NZ Dairy Spring 2021

66 | nz dairy DAIRY PEOPLE » Scott Carnochan Dianna Malcolm S cott Carnochan has achieved a dream in New Zealand he could never have realised in Scot- land – farm ownership. The Scottish-born son of a publican was smart, but uninterested in school. He left, aged 15. He bounced around some trades, but didn’t find his fit until he started relief milking. He knew he’d found his passion, but he also knew farm ownership was impossible in his homeland. Advertisements offering young Scots jobs on Kiwi dairy farms answered the questions for him regarding his future. He was drawn by the travel and the chance to play rugby in arguably the world’s greatest rugby-playing nation. That was in 2005. In 2016 Scott became a New Zealand citizen. Last year he and his partner, Katy Stokes, secured equity ownership of one farm and they are contract milking on a second operation in Canterbury – trading collectively as Galloway Dairies. “There is such a career path in dairy in New Zealand,” Scott said. “In Scotland unless your family owns the farm, the best you can hope for is a head dairyman. “I’ve only been home for holidays since. I do miss family, weddings and funerals, but I don’t miss that there is no clear career progression for dairy in Scotland, or in the United Kingdom for that matter.” Scott, 35,says he has always played rugby in whatever community he has lived in while pursuing his career in dairy and he’s had to be a rolling stone to get that done. His cumulative number of 240 senior club rugby games is impressive – even though it’s a standing joke among his friends and former club mates that he’s not been able to con- nect 100 of those games to any one club. What isn’t a laughing matter, is the equity Scott has put together by being prepared to shift. North Branch Farm milks 1050 cows through a 50-bale rotary with an in-shed feeding system, that includes Protrack Farm Automation Systems, including automated drafting and ACR (installed last season) on 400ha (280ha effective). The farm is on the north side of the Rakaia River, in the Selwyn district. Cows and rugby leads to new life The second (contract) farm is Neuways Farm, which milks 750 cows through a 40-a-side her- ringbone on 240ha (220ha effective) right on Lake Ellesmere. Neuways is owned by Gary and Honoria Lamers. Scott and Katy started contract milking there in 2017. Their reason for that decision might surprise some. “We took on Neuways because I had a couple of staff members who had been with me for seven or eight years, and they’d hit their limit on North Branch farm,” Scott said.“I couldn’t really give them anything more in terms of progression, I didn’t want to let them go, and they didn’t want to leave. So, we went out and looked for another con- tract milking job and put our Fijian-born manager – Navneel Kumar (Nav) – on there with a couple of fulltime staff who we had employed for four years. “It was a lot of hard work for three years, but we did it to progress our team. “Now Nav will take over the contact milking side of it for the 2021 season. Gary and Honoria put a lot of trust in us to contract milk a second opera- tion for different owners, but they knew we would do everything possible to improve the operation as much as we could. When Nav initially joined Scott, he had been working in a Four Square supermarket in the North Island, and he had never seen a cow or driven a motorbike. “We got into that first calving when he first got here and we were picking up 40 to 50 calves a day,” Scott said. “All of a sudden Nav thought he might need three or four days off. I said: ‘If you do that during calving you probably won’t last very long in the dairy industry’. He just kind of grunted up, and got on with it. Since then, he’s worked his way through diplomas and apprenticeships, and he’s really stuck at it. It’s been great to watch someone pro- gress from the bottom and climb the dairy ladder.” Scott said both properties have been challenging in their own ways. “One (North Branch) is on the river, and it’s stony and bony as all hell, and one (Neuways) is at Lake Proudly supporting Scott Carnochan 027 785 8351 Proud to support Scott Carnochan | 0800 900 308 | • Grain Brokering • Small Seed Brokering • On-Site Crop Advice • Seed Multiplication North Branch farm production last season was 465,000kg MS [465kg MS per cow, 1660kg MS per hectare]. Photos: Ella Stokes.