NZ Dairy Autumn 2022

| 67 nzdairy No place like home for Taranaki couple Richard Loader Andy Whitehead has farmed throughout Taranaki and the world, but reckons he and his wife Debi have found the very best place to milk cows, under the mountain and right beside the sea. The couple milk 400 cows in Oaonui, a small community in the west of Taranaki, just a few kilometres from the sunny side of that most majestic maunga. The 138-hectare farm goes right to the edge of the Tasman Sea, one of the very few in New Zealand with privately owned sand dunes protected under QE11 covenant. We’re summer dry,” says Andy. “Being so close to the coast is a challenge and part of that is a moving dune with the sand migrating over our boundary fence.” A nearby 13-hectare run-off provides a home to the farm’s young stock. Andy and Debi are in 50/50 equity partnership with the farm’s original owners and operate under a 70/30 sharemilking arrangement, which Andy says has provided a real win/win benefits for all partners. “We could never have afforded to buy a 400 cow farm by ourselves. For us the equity model where we are 70% sharemilkers on a 100% cost structure has been a win-win. It lets us make the decisions but with financial incentive because we have ownership in the land. The original farm owners have been able to keep an interest in the property and gain from that equity ownership.” At 53, Andy is beginning to look beyond the horizon and reckons he and Debi might have 10 years maximum before they say adieu to the milking, quickly adding that he enjoys farming just as much now as he did when he was that 13 year old kid helping his dad milk a small herd of pedigree Ayrshires. “Farming is something I have always enjoyed. I have enjoyed the variety that farming offered. It’s a bit of environmental, it’s a bit of building, it’s a bit of mechanics. Historically that has been the big advantage of New Zealand farming. Everybody got to do a bit of everything. The challenge for the industry is that we’re expecting people to specialise as milk harvesters or tractor drivers. I still enjoy farming just as much as I did when I was growing up with all the opportunities it presented back then.” The trick to Andy and Debi exit from milking in a seven to ten year time frame is finding ways to buy Bradley holding Macy with Bex Anderson, Andy and Debi Whitehead. DAIRY PEOPLE » Andy Whitehead the remaining 50% of the equity partnership while at the same helping the next generation in. “We’ve been fortunate in that the original farm owners helped us in with a 50/50 equity partnership, so its working out how we can make that work for the next generation. There are so many people out there who are looking at a way out of farming, while others are looking at a way in. We have a good balance of time off farm, good life balance. We want that for the next ones coming in. We don’t want them to be working 24/7, because there’s plenty of good fishing and tramping — it’s a beautiful spot.” Andy says farming is as much about the children, that next generation. “That’s how I grew up. Kids are part of farming. That’s what its all about, setting up that next generation to be able to do and enjoy farming as much as we have.” Kinatai Engineering is proud to support Andy & Debi Whitehead Call Troy on 027 857 5747 for all your Engineering requirements Taranaki’s only authorised dealer for Massey Ferguson, Fendt, Valtra & Iseki 101 Broadway, Stratford 4332 | 06 765 8643 admin@ | www. CONTACT US FOR ALL YOUR TRACTOR & MACHINERY NEEDS TARANAKI LIMITED Your Agriculture Company AGCO Proudtosupply&serviceAndy Whitehead’s farmequipment • Generators • Water Pumps • LawnCare • Bikes • Power equipment • Marine 169Gill Street, NewPlymouth 06 757 3612 200a Lower Kina Rd, Opunake Kieran Young 0276432721 i , • Trailer work • Steel & tyre roller il l ll • Roller drill • Direct drill ll i i ill All your round silage & hay bale requirements. ll il l i .