NZ Dairy Autumn 2022

| 47 nzdairy DAIRY PEOPLE » Jacqui Hahn Jacqui Hahn and her husband Sofus. Overseas genetics a focus • from page 46 Staff shortages from covid hurting farmers Virginia Wright Jacqui Hahn and her husband Sofus milk 1500 cows on 1200 hectares in Te Kuiti, alongside 300 dairy beef and 300 sheep, she is also the Waikato President for Federated Farmers. It’s a role that brings her into contact with farmers throughout the region and gives her a concerning picture about the ongoing affects of Covid on the sector. “It’s really affecting timeliness,”says Jacqui. “Farming is all about doing stuff in time at the right time and it has repercussions when you can’t operate as you should be able to.” Jacqui’s not just talking about work on the farm itself either, although that is a concern in itself, but the additional stress caused by the pinch on services which has a flow-on affect through the community. “An easy example is housing,” she says. “If you have to upgrade your housing for your staff, and you can’t do it because you can’t get the tradies, that means you can’t meet your obligations so you can’t get the staff you need on farm.” Jacqui gives another example from her own situation. “Getting power connected has been affected by staff shortages as well. In our case we removed a “fossil” diesel generator and brought power to the dairy shed. It took over seven months to get that connected even though it was all there ready.” The net result was they had to keep using the generator which was well past its best which caused flow-on affects around the farm as it continually broke down. Jacqui’s concerned that logistical problems arising from the staff shortages resulting from Covid realised that we needed to use overseas genetics to get good quality animals. “Initially our focus was on producing a cow that would do well in the show ring, while at the same time they had to milk well. If they didn’t make the show ring, they still milked well. But milking oncea-day was holding them back so we changed to twice-a-day.” Pat and Shelley have mainly used Semex genetics, along with World Wide Sires and a bit of ST Genetics. “At moment we’re working on improving fertility traits and we’re also bringing some polled genetics in too.” Earlier this year Pat and Shelley’s pedigree Holsteins were placed first or second across all age groups in the Bay of Plenty Regional Semex NZ On Farm competition. “The Nationals were held a week ago, but won’t know the result of that till June when they are announced at the Holstein Conference.” are putting more pressure on farmers, already struggling with unpredictable weather conditions, as they bounce from the very early arrival of hot, dry weather to the tail end of cyclones bringing unseasonal flooding. Getting animals off farm to the meatworks to save having to feed them can come with high costs. For Jacqui the country can’t open up soon enough. Covid aside, Jacqui’s ongoing concern from a Federated Farmers’ point of view is to do with staffing contracts as costs continue to rise. “Federated Farmers’ biggest workload in the dairy sector is dealing with contracts that have gone wrong,” says Jacqui. “Farmers with contract milkers who are on a set milk price need to sit down with their contractors and review the costs that were originally indicated and check that they’re fair and valid because prices have gone up across the board so contractors could be short-changed and in a poor position because of it.” Federated Farmers put contracts on their website for the sharemilking, contract milking sector and the farm owners sector, which include figures based on the previous season, and keep up to date with any new law changes. Problems generally arise from a lack of communication when things change after the contract has been signed, and with a steady stream of queries and requests for help already coming in when the season was little more than halfway through Jacqui has a clear message for all concerned if they want to avoid legal hassles. “If you would talk to each other when things start to go wrong then a solution could be found in a timely manner,” says Jacqui, “but if you leave it til the end of the season it’s too late, a situation that we would all ideally like to avoid.” “An easy example is housing. If you have to upgrade your housing for your staff, and you can’t do it because you can’t get the tradies, that means you can’t meet your obligations so you can’t get the staff you need on farm.” DOMESTIC · COMMERCIAL · INDUSTRIAL Action Electrical are proud to support Sofus & Jacqui Hahn 24 HOURS, 7 DAYS A WEEK SERVICE Taupo: 07 378 8545 Otorohanga: 07 873 6385 Te Kuiti: Ph 07 878 5169 ∙ Over 100 years experience ∙ Specialising in Dairy Shed Installation and maintenance ∙ Metalwork Processing Plants ∙ Timber Processing Plants ∙ Agricultural Plants & Quarries ∙ New Houses/Renovations ∙ Plus Much more CALL US TODAY! 83 Kio Kio Station Rd, RD4, Otorohanga Ph: 07 873 1800 Mob: 029 833 0011 Email: WE AREMORE THAN JUSTMILKING SPECIALISTS with 24/7 Service Feel free to call in, visit our shop and discuss any requirements you have in regards to your dairy shed. 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