the guy Martin Rustagno He was very clear about what to do once he became an agronomist. He was going to study and had experience in another part of the world and after that he would be able to apply everything he learned in Argentina upon his return. Despite the difficulties of the decision, it is currently succeeding precisely in one of the major milk-producing countries, such as New Zealand.
Martin was born in Cordovan, San Francisco and was in the city school where he started taking an interest in the countryside because his family was not connected to the activity. He obtained a degree in Agricultural Engineering in 2019 from the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences of the Litoral National University in Speranza – Santa Fe, and he also received a diploma in agribusiness in 2018 at the National University of Villa Maria. He recalled that in his school days he was a trainee at Ceylon Health Center and Asoc. And its director is plant pathologist Margarita Celone, who also has promoted him as a professional.
One when received from an agronomist, It was received from a cachitologist (As friend and colleague Claudio Bosco told me), we know very little about everything. But The profession of agronomy is so broad that later a separate world awaits us Each professional will go to the branch he likes the most and will specialize there, “he began by explaining.
Ashburton, New Zealand.
So in his case, the branches he loved the most were milk and meat production, precision agriculture and livestock, and bioeconomy, among others. Instead, the idea was to go through several countries to gain knowledge of each sector. But he acknowledged that every specification is so comprehensive that it would be difficult for him to cover everything. Additionally, while he was climbing up positions at the companies he worked in in New Zealand dairy production, for now he will continue to deepen his knowledge of the activity.
But Getting to New Zealand wasn’t easy, and even less so, to become the assistant manager of a dairy farm in the oceanic country, the current position he holds. Once he received it, after sending out “a lot of emails” and submitting 80 to 130 vacancies per day, he was finally able to contact a New Zealand company. “The anecdotal thing about this is that every day in the evening I would go to pick up companions from my grandmother and she would always tell me, ‘And? Something new? Did something happen? … and the answer is always no,’ he laughed.
“It is extremely difficult, if not impossible, for someone on the other side of the world to hire you without your knowledge, and above all, in my case without work experience as a professional. Oh well, I never lost hope and kept applying“, It is to explain.
Thus, after many attempts, the first step of his ambitious goal was taken as soon as he received it. And in 2019, he traveled to his destination.
“In the beginning it was difficult for me and it still costs a lot to get away from everything, but it is important not to lose the North, and not to lose this goal, that goal that I set for myself when I arrived in New Zealand,” he said.
The amount that the industry pays for a dairy product corresponds to the price per kilogram of solids.
The first city he lived in was in Wanaka, located on the South Island, surrounded by mountains and lakes. He compared it to that it is very similar to southern Argentina. There is a business in a dairy factory with 5,000 dairy cows on an area of 3,000 hectares. “The whole field was surrounded by snow-capped mountains, some nearby lakes, and two rivers flowing through the field. It was a place for showing films.”
There it was developed as Farm assistantAnd it’s the first step when you go to work at a New Zealand dairy with no experience. “You do basic tasks at all. There I started to learn, although I knew from my studies, I had no experience.”
After 3 months, He got another job at a higher position In a dairy factory of 700 dairy cows located in another city, but they were not adapted to the climate because it rained heavily (about 1,700 mm per year) and it was very cold. Additionally, he indicated that he wanted to know more about irrigation management, so he had to go to an area with little rain and irrigation.
Thus, in February 2020 he got a job The herd manager (Herd manager, as it is known in New Zealand) in a herd of 1,300 cows in Ashburton, Canterbury, the heart of the South Island Dairy Basin.
“My first job was where all the staff spoke English, and that was another reason to accept it because it was the best way to learn it. In the other two classes I always worked with Latinos, so they translate for me several times, on the one hand it was good but on the other hand I wasn’t learning the language.” , He said.
That establishment had a calicetta tambo with 80 percentages, 500 to 600 cows are milked per hourDepending on the time of year. “Really crazy. He noted that I learned a lot in this area, especially how to manage pastures, which is the key to the pastoral system in New Zealand.”
The stocking rate in New Zealand is high, with an average of 3.4 cows / ha.
Then, in October 2020, he was offered a position Assistant Director of the Dairy Factory 900 dairy cows in a dairy with a two-center (fall and spring births) system, feeding and fertilizer barn paths on North Island.
“It caught my attention, because it is not very common to see these dairy farms in New Zealand, and also with responsibility for this position. So I accepted the offer and in November 2020 I moved to North Island to start from scratch again.”
Looking to the future and anticipating that sHe will stay in New Zealand for one or two more seasons But he later wanted to know other systems in other countries such as Japan, Israel, Ireland, Canada and the United States. “I also want to do a master’s degree in animal nutrition or agribusiness. With all this experience and knowledge, I want to return to Argentina,” said the young man who also has an Instagram account “Holatambo” where he tells and shows everything he does in the country of Oceania.
Production differences with Argentina
Focusing on the differences between Argentina and New Zealand dairy products, make this clear in the marketing In oceanic country, there is no word for liter, Meaning that the data that everyone deals with is kilograms of solids per cow per day or kilograms of solids per cow per hectare or per season.
“The payment the industry pays for the dairy product corresponds to the price per kilogram of solidsUnlike Argentina, which is sold in liters, although there are some industries in Argentina that pay for solids and this is very good. “
In terms of production, he added, Argentina is a very large country, so the place depends on which system you will find, for example, in southern Argentina, dairy farms are very similar to New Zealand, that is, pastoral system, with stalled calves and watering. But in the dairy basin there are 100% parked dairy farms or mixed dairy farms.
“The difference if I could make it is Too few employees are required in the New Zealand system. It is estimated that there is 1 person per 200-250 cows depending on the milking regime and if you have irrigation among other things. So for a dairy with 600 cows, which is a common occurrence in New Zealand, where there are only 3 people who calmly take care of it. “
Barnmasterton’s feeding and compost path (where he was currently working).
Another difference is that lCalves are parked on most dairy farmsOnly some dairy farms on the North Island have double parking, and unlike Argentina, the vast majority have continuous births throughout the year.
“The storage load in New Zealand is high, averaging 3.4 cows / ha. The biggest focus here is on pasture production and management, because without grass there is no milk. Due to the issue of soil and climate, it cannot produce the same crops that are produced in Argentina, nor does it have access to the same nutritional supplements, either because none of them exist or because their price is too high. Therefore, if there is very poor management of the rangelands, this lack of food must be compensated by purchasing expensive external inputs, which may make the system unprofitable, “he said.
100 calf feeder in Ashburton.
As for milking, unlike Argentina, The cow does not have a topping nipple, cleaning and drying, A nipple shield is placed directly on it. There are dairy farmers who cut each room once a day and others that cut a quarter every day only in the morning. This makes the milking process much faster and does not require many people as there is no need for anyone to clean or dry the nipples. ”
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