Several lessons were learnt from the trial.
"It resulted in the changes becoming less time consuming overall, less arduous and provided clarity around the processes that needed to be put in place. The ability of management to be able to use good data also helped with trust in the process and enabled good decision making.
The Mararoa Station team could see deficits and surpluses early can can actively manage their resources."
Dr Stevens also said the farm used evidence from other scientific studies that instilled confidence that the changes would result in less soil damage, less nutrient run-off and improved nutrient distribution across the farm. The demand for feed was matched with supply in the spring flush meaning animal condition was maintained in late pregnancy resulting in higher body condition and increased ewe and lamb survival rates. A major benefit was the removal of the cost of a winter crop on the farm’s balance sheet.
It also reduced associated costs in animal health. This was offset by an increased need for nitrogen fertiliser to stimulate grass growth and some supplement stockpiling. But the farm returned six percent higher earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (or $29/ha).