NZ Dairy Winter 2022

100 | nzdairy DAIRY PEOPLE CANTERBURY » Tomara Dairies No regrets converting to dairy Sue Russell Graham Thomas left school at 15 and started his farming journey working on local farms. At 18 he joined a local contractor and shore sheep for three years and in the off peak, travelled to Western Australia to do seeding for two years. He then started a round baling business which he operated for seven years. “During this time I bought our rst 40ha block at Hinds. In 1982 I married Jane and went into partnership with my father where I took over operating the 187ha home farm on Hinds Lismore Road. This was a mixed sheep and cropping operation running Romney ewes and with border-dyke irrigation,” says Graham. The home farm was converted into a dairy farm in 2008, at a time when dairying in the south was beginning to pick up. “I was a very passionate sheep farmer and when I could see that we would need to shift to centre pivot irrigation I just couldn’t bring myself to run sheep with no shelter. Sheep returns at that time were also diminishing”. Graham acknowledges at the time of conversion he had no dairying experience. “We formed a partnership with a young couple who had sharemilking experience. Jane and I owned half the cows and they owned half and we operated a 75 / 25% sharemilking arrangement. It gave them the opportunity to get into dairying and has worked very well”. This farm is now called Tomara Dairies LTD (a mix of our three children’s names) and is now farming under a contract milker – Callum and Maria, a Scottish couple, who have been with us for eight years in various roles. It is a 247ha effective area. Milking 860 cows, predominately Friesian, on a 60 bale rotary, and with a pivot irrigation system. Tomara Dairies is now farming under a contract milker – Callum and Maria Aerial Spraying Aerial Topdressing Contact: Duncan Hart 027 481 1915 or 03 302 8400 e: Proud to support Tomara Dairies 03 693 1163 27 Wilson Street, Geraldine Proud to support Tomara Dairies AORANGI VETERINARY SERVICES LTD Your Animals - Our Expertise 021 293 1515 MOWING RAKING BALING WRAPPING FEED TRADING