Pristine Forage pasture Technologies

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FAQ


Some frequently asked questions and answers from the Pristine team.

What is Pristine Forage Technologies about?
Why should I improve my pastures?
How do I do it? What are the basics?
So what should I expect to get from pasture improvement?
What about the dollars?
I have heard there are rotational and environmental benefits from a good legume pasture as well. What are they?
I am set up for cropping. Why should I change?
Why is the outlook for pasture and animal returns better than for cropping?
Yes but what about the costs of pasture improvement?
Why should I choose a Pristine pasture legume variety?
What do I get from being a member of the Pristine Client Network?
I am from an area for which suitable Pristine varieties are still being bred and developed. Can I still join the Pristine Client Network?
What does network membership cost?

What is Pristine Forage Technologies about?

We are a company that aims to provide client farmers with the means to improve their pastures and modernise their pasture production systems, so they can take advantage of both globalisation and what is our most under performing and under exploited agricultural resource. We believe very strongly that the future of Australian agriculture is ultimately dependent on having highly profitable animal production enterprises based on improved pastures. Globalisation is at last giving Australian farmers the market access to make a fair return on these value added products instead of our being exploited by foreign competitors hiding behind extortionate protective trade barriers. But we need to change to take advantage of that. So unlike the conventional wisdom of the last 20 years, we know it is now good pastures or forages rather than crops that will return the real profit to Australian agriculture. We will provide the means for our clients to achieve that and to turn pasture and animal production, and their whole farm enterprise into a lucrative, predictable, manageable and well run business. We see the alternative is to crop until you drop. Thus for some we will be prophets and revolutionaries and to others we will be heretics. But we do know that you cannot make a good business when you have no control over your major production system; when it is just a lottery as to whether you get rain or a billion dollar, crop buster day in October. Animal production enterprises can be run at a profit irrespective of the year; just ask the manager of a feed lot. And by basing that enterprise on high quality, improved pastures and forages, with our help you can make it even more profitable.

Why should I improve my pastures?

The prime but not the only reason is for better returns. Australian pastures generally have lots of room for production and profit improvement; in fact orders of magnitude and multiples of dollars of room. For example, in contrast to crops, which mostly produce between 50 and 80% of their potential according to the French-Schultz yield predictor model, the average wheat-sheep zone pasture produces less than 20% of potential! As real profit from that pasture is already rivalling crop profit despite this, that means you can easily and dramatically increase your bottom line through pasture improvement. In higher rainfall zones pasture performance is better, but there is still plenty of room for more yield and higher quality. Of course there are other reasons for pasture improvement too; including for production of those higher value animal products, for crop and rotational benefits, improved soil condition and fertility, reduced salinisation, enterprise flexibility, greater income stability…

How do I do it? What are the basics?

In Australia, almost always by sowing the appropriate pasture legumes. We have notoriously poor soils nutrition wise (as if you didn’t know that!) and with a good legume pasture you get your N for free, and have enough left over to run the entire rotation. That saves big dollars on N fertiliser, and at the same time your animals get plenty of the very highest quality, high protein feed.

So what should I expect to get from pasture improvement?

While every property is different, there are several rules of thumb to indicate what carrying capacity you can reasonably target over time with a good legume pasture. In the wheat-sheep zone using a conventional pasture legume variety, a useful rule of thumb is that you should be able to carry up to two ewes or three wethers for every tonne of wheat you produce on that area. However with new Pristine varieties and technologies, we have upped those targets to three ewes or five wethers per tonne of wheat, and unless you are already producing wheat at 100% of potential, that still leaves plenty of room for further improvement. That is about three or four times the current average carrying capacity. If you are from a non-cropping area, we think another reasonable rule of thumb based on our personal experience and various data sources and historical records is that a good legume pasture safely carries about double what its unimproved grass and weed dominated counterpart does. That is usually still quite a bit less than potential, and hence we think that with our ideas, varieties and technologies, we can add quite a bit more to that again.

What about the dollars?

In effect if you double carrying capacity, you can reasonably expect to at least double profit. However, that assumes you stick with your existing enterprise rather than opting for more lucrative alternatives. The beauty of improving pasture is that the increased feed quality of the legume also gives you the ability to shift into higher value, more profitable production systems. It gives real meaning to the old saying that wool runs on grass when you add that meat runs on legume; a good legume pasture can grow both with ease, but try growing prime lambs or breeders without the legume. As these are bringing pretty good prices right now and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future, you should aim to clear more than $50/ewe annually. For comparison, we have used ABARE statistics to show the real profit from the average crop is about $60/ha, while profit from a comparable Pristine pasture or forage will be in excess of $200/ha. That is worth thinking about…

I have heard there are rotational and environmental benefits from a good legume pasture as well. What are they?

There certainly are. Look at your nitrogen fertiliser bill and imagine that being in your pocket instead. It will be, because your legume pasture should fix more than enough N for the next crop or two or three. Then look at your cereal crop cheque and add 10% to it and you can reasonably expect to put that extra in your pocket as well. That is because the disease break effect and the increase in cereal quality following a good legume will increase both cereal yield and price. Because these are all no cost, no input benefits, we have calculated that the real profit in your pocket on an average 2t/hectare crop of wheat will roughly double. On the environmental front, if you grow a good pasture, then you reduce soil erosion and salinisation and improve soil nutrient and organic carbon levels. In short, good pastures mean healthy soils and rotations.

I am set up for cropping. Why should I change?

For a number of reasons; mostly related to longer term viability of your farm unit. Because it happens so slowly, you may not have noticed but your cropping costs have grown faster than your returns for at least the last two decades. That is why even though the average farmer is producing twice as much grain as he was 20 years ago, on average he or she takes home less pay than any other worker in Australia. Farmers must be the only Australians to have doubled their productivity, but who actually take home less pay for the privilege. Barring radical change, the cost-price squeeze can be expected to continue to tighten for the next two decades too. In contrast, profits from animal production enterprises are on the up and as demand for animal products grows and trade barriers are dismantled, this will continue. So by putting good pastures into your rotation, you not only make good money directly, but you also increase the profit margin on your crops.

Why is the outlook for pasture and animal returns better than for cropping?

Because animal production enterprises are creating a high value added product whereas cropping is frequently merely producing raw product for others to use to create a value added product. In the past, because we had very limited access to international markets for animal products, we had little profitable choice but to grow bulk commodities such as grain that those markets wanted. They could then value add often by simply feeding our grain direct to their animals to produce a high priced commodity that was then sold into their protected markets at a large profit. They got the bulk of the profit and we took all the risk for very little return. As that protection is slowly dismantled, instead of being forced to allow others to do it for us, we can value add and get the real returns ourselves. Thus for example if we export meat instead of grain, we will more than double the gross return. Further, by using pastures and forages we are able to do it more cheaply, effectively, and sustainably than our competitors and return the bulk of the profit to you the farmer, rather than to middle men in other countries with nice protected economies.

Yes but what about the costs of pasture improvement?

That is one of the major benefits Pristine offers with its revolutionary varieties and technologies; the ability to create outstanding legume pastures and forages at minimal cost. That will be a fraction of both what it costs for conventional systems and varieties and of the increased profits you can expect to make. In particular, if you become part of the Pristine Forage Technologies Client Network, we will effectively license you to produce seed of our varieties for your own use, and we will assist you with the information and ideas to help you do it. For the average farm, that means thousands of dollars in savings on seed purchases alone.

Why should I choose a Pristine pasture legume variety?

Because we don’t just supply you with the best varieties; that is only the start. Like you, we know that real pasture improvement occurs in farmers fields, and we want to help you make it happen in your paddocks. So we offer you the best varieties, plus membership of our exclusive Pristine Client Network where you get direct access to our pasture and forage production ideas and technologies designed for the 21 st century. In the past, pastures were simply things that happened (or more often didn’t happen) rather than resources that could be readily managed, manipulated and exploited for profit. We will give you the ideas, the technology, the management tools and our varieties that together will give you unprecedented ability to create, manipulate and control your pasture and forage production enterprises according to need. In addition, you become an integral part of the network partnership that will grow and shape the future of our pasture production systems. We are confident this will bring about generational change in Australian farming systems, and in the Pristine Client Network, you will be in on the ground floor to be a part and take advantage of those changes.

What do I get from being a member of the PFT Client Network?

When you join the Pristine Client Network, you will have exclusive access to the members only area of this site (presently under construction). Here you can source the most up to date information and ideas for pasture production and utilisation generally plus get the key tips on little things that make a big difference, and learn how to get the best out of each of our varieties. Your member website will give you links to other key services and information sources and allow you to talk to other network farmers, to us and us to you. We think this is vital, because what you learn in your paddocks is a real resource and source of information for us and for other network members. It provides the basis for field testing, validating and improving both our ideas, technologies and varieties and for drawing up the key information packages that will be directly useful for you and other network members. That makes it possible for continuous improvement as the site is a constantly growing information resource for us all; a real partnership in better profits.

I am from an area for which suitable PFT varieties are still being bred and developed. Can I still join the Pristine Client Network?

Yes you can, and because you are not using our varieties yet, we will give you a special discounted rate. Furthermore, when new Pristine varieties that are suited to your farm are released, we will offer you the chance to get first access to that seed so you don’t have to wait. You will also enjoy all the other member benefits that we expect to add over time, for example special members-only offers on all seed purchases and discounts on services and supplies needed to produce your pastures and forages and run your animal production enterprise. As the network grows, so does our clout with providers of goods and services, and hence the list of member benefits can only be expected to grow.

What does network membership cost?

Fees are tailored to make network membership by far the best investment in terms of dollars returned per dollar invested that the average farmer can make.  We estimate that using Pristine varieties and technologies on a typical wheat-sheep zone farm should more than double real sustainable profits over time.  Our fee will be less than 5% of that increase.  Our current combined membership/license fee is set to be $0.02 per mm of actual rainfall on your property per Pristine pasture/forage hectare per year.  Linking this fee to actual rainfall means that it is directly related to what the year is like and what you do produce.  It also means that we share the risk.  That fee will certainly not relieve your tax problem, so you may have to pay a little more to your accountant as well!

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Pristine Forage Technologies Client Network; Partnership in Building Farm Profits.