Above: Joel Hensman (right) with Charlie Halley, farm manager for Onuku Maori Trust Sheep & Beef Farm
Joel Hensman grew up on a sheep and beef farm in the Hawke’s Bay, and after completing a Bachelor of Agricultural Science he went farming in the Wairarapa and Bay of Plenty. Today he’s a Farm Management Consultant with AgFirst Consultants (Central) Ltd., based in Rotorua, where he works with sheep, beef and dairy farmers throughout the Bay of Plenty and Central Plateau regions.
The best tool for the job
Joel is very aware of the challenges farmers face regarding all aspects of farm management. He is also pretty excited about the future of New Zealand pastoral farming.
For this reason Joel uses FARMAX – a decision support tool he describes as “incredibly powerful” – for pulling all farm indicators together in one place, looking at the whole farm system, and then using its science-based modeling capability to see what will happen if different policies or practices are changed.
“FARMAX is great for quantifying your decision making by modeling different scenarios before you actually implement changes on-farm. Of course the quality of the information you get out of the system depends on the quality that is put in.”
Improving the bottom-line
As a consultant, Joel said there are a lot of tools he can use with farmers, and FARMAX was one of the most valued.
He regularly recommends the system to fellow consultants and farm managers in particular, backed by his own on-farm and consultancy experience in which FARMAX provided the justification required to make important decisions affecting farm performance.
“Certainly for farm managers who would like to make policy changes but need to quantify them to investors, trustees or owners, FARMAX can be used to identify potential opportunities for taking the farm business forward.”