NZ Dairy Autumn 2022

26 | nzdairy DAIRY PEOPLE » John Tanner John’s Kiwi farming journey took him from Dunsandel to a number of dairy farms around the Mid-Canterbury region. Richard Loader Englishman John Tanner set off on his big OE after completing university and got as far as New Zealand. Wanting to play rugby, John got a job on a dairy farm in Dunsandel and now, twenty-six years later, he’s lived in New Zealand as long as he had lived in UK. “My family had dairy farms in Somerset in the South West of England. We used to process our own milk and distribute it locally around Somerset County. I always wanted to be a farmer. My mother wanted me to be what’s called in the UK a Lands Surveyor, which is like a farmer’s lawyer. But I couldn’t stand the idea of having farmers phoning me up complaining and wanting me to sort their problems out. My father would’ve liked me to have done construction like he diversified into doing, but I’m bloody hopeless at building anything, which my wife Jackie can’t understand because dad is so good at it. But I like being outside and either producing food from the cows or growing crops.” John’s Kiwi farming journey took him from Dunsandel to a number of dairy farms around the Mid-Canterbury region. Progressing from dairy assistant to manager to lower order sharemilker to 50/50 sharemilker, before he and Jackie finally took the deep plunge into farm ownership. “In 2013 we decided it was now or never, and bought the farm we are now on, Dunlac Dairies, in Leeston, with two other equity partners. The partnership now is down to two different families, with me and Jackie managing it as contract milkers.” The milking platform is 175 hectares but with run-off/support block the total farm is 266 hectares. “We run all our young stock on the support block and we do our own winter grazing. Apart from a gully or two that we like to think of as hills, the farm is dead flat and fully irrigated with five pivots, one gun, and the rest k-line. We have three diverse soil types; 5% heavy soil, with the rest rock and sand. In some areas From Somerset to the South Pacific the fence posts going into the ground have to be reinforced to get through the rock.” The farm milks 685 cows that John says are a mix of all sorts including Friesians, Jerseys, Kiwi Cross. Prior to the borders being shut John used to employ Irish students twice a year to work on the farm. When the borders shut, Kieran, one of the past students wanted to come back and has been on the farm ever since. “I think he will do the same as me. He’s got a Kiwi girlfriend now and he said he didn’t want to go back to Ireland because its wet and cold. So I don’t think he will be going back in a hurry. A young Kiwi fellow, Alex is the other young man working here. He’s a good fellow, young Alex. I’m still in the shed and hands on. When the boys are having days off I fill in.” • Concrete • Fertiliser Spreading - Farm Mapping - GPS Tracking - Variable Rate Spreading • Livestock Cartage • Grain Cartage • Shingle Supplies • Daily Freight Leeston: 03 3248 070 Dunsandel: 03 3254 039 We are proud to supply ATV’s & Motorcycles to John Tanner Dairy farms usually add well over $800/ha/yr net profit over 3 years Enhancing soil, plant & animal health Email: Website: 88 Treffers Road, PO Box 323, Sockburn Free On-Farm Delivery Free On-Farm Service