NZ Dairy Spring 2021

| 51 nz dairy DAIRY PEOPLE » Kent & Gay Pickett Kent and Gay Pickett keep it close-knit Hugh de Lacy I t’s a relatively small dairy farm of just 48ha (46ha effective) but Kent and Gay Pickett have enjoyed the ride it’s given them over the last 40 years, in part because they’ve never had to face the chal- lenges of hiring full-time staff. “I’ve stayed farming for so long because I enjoy milking cows and the varied daily work it brings,” Kent says. The farm is in the Kiwitahi area of the Waikato, just 10km from Morrinsville, and carries 150 cows and 30 calves, the latter now kept at home until May 1 – previously they were grazed off-farm – while the heifers are grazed elsewhere. Half the farm is silt loam and the rest Topehaehae clay loam which has been Nova-flowed and gets mole-ploughed over the top every seven years or so, and milking is done in a 17-a-side herringbone shed where magnesium and zinc drenching is also carried out. “Production has been in the range of 50,000-to- 53,000kg of milkfat over the past few seasons, and in this time we have gone once-a-day on December 25 to help with cow condition and lifestyle,” Kent says. Kent left school at 16 and worked on two other farms for two years before joining his father, Stan Pickett, on the home farm. They milked together until Kent teamed up with his brother Graham Pickett in a 50/50 partnership until 1980 when Kent and Gay bought the Kiwitahi farm. Gay Pickett worked at the Morrinsville Post Office until the year Kent bought the farm, when she had the first of the couple’s children, Scott, followed by Kelly in 1982 and Tracey in 1985. “They all went to Kiwitahi School which my fam- ily also attended, but they were never interested in farming careers,” Gay Pickett says. The Picketts have been largely unaffected by the Covid pandemic, “although we missed seeing family and our five grandchildren.” At 67 Kent Pickett realises he will have to ease back at some stage, but these days he and Gay are enjoying their low-stress lifestyle of a small farm , especially since buying a motorhome a couple of years ago that allows them to explore the country. Gay helps over the calving period, and feeds the calves, and the couple can extend their motorhome trips courtesy of a “very reliable” relief milker. After so many years on the farm there’s little in the way of new challenges, but increasing dry spells brought on by global warming are concerning. Ashton Oien, Benji Oien, Zach Pickett, Libby Clark and Kent Pickett. The farm in the Kiwitahi area of Waikato carries 150 cows and 30 calves. “The farm can be quite dry in summer when around 100-to-140 bales of baleage are purchased off-farm and fed along with 40-50 bales made at home. “About 45 tonnes of palm kernel Golden DDG and soy pellets are fed in trolleys in the paddock, and nitrogen use is usually in the range of 40-70 units per hectare,” Kent says. Kent keeps his farming knowledge up to date as a member of a “well-run and popular” farm discussion group organised by Dairy NZ, and he enjoys farming literature and keeping up with Fonterra information releases. 027 293 4986 30 Kereone Rd, Morrinsville Round Baling • Square Baling • Conventional Baling • Loaderwagons Mowing • Truck & Trailer • Hedgecutting • Bulk Silage • Direct Drilling 1945 2021 Livestock Cartage Metal, Sand, Fertiliser Morrinsville/Matamata Ph 07 889 5179 | 0800 275 548 Email 6 JS Motors/Agro-Equip NZ is proud to maintain Kent & Gay Pickett’s Farm Machinery for the last 30 years. Congrats to Kent & Gay for running a smart operation. 5 Keith Camp Place, Morrinsville E P 07 889 5853 M 027 813 8951