This month, as farmers prepare their summer crops, Jarno Sammet and Julia Wyatt are on hand to support farmers in a new capacity as Technical Agriculture Specialists.
Jarno Sammet is based in Waikato and Julia Wyatt is in Southland, both will be working with farmers in their wider areas.
Previously TSRs, the pair have been promoted to the new role as a way of supplementing the existing knowledge and experience among TSRs with an expert perspective.
Farm Source Technical Sales Manager Kirsty Skinner says Jarno and Julia will continue to will work alongside TSRs, stepping into an advisory role to add neutral advice.
"While our TSRs do have specialist knowledge in animal health, agronomy and animal nutrition, Jarno and Julia are there to support them when required. Our Technical Agriculture Specialists are now our in-house specialists who can join TSRs to make sure we always do what's right for the farmer."
With that level of expert technical knowledge, Kirsty says another important role of Technical Agriculture Specialists is coaching, mentoring and training TSRs.
Speaking to Jarno a few days into the role, he's already enjoying mentoring the newer team members coming through the ranks. Jarno and his partner moved to New Zealand from Germany over 10 years ago in the search for a better lifestyle. Armed with a degree in agronomy, and seven years' experience as a farm advisor, his first New Zealand gig was as an agricultural contractor before being snapped up by RD1 and working up to an assistant manager role.
While the move to New Zealand opened new opportunities in the industry for Jarno, he did have some learning do in the way New Zealand farms operate. "The systems and regulations are so different and the framework with Fonterra and the Co-op is nothing like what we have in Germany."
Jarno took the change in his stride and says his favourite thing about the TSR and now Technical Agriculture Specialists role is the variety. "Every day is different, there are so many things on the farm to deal with. It's like detective work, you need to find out what's going on and then find the solution for the farmer to deliver good results."
Dealing with the farmers has really been the icing on the cake for Jarno as he works with so many personalities. He says building relationships with them is incredibly rewarding.
This month, he is setting up cropping plans with farmers and will then be supporting them in sticking to those plans so come summer, farmers have all the feed they need. From experience, Jarno knows this is a critical decision-making time for farmers with with significant investment being made in crops, farmers can't afford to get it wrong.
"This is when a lot of questions, problems and queries arise." Jarno says. "From the farmers' perspective, they need to get it right in spring, otherwise it'll catch up in summer when everything dries out and they don't have feed for the stock."
Julia is also focusing on cropping with her farmers, making plans, organising seed, making chemical recommendations and preparing for fodder beet to go in. Alongside this, she is also having regrassing meetings to establish what farmers are wanting to achieve and working with farmers to make sure cow condition is right in the lead up to mating.
"We're always busy," Julia says. "It's important we are one step ahead for our farmers."
With 10 and a half years as a TSR in her back pocket, Julia has a substantial knowledge base to support her farmers but equally, isn't afraid to go looking for the right solution when it isn't on hand.
"I'm never going to have the answer for everything, but I know now where to get information from."
Julia's spent nearly 30 years in the agriculture industry, beginning her career in the UK as a sales rep selling milk powder and nutritional products. She then moved into a consultation role, advising farmers on the likes of animal health and farm business management. She immigrated to New Zealand 11 years ago and like Jarno, had to learn the Kiwi way.
Helping Julia in is her personal connection to farming, as she and her husband contract milk 1,800 cows. Being in the South Island, Julia sees similarities in the appearance of the environment when comparing it to the UK. The biggest difference Julia sees between the UK and New Zealand is the Co-op - something she considers is lucky to have here.
"In the UK, there isn't a Co-op. Here, I have only ever worked for Fonterra and everything we do is for our farmers. I'm proud to wear Fonterra on my jacket."
Your TSR now has even more support and knowledge available to them. They can reach out to Jarno or Julia to get another opinion and have them as an added resource.
Whether it's animal nutrition or helping with your spring weed management programme, we have the experience and backing to support you to find the best solution for your farm.