P3 focus farm built on fertile Hauraki Plains soils
Dairy farming on the fertile Hauraki Plains has helped a Ngatea couple develop their small farm into a profitable P3 Trust focus farm.
Campbell and Delwyn Clayton-Greene own a 50 per cent equity share in the farm, which is one of five focus farms for the P3 Trust.
This means data and commentary about the farm is included in a weekly newsletter P3 for other farmers in the region.
"The idea behind it is to give people some idea of what other people are doing, which might spark some thoughts," Campbell said.
The couple have about 250 dairy cows on the 79ha farm, which they bought about 10 years ago.
Campbell said the Ngatea farm was selected as a P3 focus farm because it was a reasonably high profit farm.
"We focus on the basics and doing the basics well, predominantly growing as much grass as we can and turning it into milk," he said.
"It's a good profitable little farm and we've been lucky with the people we've had on it too, which makes a big difference."
Farming on the rich Hauraki Plains soils helped, he said.
Below the farm's peat topsoil was marine clay, which had a high mineral content, growing good grass, he said.
"It does grow a lot of grass when it grows."
It had been a challenging winter season, with unusually high rainfall since March, he said.
Campbell has been dairy farming for 20 years. Originally from Waimai, near Ngaruawahia, he moved to Hauraki when he met Delwyn. They now live on Delwyn's 180ha family farm in Kaihere, where they milk 600 cows.
Before becoming a farmer, Campbell was a mechanic and competed in rowing throughout the Waikato. He continues to row, currently coaching students at Hauraki.
Contract milker Troy Tilyard has been operating the Clayton-Greene focus farm for two years.
He grew up on the Hauraki Plains before moving to Pukekohe to work as a plumber for nine years. He then moved to Ngatea with his wife Adriana and their three preschool children.
He said being part of the P3 project had been helpful.
"It's helped me out a lot, with different scenarios. I think it's quite good seeing what other farmers are doing," he said.
"It gets you thinking a bit more about how to do certain jobs."