Knowledge is production power

New programme to boost farm workers’ understanding of agricultural research and technology takes learning to farms.

New programme to boost farm workers’ understanding of agricultural research and technology takes learning to farms.

LIVING THE PASSION: Luke Bates and his trusty dog team. Picture by Paul Rickard

A new programme to boost farm workers’ understanding of agricultural research and technology is taking learning on to the region’s farms.

Designed for managers and assistant managers looking to move their careers to a new level, the one-year New Zealand Certificate in Primary Industry Production Management (level 5) was designed by the Primary Industry Training Organisation and is delivered in this region at EIT’s Rural Studies Unit by tutor Graham Peard.

The programme aims to boost farm productivity through better nutrition, feeding, breeding, animal health and more. The five farmers who enrolled this year were mostly either managers or assistant managers. As part of the course they covered benchmarking, goal-setting and action plans, as well as strategies around feed budgeting and more. They met at the Stout Street campus in Gisborne every third Thursday, with three field days during the year.

One of the programme’s innovations was to get the students to study farms they worked on every day. “This focus of each on their own farm has made a big difference, and the lessons learned will benefit the region’s farming sector,” says Graham.

“It’s more meaningful and the impact is huge. It’s designed to stimulate discussion, and it does. They work on Google Docs, and present to each other and people ask: ‘Why did you do that?’”

The region’s sheep and beef farmers are making huge strides in productivity through the field days and group discussions, and Graham says the challenge for farmers is to make sure farm managers also give their shepherds training so they too can keep up with the new technology and research.

“This new approach by the ITO really benefits both the employer and the employee because the farmer can pick up where the trainer leaves off.”

As well as the teaching at EIT there is a lot of learning from other students, according to Luke Bates (29), who works on Hauiti Incorporation’s Iwinui Station. He started farming when he left school at 18, first training on Gowerville Station, and then spending seven years travelling the world on the shearing circuit.

“In the discussions I had with my peers about farming you take away a lot of new ideas. I’ve really enjoyed it,” said Luke.

“I was always passionate about farming, but that was more about the work side of chasing sheep and breaking in dogs. Now I’m really interested in management techniques to grow more grass and make me better on the farm, recognising animal health issues and studying feed levels, fertiliser use, and growing as much grass as possible.”

Luke says for those wanting to make a career of farming, study is becoming essential.

“Boards that hire managers like to see that you’re putting in the work to get the qualifications now also. It shows you are serious.”

A new programme to boost farm workers’ understanding of agricultural research and technology is taking learning on to the region’s farms.

Designed for managers and assistant managers looking to move their careers to a new level, the one-year New Zealand Certificate in Primary Industry Production Management (level 5) was designed by the Primary Industry Training Organisation and is delivered in this region at EIT’s Rural Studies Unit by tutor Graham Peard.

The programme aims to boost farm productivity through better nutrition, feeding, breeding, animal health and more. The five farmers who enrolled this year were mostly either managers or assistant managers. As part of the course they covered benchmarking, goal-setting and action plans, as well as strategies around feed budgeting and more. They met at the Stout Street campus in Gisborne every third Thursday, with three field days during the year.

One of the programme’s innovations was to get the students to study farms they worked on every day. “This focus of each on their own farm has made a big difference, and the lessons learned will benefit the region’s farming sector,” says Graham.

“It’s more meaningful and the impact is huge. It’s designed to stimulate discussion, and it does. They work on Google Docs, and present to each other and people ask: ‘Why did you do that?’”

The region’s sheep and beef farmers are making huge strides in productivity through the field days and group discussions, and Graham says the challenge for farmers is to make sure farm managers also give their shepherds training so they too can keep up with the new technology and research.

“This new approach by the ITO really benefits both the employer and the employee because the farmer can pick up where the trainer leaves off.”

As well as the teaching at EIT there is a lot of learning from other students, according to Luke Bates (29), who works on Hauiti Incorporation’s Iwinui Station. He started farming when he left school at 18, first training on Gowerville Station, and then spending seven years travelling the world on the shearing circuit.

“In the discussions I had with my peers about farming you take away a lot of new ideas. I’ve really enjoyed it,” said Luke.

“I was always passionate about farming, but that was more about the work side of chasing sheep and breaking in dogs. Now I’m really interested in management techniques to grow more grass and make me better on the farm, recognising animal health issues and studying feed levels, fertiliser use, and growing as much grass as possible.”

Luke says for those wanting to make a career of farming, study is becoming essential.

“Boards that hire managers like to see that you’re putting in the work to get the qualifications now also. It shows you are serious.”

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