have at present."

The system analyses a combination of pasture, stock numbers, stock performance and prices to reflect how a farmer can best use the pasture. Farmers get a clear picture of the important interactions between each of them.

Mr Ridler is a Pio Pio sheep and beef farmer and former senior lecturer in farm management systems at Massey University. He developed the system along with Hamilton scientist and beef farmer John Rendel.

Mr Ridler says the modelling process in the programs highlights the important issues for farmers trying to manage a sustainable pasture-based system.

"Previously farmers have not had direct on-farm access to such a powerful analytical management tool," he says. "Basically it employs a comprehensive programming model to develop an individual livestock grazing system. This aims to maximise profit from increasingly limited resources.

"Some of the information will surprise farmers. This should encourage them to question their own perceptions and how best to improve their farm's profitability."

Mr Ridler has used the system for the past five years to boost profit and efficiency on his own King Country farm.

He says he and Mr Rendel had been concerned that conflicting advice and rapid market changes had increasingly isolated farmers. "This Internet-based system is an effort to put control of the farm business back in the hands of the individual farmer."

The project to develop the system was supported by Technology New Zealand - part of the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology - which invests in research into new products, processes or services.

Grazing Systems Ltd also provides discussion group forums, specialist research findings, information pages and online support services from experienced farmers.

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