When Mark and Amelia Dale first heard about Growfarm® from some friends, they knew they had to find out more. Up until that point, they had been running a "pretty average operation," as Mark describes it. "We were missing deadlines, not spending much time together or with our kids and we were struggling with a lack of spare cash - we were basically running fast to stand still."
Mark and Amelia run a 355 ha finishing and trading sheep and beef farm west of Timaru, in the South Island of New Zealand. Cereal cropping makes up a reasonable portion of the area. Although the land is gentle to medium hill country, the practices they had been using were causing problems at key times of the year. "We would carry a few thousand lambs through winter to sell into the spring market but the challenge was in feeding all those mouths when they really needed it," remembers Amelia."Mud was a constant issue. Mark and our worker were always busy trying to keep the animals going and all at the same time we had (and still have) a successful building business to run. I am not sure how we did it but looking back we carried too many of the wrong animals at the wrong times of year to even think about making profit!"
Something had to change. Once the couple took the step to ask Brendon Walsh of Growfarm® to talk through their situation, things started to happen fast. "After joining the Growfarm® team we immediately got stuck in to following the process Brendon was taking us through. We made sure our financial and animal data were entered into ProfitLIVE and this started to point out why we were working very hard for very little result," grins Amelia. "We attended our first 2 day Growfarm® National Mastermind meeting, which is like an annual conference. While there we listened to other Growfarm® clients who had been around the system a lot longer than us. We learned so much about timing, types of animals to carry (and not carry) as well as techniques to give you a great chance to generating profit at different times of year. We weren't doing any of that on our farm!"
"I have found making changes away from what I have known (even when those ways haven't been giving good results) quite a challenge," says Mark. "We were both wondering how it would go. So in our first year we decided to do 50/50 new techniques and our old ways. I can tell you now that doesn't work! We soon learned that suppressing our animals through carrying too many at one time puts our timing way behind the 8 ball and animals were carried on far too long. Pasture growth was poor. It was then making us late in capturing future opportunities and everything after that ran even later!"
Amelia adds, "We now carry virtually nothing through the winter which has eliminated many of the costs we used to incur. Growfarm® has completely changed our lives! By doing just a few simple things we have found we are planning more, setting up for opportunities well in advance, working less, are more relaxed and making a lot more profit than we used to. We love it!”
The Dale family now look forward to a future filled with promise and excitement. "We can see a lot of growth, plenty of options and eventually the freedom to choose how we spend our time. We are really only just getting started," quips Amelia. "The best is yet to come. Having control on our business and time is a biggie for me. Our family can really enjoy our time together and we love how our example is only going to rub off positively on our kids!"