NZ Dairy Summer 2021

| 79 nzdairy Broadmeadows Farms branching out Hugh de Lacy It’s a long journey from farm-worker to all-buta-dairy-farm-owner, and Steve Gillies’ has been longer than most: his journey started in Scotland – and dairying wasn’t even on his horizon. Steve was a motor mechanic in Duns in the Scottish border country, and he’d never set foot on a dairy farm till he came to New Zealand in late 2010, not intending to stay. In Te Awamutu where he landed a job milking for Robin and Pixie Moss who were running 1300 cows on two adjacent farms. He stayed with the Mosses six years, meeting his future wife Amy in their cowshed which she happened to be visiting with her AI technician mother Lyn. Steve stepped up to contract milking in 2017, doing two seasons for Peter and Marian van der Heyden on their effective 145ha farm Broadmeadows near Putaruru, before becoming their sharemilker with 500 cows three years ago. Steve and Amy are working to get themselves into a position to buy their own farm within a couple of years, but they’re not interested in a sole-operator block: they value the social and family atmosphere that comes with having outside staff, of whom they currently employ two. To keep the capital stockpile growing without increasing herd numbers, they chose to diversify their income streams by buying a hire business in Putaruru. It’s run day-to-day by a manager, but Amy, who holds a Bachelor of Agricultural Science degree from Massey University, travels the 5km to town three days a week to do the books, and Steve handles the repairs in his spare time. They’ve also established an engineering supplies store on the same premises, after identifying a need for it in the community. Steve gets the most out of his big Friesian/Jersey crossbred cows – they weigh 500kgs each and their milk solids production averages 540kg/year – by calving twice a year, half in spring and half in autumn, and milking twice a day year-round. Steve’s helped by having a 95m x 30m 300-cow capacity covered feed pad, for which he grows 20ha of maize and a small amount of grass silage, while buying in 400t of maize from a local contractor, and 500t of palm kernel. The soil is free-draining and rolling Tirau ash, usually summer-safe, and the farm produces 285,000kg/MS/year. Amy, Isla (in front pack), Arran and Steve. The inside of the Putaruru Trade Supplies store that they established in July (below). RURAL SERVICES » Broadmeadows Farms Ag Ltd “Our management strategy is to have the cows fed to the best of our ability 365 days a year,” Steve says. “We don’t go for expensive feed but try to get the feed-balance right, and it seems to work.” For mating, the cows get three weeks of AB then two weeks with the bull, half the herd in October and half in June. “In winter we’ve got a milking and a dry herd, and the dries spend a longer time on the feed pad, making the milking herd easy to manage on pasture,” Steve says. With the hire shop augmenting the income from the cows, bringing diversification to the business, the end is in sight for Steve and Amy’s journey to farm ownership. “In winter we’ve got a milking and a dry herd, and the dries spend a longer time on the feed pad, making the milking herd easy to manage on pasture.” Mark 0800 4 78729 or 0274 818 617 Tracey 0275 541 841 Quality Feeds You Can Trust For all your Agricultural Contracting needs 027 277 7993 Cultivation Maize Planting Round Bale Hay & Silage Grass Silage Maize Silage Direct Drilling Roller Seeding Effluent Webbline Agriculture is pleased to supply Broadmeadows Farms Ag Ltd | 0800 932 254 Hire it or Buy it — Your local one stop shop 078837642 19 Taupo Street, Putaruru