NZ Dairy Autumn 2022

| 3 nzdairy DAIRY PEOPLE » Brendan and Tessa Hopson Moving into 50/50 sharemilking Russell Fredric Paeroa couple Brendan and Tessa Hopson have worked hard and smart to achieve their goals while achieving a top industry award in the process. The couple have been equity partners and lower order sharemilkers for the past five years, peak milking 315 cows on 108 hectares effective. From next season the 2020 Auckland/Hauraki Dairy Industry Awards Share Farmer of the Year winners are moving to a 50/50 sharemilking position at Paeroa milking 650 cows. Their existing herd will make up half of the new herd. They both grew up on dairy farms. Brendan started his working life as a builder, while Tessa completed a degree in tourism management, but saw dairy as their ultimate destiny. After living in Australia and travelling over a four year period they returned to New Zealand where Brendan worked on a high input, system five farm with split calving. Two years later they bought into the equity partnership and began lower order sharemilking. They now have two children, Toby, 3, and Ollie 18 months. “I guess for us, we had plans to learn as much as we could, that’s probably why we threw ourselves in the high input system, split calving situation.” Preparing their award entry helped with assessing the direction of their business on the back of achieving a significant goal which was to lift the production per cow by 20% to 400kgMS, or 90% of their body weight. “A big one for us was getting the reproductive performance where it should have been and that has given us options to selectively cull and increase the genetic makeup of our overall herd, so that was a big one for us.” “Looking at more efficient cows, that’s the way forward for us. As a new business the big driver for us was debt reduction and having options at the end of year five.” Fundamental to achieving this efficiency was weighing the stock and benchmarking the likes of live-weight targets and body condition scoring more intensively. The ability to finance a higher order position was also helped by the steadily recovering dairy economy following the farm gate milk price crash eight years ago. Tessa says they have been in a unique position during the past five years as both equity owners and lower order share-milkers and will reap the rewards of their decision making and the gains made in the herd.“Now we are in a position to be able to buy those cows and take them with us [for the] next season.” The new herd comprising 330 cows was the first they looked at, but happened to meet their criteria, Brendan says. “I guess we were chasing a specific herd, quite well figured, quite a good fit for the current herd we run.”Being on the cusp of achieving a significant goal is validation of their decision to mark out a career in the dairy industry, he says. “For us it’s a great career choice, we love what we do, we get to include our family. “Obviously as it’s farming there’s plenty of variables, every day’s different. It’s a great way to put food on the table not only for us, but for the rest of the world.” Tessa holding Ollie and Brendan holding Toby Hopson. 118 Normanby Road, Paeroa | 07 862 8263 | "Growing and supporting stronger communities" Tessa & Brendan Hopson PROUD TO SUPPORT PAEROA egional ransport 2020 td REGIONAL TRANSPORT • LIVESTOCK CARTAGE 021 790 296