Home' NZ Dairy Farmer : December 2014 Contents 6388322AA
- Lubricated seal
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- High Pressure
- 120-240 m3/hr
- Double chopper system on some models
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PTO EFFLUENT PUMP
SONITA CHANDAR talks to a couple of contract milkers who
are perfecting their performance and lifting profitability.
Contract milkers: Adam Giddens and
Owners: Jan and Nanik Holl
Location: Featherston, Wairarapa
Farm size: 181 hectares
Cows: 420 fresian/fresian-cross
Production: 2013/2014 130,000
Target: 2014/2015 151,200 kg/ms
Continued page 18
ACONTRACT milker working
toward farm ownership says it
will take several steps to get there
but feels he is heading in the right
Adam Giddens and his fiancée
Rebecca Ireland farm on the
picturesque shores of Lake Wairarapa
in Featherston. They are into their
second season contract milking for farm
owners Jan and Nanik Holl.
In July during the busiest time of the
year, calving, the couple welcomed baby
Giddens, 26, was born and raised in
the Wairarapa but did not grow up on a
dairy farm, although his grandparents
were dairy farmers and he would often
spend holidays on the farm. He also
spent many hours at a farm owned by
family friends Bill and Karel Goodin.
‘‘I would ride my bike out and spend
time with my pet calves,’’ he says.
‘‘When I was about 12-years-old, Bill
decided I was old enough to milk the
cows. By the time I was 15, he was
taking days off and leaving me in charge
which was a great learning ground.’’
After completing a Bachelor of
Commerce Agriculture at Lincoln
University he went to work as a trainee
herd manager on a 1400-cow dairy unit
in Canterbury where after 18 months he
was promoted to farm manager.
Ireland, 24, was born and raised in
Ashburton and says she was a townie
until she met Giddens.
He laughs and says ‘‘townies make
the best workers because you can teach
them how you want the job done’’.
Ireland however was not a complete
novice and had exposure to dairying
through her job at the Dairy Business
Centre. Meeting through mutual
friends, she decided to learn more about
dairying so she could work alongside
‘‘I enrolled in a correspondence course
through Telford which I completed, then
went to work with Adam milking and
rearing calves,’’ she says.
‘‘Milking cows was a bit scary at first.
I was afraid of getting booted.
‘‘But I got used to it quickly and really
enjoy working with the cows and calves.
They are all my pets now.’’
The couple made the decision to go
contract milking instead of lower order
sharemilking or managing a smaller
farm as Giddens’ previous experience
working on a large scale farm counted
‘‘The hardest thing was trying to find
a job we were suited to,’’ he says.
‘‘People would say ‘yes you have
managed a large herd but can you
manage a small herd?’ There is quite a
difference in managing the two and I
didn’t have experience of running my
own business to go sharemilking,’’ he
Giddens says they chose the
Featherston property as they could see
the potential for improvement.
‘‘Working in the South Island is very
different to the North Island,’’ he says.
‘‘I hardly ever saw our neighbours
down there, possibly because of the
geography and large size of the dairy
units. But in the Wairarapa, farms are
smaller, neighbours closer, so
networking is easier.’’
In the short time the couple have
managed the property, production has
increased through better pasture
management, animal health costs are
down and the six-week in-calf rate has
Giddens milks 420 fresian and
fresian/cross cows on 165ha. As a
contract milker, he is paid a fixed rate
per kg/ms. From this, he covers labour
costs, motorbikes and fuel and shed
‘‘The more we produce, the more we
earn as long as we keep the farm
owners’ expenses down,’’ he says.
‘‘Bec and I could see the potential to
increase production, which we have
done, but there is still room to grow
Last season, the herd produced
330kg/ms per cow. This season they are
on target to average 350-360kg/ms.
Prior to Giddens’ employment, the herd
was averaging 300kg/ms.
‘‘When we started, the farm was just
starting to recover from the severe
drought,’’ Giddens says.
‘‘A proportion of the herd was under
condition due to the drought so my first
priority was to get their condition back.’’
Despite the lower condition of some
animals, the farm did record production
during the drought producing
The Dairyman December 2014 17
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