- The best thing about being a farmer is working outside a lot and that it is physical work. It is nice in spring and summer. I may work far too much, but there are some nice glimpses in everyday life - like when I walk in the pasture with the animals, or when I'm home when the children come home from school.
That is what farmer Ole Håkon Farstad tells us. He bought his farm "Ruggå" on the open market 10 years ago, and he has already received a placard for 10 years of "Elite milk" from Tine - Norway's largest producer, distributor, and exporter of dairy products.
- I was born and raised on a dairy farm, but I was the youngest in the group of siblings. When I couldn't take over the family farm, I bought a neighboring farm just five minutes away, says Ole Håkon.
He carefully considered whether to buy the farm or not and some time passed before he finally decided to buy "Ruggå".
- I don't know if I would have done the same today, because of the economics. I guess I was young and naive then, laughs Ole Håkon.
Ole Håkon has always worked as a farm helper and enjoys taking care of animals. He likes to make things grow and to create things. Like when he does work that produces results two years down the line.
- I am not a "nine to five"-kind of guy. I like the flexibility of a farm, where I get to manage the workday myself. On the farm there are lots of varied tasks and we rarely do the same thing for long, so I rarely get bored. I'm likely the restless type, Ole Håkon says with a twinkle in his eye.
On a typical spring day on the farm, Ole Håkon gets up and goes straight to the barn. He then eats a quick breakfast, before he heads back out to continue working on the farm. Currently, there is a lot of fertilizing and fencing to be done. Then dinner time, before he goes out to work some more. To finish off the day he takes another round in the barn.
- It's non-stop all day. Yesterday I worked 18 hours. Wintertime is a little quieter, so I don't work as far into the evening. Sometimes we even take the day off. We try to have some family time. Out to walk in nature, mountain climbing, or to a playground with the children, says Ole Håkon.
Ole Håkon is currently working on operational plans for a new barn with open housing. The stall barn that he has today is from the 70s, which he has since expanded both upwards and sideways. In the next two to three years, he will have to decide on further investments.
- I have too little space in my stall barn for the production volume that I have today. But I'm allowed to operate the stall barn until 2034. In the long term, I will have to either scale back production, or I will have to build a new one to meet the new national regulations. The goal is open housing and robotic milking for the future. I like milking the way I do currently, but it will be easier with a milking robot, says Ole Håkon.
On Ole Håkon's coastal farm, the weather is the biggest challenge when it comes to producing good forage. The amount of rainfall is paramount for production.
- Last year there was a lot of rainfall which made the quality of the forage poor. The grass became rough. And the poor forage will have long-lasting effects beyond the winter, says Ole Håkon.
On the farmland, he also has various types of soil, which can be challenging. One year there was a drought, and the grass grew well where he has bogland, but droughts are rare. For the other fields drought is not good.
- Economy is also a challenge in farming. I have made plans for a new farm building and have a lot of rental land, but it is not possible to make new investments today. If you build today, you quickly become more "locked" financially. If I invest 10 - 12 million in new farm buildings, the economic situation may worsen quickly, says Ole Håkon.
Ole Håkon uses Agrilogg every day. "Agrilogg" is the norwegian version of Agrinote. For instance, he enters maintenance on machines and equipment, and documents trenching with the number of hours spent.
- I use everything in the fertilizing and liming module related to manure and inorganic fertilizer. I also use the system for sowing and haying, as well as for number of round bales, Ole Håkon says and adds:
- I am very satisfied with Agrilogg and am impressed by the development. It's pretty good. It is user-friendly, easy to use and easy to navigate. With this system it is also very easy to document for auditors, everything is there. For example; spraying journal. The last time I had a visit from an auditor, he was very pleased that I used Agrilogg. Audits in general are a good reason to choose Agrilogg, it goes smoothly!
- Is there anything you miss in this system?
- Yes, under grazing. It should be possible to divide a field into smaller sections. That could be a good function, if there are more demands for such documentation in the future, concludes Ole Håkon Farstad.