Matt Hodgson, from Archway Group has a reputation for his innovation, knowledge and getting things done attitude, is a guest speaker at the New Zealand Future Farms Conference in Palmerston North as well as exhibiting at the Central Districts Field Days.

Archway Group is owned by husband and wife team, Matt and Amanda. They have become credible leaders in Agri Nutrient Containment field. Matt and his team aren’t interested in the hard sell but prefer to come away with the satisfaction that they have educated their farmers into decisions. ‘‘You only have one chance to get the right infrastructure in the right place – you need to think about the long term and what you think that may look like to future proof your farm,’’ says Matt. The key drivers to all of this are basically that there are more cows, less land and less water. So keeping these things in mind you then need to:

1. Have a plan
2. Do it properly and
3. Keep it simple!

You may not think that you will need one now, but in five years time, where is that feed pad/silage bunker/weeping wall etc going to go, and what infrastructure is going to be in the way between now and then? All too often we are pulling up relatively new infrastructure to lay services for something else, or removing something to make room for something new, or increasing sizes of things because of more cow numbers or the system has been under spec’d. Identifying the lay of the land, soil types, available area and gravity/no gravity are all important things to think about when making a plan – and most importantly what system is best suited to the farm, and how everything knits together simply and practically. North Island wide with aspirations of moving their expertise into the South, Archway Group is busier than ever. ‘‘We do a lot for Maori Trusts; their view is that they are here forever so they want to make sure they are doing things right. Cow housing is also a big thing at the moment – we have come up with a system that simplifies it and makes it so much quicker for the team that come in and build the sheds. We have a drystore bunker system with a sliding roof which have been really popular and have been right into the back blocks for sheep and beef farmers putting in new super bins. The aerial operators continue to struggle with under capacity in fertiliser bins. Many of the fertiliser bins built in the 60s and 70s have 50-60 tonne capacity, which at a 16t/h flown on only supports about three hours flying – not very economical when you look at it like that is it!

Matt says Archway Group does everything they can in workshop so that the concrete panels and materials turn up on site making, site time minimal. Most jobs are done within the week, as they have a pretty efficient system and a good team of hard workers. Last year Archway Group commissioned Debbie Care from AgVice (and peer reviewed by Opus) to undertake a cost benefit analysis of the mechanical separation systems vs Archway Weeping Wall vs Pond Only Systems. ‘‘It really did blow us away. In summary, the Archway Weeping Wall has an average of 70 per cent lower operating costs that the other two systems which is vital in years like these, and after only four years the Archway Weeping Wall System becomes more cost effective that the other two systems,’’ says Amanda. ‘‘The Archway Weeping Wall really is a neat product – but again only if it suits the farm – takes away so much headache with staff, pumps and stirrers etc – and we warranty our Weeping Wall for 20 years – it’s engineered designed and built to stand the test of time which is what you want, right?’’

Archway Group prides itself on the team of professionals it has built up around it and the relationships it has built with regional councils.