Friday, 6 January 2012

The Obe Wan Kenobe of Sub-divisional Grazing ....

I wrote a post way back in July 2010 called The Yoda of the Ryegrass Plant.  It was about a man in the Waikato who opened a whole new room in agriculture for me .... grass (I now always feel obliged to follow this word with the sound “phooaaarrr” then an exclamation mark ... !).
Its struck me since in my delusional brain that life is a lot like Star Wars (though perhaps not the prequels).  Feeling “The Force” is symbolic of wisdom, knowledge, the grasping of internal strength.  The Dark Side could always do with more recruits - I should know, I’ve been headhunted a couple of times. Wise men, teachers, like Yoda and Obe Wan come and go from your day to day life. Sometimes you don’t realise unless they are green with pointy ears or have a cool cloak and a light sabre but they do come to all of us.
And so it was that the most disorganised man of Nuffield 2010 “organised” a trip to France in June to see a man who came highly recommended by a Kiwi grass nut.  The Fabulous Four were me and the three grazing gurus of my Nuffield group - Rhys Williams, Kevin Beaty and Malcolm Edward Fewster (known by either forename and indeed other names).
It was a 4 day road trip from Brittany to the Mediterranean via the Pyrenees in the company of John Bailey - an Irishman by birth, naturalised Frenchman, New Zealander by training and attitude.  We saw subdivisional grazing systems of all types - paddock, cell, techno, rational. Dairy, beef, sheep.  I learnt so much from those on that trip.  I’ve kept in contact with John/Obe Wan and he is coming over in 10 days to give me advice on setting up the ultimate grazing system (any more details and I’ll spoil another story).
The real John Bailey

I read a book recently - Knowledge Rich Ranching by Allan Nation.  Nation says that to progress from little to a lot you need what he calls an “Unreasonable Advantage” - an idea,     an innovation, a practice, something that separates you from normal practice. Something that adds significantly to your profit.  The Unreasonable Advantage should be the Holy Grail for all first generation farmers.  I think I’ve found my Holy Grail.  Subdivisional grazing, managed right, means twice the production and half the cost per hectare for a beef or sheep operation. I’m convinced of it. I just have to implement it.
Obviously - the Holy Grail, France and me being a bit clueless? That can only mean ...

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