Adrian van Bysterveldt, died January 29, 2019

Adrian van Bysterveldt was one of those rare individuals who could impart even the most technical of messages in a seemingly effortless way by leading you on a storytelling journey.

He had the ability to enthral, drawing you in, his passion and excitement contagious as he built on each point and all the while carefully watching under those infamous eyebrows to see you were following – that the message was getting through.

He’d trained as a teacher in his younger days but thankfully for the New Zealand, and Irish dairy industries, he went dairy farming before combining the two skill sets and embarking on a career with DairyNZ.

His funeral was video linked in NZ and Ireland such was his impact on pasturebased dairying.

Speakers at his funeral frequently referred to Adrian as a rock star of pasture systems, eagerly sought after by groups and individuals to share, in his impassioned way, what was always data and science backed information.

Shortly after the Lincoln University Dairy Farm (LUDF) was established Adrian joined its management team and played a leading role in the farm’s huge success because of his ability to clearly articulate the grazing principles put into practice on the farm.

Speaking at his funeral DairyNZ developer Simon Sankey summed up Adrian’s approach well when he said “for Adrian it was about clarity not simplicity”.

He didn’t shy away from the complexity of the why and with his abilities as a gifted teacher was able to share those complexities in a way that enabled a wide audience to understand.

Adrian’s ability to impart the why added to LUDF’s success and saw farmers take up the principles in droves.

Graham Kerr of Barenbrug Agriseeds worked closely with Adrian at LUDF and says it wasn’t just his ability to articulate and his contagious enthusiasm but also the fact Adrian was accurate with his message.

“It was based on sound fact, sciencebacked principles, so what he was saying was right and farmers saw that when they followed the systems Adrian talked about, they got results,” Graham says.

He also recalls that it was Adrian who developed the feed wedge graphic for LUDF, showing pasture covers for each paddock, lined up in order from highest to lowest overlaid with the demand line.

In 2009 Adrian and his wife Annie headed off to Ireland where Adrian worked for Teagasc.

Speaking at his funeral, Dairy Holdings general manger Colin Glass said Adrian, infamous for wearing his shorts year-round while in Ireland, was as sought after there as a speaker as he was in NZ.

When he returned in 2011 Adrian changed tack with DairyNZ and focused on helping farmers with governance again having a significant impact on farm business performance around the country.

In 2015 he returned to helping farmers with pasture management before taking up a position with Dairy Holdings as what Colin referred to as “our pasture coach.”

He too spoke of Adrian’s passion for pasture, his ability to deliver a consistent message with energy even if he had five farm visits in a day and the huge positive effect he’d had within the Dairy Holdings business.

Lincoln University lecturer Marv Pangborn said Adrian was one of his most popular guest lecturers and a born teacher, engaging the students to the extent they wanted to continue questions and discussion long after the lecture was scheduled to finish.

Adrian was well known for his road cycling endeavours and love of the outdoors. Those who knew Adrian knew though that his family came above all else. He spoke often of his five children, his grandchildren and his wife Annie.

The dairy industry has much to thank them for in sharing Adrian. With every farm walk he’ll be remembered.