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Fertilising smarter reaps rewards for Wingham dairy farmers

4 men inspect knee high green grass in a field.

Father and son, Guy and George Tiedeman, commenced leasing their farm at Dollys Flat (Wingham, NSW) in March 2023. They have a year-round milking herd of 220 cows.

With little known about past management of the farm, they hoped that undertaking the Fert$mart nutrient planning process would help them optimise yield most efficiently and effectively.

Together with their agronomist, Josh Hack, the Tiedeman’s tested their paddocks to determine their Fert$mart Management Zones.

“The results of the soil tests allowed us to break the farm into three zones based on soil nutrient levels for ease of management,” says Josh.

George Tiedeman says that the benefits of having a Fert$mart Plan prepared by Josh were immediately evident.

“It’s helped us understand what our paddocks need and helped us get the most bang for our buck. We have been able to target certain paddocks in terms of getting fertiliser on where it needs to be,” he says.

The Tiedeman’s have commenced implementing their Fert$mart Plan and believe that custom blend recommendations have allowed them to know exactly what they need to apply to specific areas.

“It has really helped us to come out on top as our budget was really tight coming onto this farm. Without history we had no idea what fertility was like across the farm. With getting the Fert$mart Plan we know what is going on, we know what we need, and we know where we need it.”

George also believes that developing the plan and building a relationship with someone he can trust has been important.

“This way Josh can continue to advise us and help us monitor and map our farm so we can go ahead and be profitable in what we are doing,” he said.

Peter Beale from Hunter Local Land Services has been working with the Tiedeman family to help them improve their fertiliser management as part of the Clean Coastal Catchments on-ground project.

He said farmers using fertiliser more efficiently is good news for the Manning River.

“This process isn't just helping the family’s bottom line; it’s also reducing the amount of nutrients and faecal pathogens that could wash into the Manning River after heavy rainfall.”

He said nutrients like phosphorus and nitrogen flowing off farms can lead to toxic algal blooms downstream that impact fish and other aquatic life and industries reliant on clean water.

“Not to mention the benefits to the oyster industry. Cleaner water running off farms also helps the oysters,” he said.

You can read the full case study here or watch the YouTube video on the Tiedeman’s family Fert$mart journey here.

To find out more or apply, contact Peter Beale, Hunter Senior Land Services Officer at peter.beale@lls.nsw.gov.au or (02) 4938 4900.

The Clean Coastal Catchments on-ground project is led by NSW Local Land Services and funded by the NSW Government’s Marine Estate Management Strategy.

Dairy Australia’s Fert$mart program assists farmers to implement a standard approach to the preparation, implementation and monitoring of nutrient plans.

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