Day 5 – A look behind the scenes and different ways of doing business

We woke up in Dunedin which is the worlds 5th largest city, based on Geographical area. After a cooked breakfasts we all jumped into the bus and headed of to one of the famous lookouts in Dunedin.

A short drive down the road we where greeted by Wayne Nicol from PGG Wrightsons Seeds Agronomics Services. In the south the main pasture variety they use is white clover and rye grass mix. Studies have shown that on average the south grow 18-20t dry matter a year. Across the whole of NZ there is 12,000 dairy herds with just a bit over 5 million cows. One of the current pests that is different to Australia is the Argentine stem weevil. (ASW) is a pest of short term ryegrass without endophyte throughout NZ.

Wayne filled the group in on the changing attitudes toward fodderbeet

After a short walk across the road we sat down and had a chat with Dunedin’s Rabobank branch manager Ryan Frew. Over the last ten years Rabobanks easset has grown by 300% with 60% of there clientele come from dairy. In 1999/2000 there was 1,764 workers in dairy and in 2017/18 there has been an increase to 3,519. With the increase by near double it the industry is having troubles getting NZ staff and have turned to interntaional contracts to fill the increase in jobs. One of the main problems they are facing is the dairy industry is very hard for young farmers to purchase their own farm.

The group discussed lending criteria with Ryan from Rabobank

Glenn and Lynne where our next stop of the day on our way to Invercargill. Circle Hill Limited was formed in 2014 and is now a 560 cows farm, made up of eight shareholders. We had a walk through their 40 a side herringbone where he milks a mixed breed of cows. Glen is a very good person to learn from as he has built up the farm and is now going to go out and start selling tools for Snaptools.

Glenn and Lynne hold seperate Farm manager and Board member roles, which can lead to some robust discussions at home

On our way to Invercargill we stopped at a Raw milk dairy. Logan, the owner, was kind enough to come out and have a chat. They milk 22 cows all year round and sell fresh milk to their loyal customers and out of a vending machine. The milk is sold at $3.00 a litre and is only kept fresh in the vat for 24 hours. Testing costs for Logan ran at $50,000 per year, but he explained that he wanted to try and keep the price of the product down to make sure it is accessible for his customers.

Logan explained his testing and compliance regime

Once we arrived in Invercargill we had our dinner with the young farmers. We had a chat over tea as to what happens with their young leaders and how to keep young people engaged. I personally learnt a lot from this night.

– Tom Stuart

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