On farm training positive for sheep and beef farming

10 May 2023

Bringing more young people into farming and giving them the opportunity to learn on the job is the key to a good future for the sheep and beef industry, says Tasman District farmer Peter Moore.

Peter and Cathy Moore farm 460 hectares at Upper Moutere, running 4000 sheep, a ram breeding operation and 200 head of beef cattle.

Always looking for opportunities to improve, they have been involved in research programmes for worm resistance and facial eczema, are looking at methane emissions research and are big supporters of on-farm training.

Farm shepherd Cameron King is in his third year of training with Primary ITO | Te Pūkenga to complete the New Zealand Certificate in Agriculture Breeding Livestock Farming Level 4.

“We need more younger people in sheep and beef farming. They are willing to try new things and they bring improvements to the farming operation, says Peter.

Training Adviser provides key support

The Primary ITO programme works in well with farm work and he likes that the Training Adviser facilitates meetings involving both the learner and farmer.

“It gets us talking around the table and helps foster discussion. It helps me to sit down and focus on our goals, as well as providing a positive environment for the training.”

Cameron is supported by experienced Primary ITO training adviser Kirstie Dodds, a former teacher and artificial insemination technician. “My favourite part of this job is working with the learners and employers. It is really rewarding to see the learners progress, the knowledge they gain and the impact they are having on the farming business,” says Kirstie.

Primary ITO training advisers are in regular contact with learners to support their progress and meet with employers and learners at least four times a year to set a training plan.

Learners attend classes once every month to six weeks and attend study days and nights. A learning support team and mentors are available to learners who require additional support.

Peter says Kirstie is enthusiastic and has connected well with Cameron to support him to complete the tasks required. Peter also likes the opportunities the training provides for Cameron to meet others who are learning at the same stage.

Cameron’s learning has coincided with a change from paper-based workbooks to Primary ITO’s new online learning platform Mahi Tahi. “It is a huge improvement because I can verify Cameron’s work straight away, and all the information is in one place.”

Primary ITO programme brings technology and innovation to the farm

The training has given Cameron the opportunity to apply his interest in technology to the business. “He has mapped out the entire farm and has a history of each paddock at his fingertips on his phone and is using genetics applications to record information on the stud’s rams.”

Peter says he is proud of Cameron’s progress. “He is doing remarkably well and has a big future as a sheep and beef farmer.”

Peter says Cameron’s training with Primary ITO has also improved goal setting and planning on farm. “We’ve become more focused on fattening lambs to goal weights and the pasture preparation for this.”

Peter says he highly recommends other sheep and beef farmers consider giving their employees the opportunity to gain a Primary ITO qualification and that training adviser support makes it achievable for employers.

“As employers we can have a huge input into the lives and development of our staff, and this is a really positive way to do it.”

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