Wet winter for NZ Young Farmers' Auckland dairy farm

Posted by on 16 August 2018 | Comments

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The covered herd home on the NZ Young Farmers-owned Donald Pearson Farm has come in handy during a wet winter.

The modern facility on the 74-hectare Auckland dairy farm has been used to feed grass silage to the dairy herd.

“It’s been a particularly wet winter on the farm,” said the chair of the Donald Pearson Farm Board Julie Pirie.

“The new manager Tom Ruki has done a great job utilising the herd home to minimise pasture damage.”

Calving started on July 10th, which is quite early for such a wet farm.

“Ideally the planned start of calving should be between July 20th and July 25th,” she said.

When Muster magazine caught up with Julie in early August, 70 of the 120 Jersey and Milking Shorthorn cows had calved.

Jerseys are a new addition to the herd, with 61 arriving on the property in late May.

The milkers were being fed meal through an in-shed feed system in the 11-aside herringbone shed.

“The meal is being used to help stay on a long round until the grass starts growing,” Julie said in early August.

“We’ve just had some Ammo (fertiliser) flown onto the paddocks using a helicopter because it’s so wet.”

“That happened a fortnight later than we had hoped because the helicopter has been so busy,” she said.

As well as new cows on the farm, two new members have joined the Donald Pearson Farm Board.

Stu Muir has replaced Tiaki Hunia and Sam Robinson will be the NZ Young Farmers Board representative on the board.

“Stu is a well-known Waikato dairy farmer who has excellent environmental stewardship credentials and a strong connection with iwi and young people,” said Julie.

“Sam brings in a lot of governance experience to the board.”

Former chief executive Terry Copeland will continue serving on the board for the foreseeable future.

NZ Young Farmers members will get a chance to visit the farm for a strategic planning session.

The day is being organised by Northern Region Young Farmers.

“It will be an opportunity for an interactive brainstorming session so we can be assured the board and members’ plans and vision for the farm align,” said Julie.

The property will continue to be run as a fully operational dairy farm while its future as an educational farm is mapped out.