NZ Dairy Summer 2021

52 | nzdairy DAIRY PEOPLE » Nick Gold & Sarah Vincent Good result in first season contract milking Kim Newth Stepping up into a contract milking role for the first time last year has been an exciting challenge for Nick Gold and Sarah Vincent, who have been proactive in seeking out improvement. The couple can now look back on their first season on a high input system-five farm at Kiokio near Otorohanga with some pride. “It has been a really positive journey so far,” says Nick. “We’re fortunate to have very supportive farm owners, Dominic Groenendijk and Katrin Woermer, who live on farm, and have a good relationship with us, our kids and our staff.” Nicholas and Sarah started contract milking with a goal of wanting to be “the bosses we always wanted” and have fostered a positive work culture with their 2IC Daniel Land and farm assistant Ethan Thorpe. “Giving them breaks is a big one for us and we encourage progression. Ethan is now well into his dairy apprenticeship; we can see him growing into the role, which is pretty cool.” With a strongly Friesian herd, the team is wrangling big stock units and heifers that keep growing for longer than average. Bigger cows mean more production but also bigger appetites and a tendency for lameness. At the start of the season, Nick and Sarah also had to act quickly to address mastitis issues. A comprehensive health check of the herd revealed a problem with Staphylococcus aureus. Sixty cows had to be culled. Now any new mastitis symptoms are treated without delay. “We’re seeing the benefits this year with cell count health coming back.” The system-five supplementary feed regime includes maize, palm kernel, soy hull pellet, tapioca, soy bean meal and corn steep liquor, a high protein by-product from the manufacture of cornflour. Rather than buying high end blends, the couple buy the components they need and make their own. Production results speak for themselves: this 130-hectare farm is achieving among the best production per hectare rates in the Waikato. “Last year we did 325,000kgMS on a herd of 500 cows. The farm owners were pretty happy as it was their second best season ever!” The 127-hectare farm has a herd home for wintering stock and calving. As well as benefitting soil/ pasture, having the herd home next to the milking shed is a great set-up. “The previous farm we were on had split calving too but everything was out in the paddock, so having this infrastructure has been great. Cows and calves stay dry and they’re happier and healthier. We’re able to check on them constantly and getting them in is a breeze.” In this first year contract milking, the couple have made sure to set money aside to meet tax obligations down the line. Sarah handles farm administration, payroll and human resources, plus calf rearing and relief milking. Her expertise with budgeting has been invaluable. Having their finances in order means they can have confidence to make good business decisions going forward. The couple’s five children all help out in the farm and enjoy getting a good first hand education of Emily, Nick, Madison, Sarah, Benji and Ryan Gold (above). Nick Gold on the job (below). DOMESTIC · COMMERCIAL · INDUSTRIAL Action Electrical are proud to support Nicholas Gold & Sarah Vincent 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! what’s involved. With the local school just up the road, the whole family has settled quickly into life in this welcoming rural community. 83 Kio Kio Station Rd, RD4, Otorohanga Ph: 07 873 1800 Mob: 029 833 0011 Email: