Turning grass into milk is something Codey Patterson thinks about a lot. Although his agronomy expertise extends to plenty of other crops too.
As a TSR for Farm Source Winton, Codey spends a considerable amount of time growing crops and grass, so witnessing them convert profitably into milk in the vat is very satisfying.
“Providing recommendations then managing crops and achieving great results for our farmers is really rewarding. My goal is to generate a profit FOR my farmers, not profit from them,” he says.
Codey looks after 110 Fonterra farmers in the area from Winton up to Lumsden and out to Hedgehope.
Right now it’s drying-off and winter feed which are top of mind for farmers in his region. “We’re spending time out in the paddocks weighing crops and seeing the results of all those months spent walking the paddocks.
“After battling the challenges of the recent dry weather down here, which brought a higher weed and insect burden, it’s great to see the fruits of our labour,” says Codey.
Any crops that went in early are looking good. “There are some very high-yielding fodder beet crops this year. The kale and swedes have also picked up after looking particularly sad through that dry period but they’ve certainly come back strong.
“Farmers down here should hopefully be going into winter feeling a bit more comfortable than they were a few months ago,” he says.
Helping farmers with their long-term planning is also on the agenda. Recently Codey’s spent time helping one of his sharemilkers with his crop rotation and regrassing plans.
“We’re seeing a huge potential in the regrassing of that farm. Especially with the newer grass cultivars, there are so many options to suit your feed wedge and we can really hone in on what you need, rather than just throwing in a generic grass. We want to plant the grass that’s best for you - one that’s going to benefit your environment, your farm and your system.”
Originally from Central Otago, Codey admits people are sometimes surprised by the level and range of expertise TSRs can offer.
“We are basically a source of free technical advice for our farmers. There are 10 of us TSRs in Otago and Southland and there’s a wealth of knowledge among us. And, if there’s something we’re not sure about, we have ready access to industry-leading experts and scientists from our vendors,” he says.
Codey is quick to point out the vendor relationships don’t mean they’re beholden to any one vendor. “We have our main suppliers but we’re prepared to work with anyone to get what the farmer needs. We work for our farmers and everything we do is to maximise their profitability.”
Like many of Farm Source’s 60-plus TSRs, Codey brought a diverse range of skills and experience to the role. He spent 17 years in the drilling industry in both New Zealand and Australia, including exploration and water bore drilling. He’s also spent time as a fencing contractor and in pest management.
When the opportunity arose, Codey jumped at the chance to join Fonterra Farm Source because he believes in the Co-op’s approach.
“I liked the company values and attitude, and the chance to interact with farmers on a daily basis also appealed,” he says.
Married with three kids (a two-year-old and one-year-old twins), Codey likes diving and hunting in his spare time.