Huw Evans (Farm Owner)
Huw ownes and operates his family dairy farm in Wuk Wuk, Victoria, Australia.
EVI satellite image, which is one of the many indices used on Huw's home dairy farm.
NDVI satellite image, which is one of the many indices used on Huw's home dairy farm.
Lush pasture growing on Huw's dairy farm
Could you introduce us to your operations?
I run a dairy farm in the East of Victoria that milks all year round peaking at about 380 dairy cows in the autumn.
My farm is supported by 4 or 5 farm staff year-round, mostly utilising part time workers. This helps us manage rosters with seasonality and the complexities of needing people on farm 365 days of a year.
We now irrigate across a large area of the grazing platform, which will help us grow a lot more pasture throughout the dry summer months and, as we’ve experienced in recent years, drought.
We have a strong focus on growing grass and turning that into milk.
What did you previously do before Pasture.io?
I’ve been with Pasture.io since its early days with satellites. Before that, I approached you to see what you were working on. We were thinking about buying a rising plate meter or a bike meter at the time to improve our grazing management.
I spoke with Ollie Roberts at the time, and he offered for us to use the program with whatever device I bought. In the end, I decided to jump aboard and go with the satellites.
This was a leap of faith from someone who wasn’t measuring pasture and looking to jump straight to the latest tech. In the early years there were a few tech hiccups, but it is running smoothly now and keeps getting better.
We used to eyeball where to graze cows. Now, we do it smartly by using Pasture.io and this is yielding us profitable results.
Who is the driver of Pasture.io on your farm?
It’s just me at the moment. I like to run my eyes over the data to see what is going on. This helps me make better decisions than flying blindly or just relying on memory of what I’ve seen.
Most days, I log into the app to see things on a day-by-day basis. About once a week, I spend a bit more time in the app to plan another week. This means my frequent logins are more check-ins to see that I’m sticking to the plan or if I should make changes as new information is provided.
It helps knowing you are always ready to help if I have a question or want something added, like a plant species. In the end, it’s simple to get my head around, and the app is well laid out.
What features do you utilise in the Pasture.io app?
Depending on time, I think I’m covering most of the app. Some of the nutritional information we’re not taking advantage of, but this is something I’d like to sit down and work through. It could help us refine the ration with our feed pad and keeping track of feed in the inventory.
Pasture.io has helped me build a solid history of information across the farm. This data means I can track what is going on a lot easier than diving into my brain or flicking through pages of a filing cabinet.
I like recording all paddock activities, so, grazings, fert applications, plantings, sprayings, harvests, and that stuff. I can then use the reporting to tell me how long since we planted or fertilised a paddock and what with, or which paddocks are worst performers and why.
The planning ahead is the best feature. This has improved our farming a lot. Previously I would set grazing rounds monthly. Doing it more often has noticeably improved what's happening.
I can say that informed grazing decisions are highly profitable, and this is where Pasture.io excels.
Is there anything you’d say to fellow farmers about the app?
I would encourage them to give your app a go. If they don’t already measure pasture, they’ll see improvements in their grazing decisions. It's really that simple.
In the past, as I’ve said, I might even make a grazing plane a month in advance. Now I can make them weekly and more often if things are tight. I know I’m making better grazing decisions, as the pasture growth tells me that, the post residuals are more even, and I have more control.
It’s having the constant updates of how grazing platform looks. It's all there at your fingertips and that is the main benefit.