Today was the first day visiting farms, and we had such beautiful weather to welcome us to the amazing country New Zealand has to offer. After a well needed sleep, we were on our way to visit two farms, everyone in awe of the amount of well manicured hedging surrounding properties in the area!
Our first farm was that of Peter and Adele King. They are milking 635 cows, predominately friesian with a few cross breds and some Ayshires. Peters grandfather owned a purely Ayrshire herd back when he first started farming, his son loves them and they cant bear to let them go! In the winter time they walk their dry cows 12km to a wintering block. This involves obtaining a license ($1200), having people out from the council to hold signs to monitor and hold traffic, 2 quad bikes with a bungee between them to keep the cows in control and a day off school for the kids. Big Operation!!
We discussed as a group that being a 5th generation farmer, he operated with more similar practices to Australia than the next farm we saw, which was that share milked by Mike and Susie Woodward.
The farm is 50/50 owned by Synlait and the Woodward family. They are milking 1050 crossbred cows in a split calving herd. We found this farm different to what we have seen before as it was very structured, organised and had a management hierarchy. Everything workers needed to know was clearly written on a whiteboard and everything in the dairy had an obvious spot and was clearly labelled. We found their “Serious Piss Off List” very funny even though I’m sure some of us are guilty of one or two things!!
We finished the afternoon off getting (almost) drowned on a Jetboat. It was an awesome experience!!!
It was great to see the Rakaia Gorge from the water and really appreciate how beautiful it is up close. There was time for a hike to the lookout afterwards then we finished it off with some fish and chips in the dicey little beach town known as New Brighton.
– Ellie Field