“We’ve increased production by 25% in two years.” Graeme Hewlett, Dairy Farmer Mata, South Whangarei

Graeme milks 450 cows south of Whangarei and has been using C-Dax products for some years. Like most farmers, Graeme is keen to keep pushing the goal-posts out in order to maximise efficiencies and profitability. Over the years Graeme has had a few C-Dax products and recently he’s invested in XC1 Smart Control to partner his modern farming approach.

Graeme’s Herd Manager, Brendon Davison, uses their Pasture Meter weekly. The information from the measuring runs are used to quickly and accurately create feed wedges which dictate their cows’ rotation schedules—a job that used to take considerable time. They’re also able to utilise XC1’s cross platform capabilities and use the console from their C-DIT spreaders on the bike with their Pasture Meter.

The Pasture Meter technology also enables them to quickly identify surpluses or deficits early on. Graeme says “Being able to see these surpluses in good time and be able to take full advantage of them has been critical to the increase we’ve had in production.” When they’ve seen a pending surplus they’ve been able to shut up the paddocks and take off a crop of silage while still maintaining regular production. “By handling the surplus at the right time we’ve also managed to get high quality feed, which also keeps our production higher. ”

Graeme purchased his C-DIT spreaders and Pasture Meter through C B Norwoods Whangarei because he knows that they’re geared up to be able to service the machines when they come to need it. During the initial set up Graeme and Brendon were able to easily have their questions answered and the after sales back up from C-Dax met all their expectations.

XC1 C-DIT 1300 + 400 SPREADERS
Graeme’s decision to purchase a C-DIT 1300 3PL spreader with XC1 Smart Control capability wasn’t a difficult one. He compared various spreaders on the market and found that C-Dax’s C-DIT 1300 stood out from the rest. “Being able to get control and automation for the same price as other manual spreaders is impressive” says Graeme.

XC1 Smart Control has been a real bonus to the Hewletts farming operation. The spreader itself requires no calibration when using the pre-programmed applications and the XC1 console totally controls the flow rate. “It’s simple—the menu is easy to follow and all you have to do is select the product you’re wanting to spread and the rate you require, then you’re away.” Graeme finds that one of the best features of XC1 Smart Control is the abiity to make driving very easy. “Being able to change up a gear in the New Holland tractor when the going is good is a real feature, Smart Control automatically adjusts the spreader to maintain the correct rate of application.”

Graeme has also been impressed by the accuracy of the spreader and the outstanding width of the spread pattern. Being confident that the spreader is doing the job in the most efficient way possible.

Another bonus of Smart Control technology that Graeme appreciates is its ability to future-proof his applications. Having the software for proof of placement records means applications are fully traceable should you be required to submit this information at any future date.

Graeme has also purchased a C-DIT 400 to utilise when the weather conditions become too much for heavy machinery. The C-DIT 400 is fitted with floatation style tyres as standard to ensure your pasture is protected as much as possible and works from the same console as his C-DIT 1300.

Graeme Hewlett, Dairy Farmer Mata, South Whangarei


Donald Martin, GrassCo, RD 1, Wyndham

I would like to thank you for your help in getting my Pasture Meter up and running at the start of this season. My small business has grown to the point that we can cover up to 700ha per day with the grass measuring and travel over 160km per day. I am not sure if the sledge was ever designed to do such work. At this stage it is holding up very well.

I have clients that are feeding their cows on 22KgDm/day and they are pumping out 440kg/MS (all grass).Which is right up there and that is because of the C-Dax Pasture Meter and the way they use the data.

The data that the meter is putting out is spot on and with GPS things are going very well.

I would like to be kept in the loop for new developments because not that long ago plate meters were the only way to go and now they are yesterday’s technology, and I am sure there is more work being done to improve the Pasture Meter.


“Getting the Basics Right 2010”, a Rural News Group publication, reveals another success story for Pasture Meter and FarmKeeper

“After seeing a display at the National Fieldays in Mystery Creek, Sam, Linda, and Tony saw the potential benefits of investing in the C-Dax pasture meter. The drawcard was the large amount of accurate information about pasture that can be collected in a short space of time.

The product combined well with FarmKeeper mapping technology, Tony says, which served to amplify the potential benefits of the information: “There’s a huge variety of farm management reports that are available within the software,” he says. “For me, the biggest plus is the greater accuracy about what’s going on with the grass, and it just saves so much time.”

Ellis says the system is easy to set-up, attach, and use: “It’s just a case of riding the bike. Some spots are hilly but the contours don’t affect sensor readings…It’s useful because I can easily identify where the surplus is. FarmKeeper produces an excellent feed wedge (graph) — it shows my longest grass to all the way down to my shortest, with precise numbers all the way along it…” Tony expects C-Dax and FarmKeeper to play an increasingly important role in farm management over the next year or so…“
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Farm manager Tony Fischer (left) and farm worker Ellis Evans with their C-Dax Pasture Meter

Jonathan Breach

“This is our first year sharemilking and of course we are looking at keeping costs low, so one of the decisions we made was to purchase a pasture measurement system.

After unsuccessful trials with alternative pasture measurement systems it was then that we decided to go with a C-Dax Pasture Meter which I had used at my last job. It was easy and fast to setup and within days of ordering we were out on the farm doing pasture rides and getting fast, consistent and accurate results.”

Jonathan Breach with his Pasture Meter

NZ Dairy Exporter; July 2009
“‘Data girl, gadget boy’ get results”

Written by Anne Lee

“Using information on when each paddock was grazed, how many cows grazed it and for how long, in graph form tallied over a season clearly showed the poorer producing areas. ‘From there we asked why those paddocks weren’t performing,’ Corrigan said. ‘Was it the soils, fertility, age of pastures, weeds, irrigation—what?” Despite around 70 percent of the farm being regrassed or oversown with modern cultivars in the past six years, they found old pasture species had invaded many of the poorer paddocks because of previous inconsistent grazing residuals. The data also caused them to question their irrigation system, so they had their pumps checked along with the volumes and pressures through the K-Line system, and the uniformity of application....”
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Corrigan Sowman and Ruth Guthrie, Takaka
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John Lynskey, Oeo

“We farm at Oeo on two adjourning properties. Total effective area of 560 hectares. The cows are run in five herds. 400 heifers are milked through a 36 bail rotary. The other four herds of mature cows are milked through a 60 bail rotary. The heifer herd is replaced by a winter milking herd that comprises of autumn calving cows and some empties. All of the cows are calved on the main property with heifers then sent to their milking block each week once they’ve been broken in.

The main farm has been put together by amalgamating a number of neighboring farms over recent years. The result of these amalgamations means that we have a water and track network that was set up for a number of smaller farms. This leaves us with over 300 paddocks. Walking the farm means covering a distance of 30km. The large number of paddocks means quite a bit of extra data entry work but even with fewer paddocks the total distance would have to be covered. This distance to be covered on foot and all of the associated data entry meant that pasture assessment was a very laborious task. We needed to simplify the task.

I made a number of enquires as to the suitability of the C-Dax Pasture Meter. After speaking to a number of farmers who had purchased one I was satisfied that any teething problems were well and truly ironed out so made the decision at the start of the 08/09 season to purchase one.

I’m more than happy with this decision. The task has been simplified in that the work is done by riding a quad and not on foot. A very big attraction to the staff. It now means that we can return to the farm office, download the information by the Bluetooth connection then generate a feed wedge from the associated programme.

The biggest advantage though is that any member of the staff with very minimal training can go out and complete this task. To send them out to do a visual assessment or even with a rising plate meter would have them returning with a wide range of results. We need accurate information and the Pasture Meter is certainly providing it.

We have the added advantage in that we do a diagonal pattern across the paddocks. This allows us to see the top and bottom of each paddock and allows us to keep a check on farm maintenance. Walking the farm generally means cutting through the middle of all of the paddocks. The diagonal pattern also means that on our flat property that the operators travel over the same route each time meaning we have even more consistency in our pasture assessment.

The farm has been covered all this season on a 7-10 day basis. This has allowed the sharemilker to maintain excellent pasture residuals. It will be a very important tool this autumn and drying off will not be a ‘hit and miss” experience as even with the best intentions over the last couple of seasons we’ve never had the accurate information needed to make the timely decisions.

It is very difficult to quantify the advantages at this stage but I am more than confident that they are there from the database of information that we are building up on the farm (individual paddock growth rates) to allowing us to make decisions around purchased feed and urea usage etc and keeping grass ME levels at their optimum.

The back-up and support from the C-Dax team has been excellent and they are more than happy to address any early ‘learning’ problems.”

John Knowles and John Lynskey (right) with their Pasture Meter

Neville Porteous and Carlton Smythe, Northland

Northland business partners Neville Porteous and Carlton Smythe have a keen eye for increasing their farms efficiency and profitability.

They purchased a C-Dax pasture meter in August of 2008 with the intention of harnessing even more of their farms potential pasture output. Since then, in an independent cost/benefit analysis Neville and Carlton found that they saved over $5,000 in urea fertiliser application costs through careful pasture and grazing management. C-Dax were made aware of this result through Kelvin Platt of Kaiwaka Suzuki, Kelvin is an advocate for tools, such as the Pasture Meter, that allow farmers to make informed grazing decisions.

Neville and Carlton achieved that outstanding result by accurately identifying feed supply and animal demand and withholding Urea application as all of the pasture cover data collected by the C-Dax Pasture Meter showed that the farm was producing enough feed and, with careful grazing management, the additional growth cause by a urea application would not be needed. This required a leap of faith in the Pasture Meter but that single decision made by Neville and Carton has meant that the pasture meter device has paid for itself already.

Neville also points out future advantages of the Pasture Meter, saying “Other things we have benefitted from is buying in grass silage, we were able to tow the pasture meter through paddocks we were purchasing grass from and get an accurate assessment of how much was there. Also, my herd managers are becoming dependent on the information from the meter to calculate feed requirements for their herds, they are always looking forward to getting the next report.”

The team at C-Dax congratulate Neville and Carlton on their outstanding result.

Bevan Brown, Tapanui

“The C-Dax Pasture Meter is awesome. I bought it September 2006 and it would have paid for itself by November 2006, and this was when I was on 25% milking 230 cows in the Waikato.

The C-Dax Pasture Meter saves so much time and energy and means that farm pasture cover actually gets done weekly and residuals can be monitored as the cows come out of the paddock. Plate metering the farm used to easily take an extra hour to do, and in Spring you just dont have that extra time. It also used to leave me in agony after measuring the farm with a joint problem I had at the time, and then the cows still needed milking!

The C-Dax Pasture Meter always gives accurate results. You can drive down the same run over and over again and it will be the same, with a plate meter you could walk the run several times and get quite different results.

The C-Dax Pasture Meter is great tool and has helped me utilise pasture much better and in the first season of owning it helped me achieve just over 400ms/cow on an all pasture based system drying off the 3rd of May, the district top 10% was 350ms/cow.

I’m still reaping the rewards of the pasture meter today, and with minimal maintenance and running costs I wouldnt hesitate to recommend one to any farmer wanting to utilise their cheapest source of feed much better.”

Bevan Brown from Tapanui, winner of the $1000 C-Dax voucher draw being congratulated by David Kirk from Advance Agriculture, Gore

Torren Walker, Reporoa

“I purchased my C-Dax Pasture Meter in October 2008, and found it an instant success. There are so many benefits to owning it, that I would say it would easily pay for itself within a year.

Some may say that it’s not viable to purchase it when only managing, but I believe that I have made an investment that will not only benefit my employees but also myself. I believe that it is a tool that every farmer should have.

The C-Dax Pasture Meter is the best buy I have made on farm. It has saved me time and more importantly grass, by knowing exactly what is in the paddock and what is left, I am easily able to identify exactly what the cows are eating and therefore not underfeeding them or wasting grass.

With the Bluetooth option it is easy to upload the data into spreadsheets to do pasture budgets rather than writing it down and then entering into the computer - to be able to know when the deficit is coming or when you are heading into a surplus and therefore be able to act accordingly. I am also looking at ways to transfer the data straight to my Windows Mobile Phone to get a live update of the average pasture cover and what’s available in each paddock.

Without a doubt, the C-Dax Pasture meter is the most accurate way to measure grass out there, it's the quickest and most reliable aid, it is easy on the body and built to last and the best thing is anyone can use it by just pushing a few buttons!

I would no doubt recommend it to any farmer out there who wants to utilise their grass.”

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