18 | nzdairy DAIRY AWARDS » Danielle Hovmand Passion for farming extends back to parents Sue Russell Servicing the Waikato since 1932 Milking Machines | Water Pumps | Effluent Systems hutchies.co.nz 12 Canada Street, Morrinsville 0800 HUTCHIES 57 Great South Rd, Taupiri 0800 488 244 Auckland/Hauraki Share Farmer of the Year Award winner Danielle Hovmand. Photos: Malcolm Pullman/Dairy Exporter. This year’s Auckland/Hauraki Dairy Industry Share Farmer of the Year Award was given to Danielle Hovmand, who received six of eight merit awards. Those awards included the DairyNZ - People & Culture Award; Ecolab Farm Dairy Hygiene Award; Honda Farm Safety, Health & Biosecurity Award; Meridian Environmental Sustainability Award; Ravensdown Pasture Performance Award and the Auckland Hauraki DIA Business Performance Award. The Patetonga dairy unit of 106ha Danielle runs herself carries 270 cross-bred cows. Additional help comes in during calving time. Entering the awards provided Danielle with the opportunity to discover what areas she would bene t from additional learning around. She is now enrolled in a Diploma of Primary Industry Business Management through Primary ITO and Wintec which will give her a greater understanding of what is involved in being a good employer and ensuring the employer/employee relationship is positive. Farm owner Sue Broom eld believes in giving the younger generation opportunities to advance their farming career. Danielle says she has found Sue’s encouragement and support a real positive. And proof of that is that come June Danielle will be moving to another farm owned by Sue. “The current farm I am on is a lovely property with stands of kahikatea trees from the swamp. We’re on clay and that really de nes our farming system. We’re a system 2, providing stock with maize silage in the Autumn.” Milking reduced to once a day at the end of December and when NZ Dairy spoke with Danielle late April drying off was about a week away, given lack of rain through summer and autumn. Chicory is grown over 12ha’s as a summer-safe crop. The new farm at Springdale is of similar size and also carries 270 cows. “It has better soil and grows more pasture and I’m thoroughly looking forward to the move.” The farm at Patetonga is home to a 24 aside herringbone shed built in 2018. On an average milking the herd is processed in two hours. Asked what the key elements to her farming business are evolving into Danielle says is understanding that the term ‘sustainability’ needs to apply to all facets of the business, people, animal, environment, nancial. “I think if you are really working sustainably in a complete way then bene ts ow which may result in an ability to reduce the herd size.” Danielle’s goal is to eventually go 50:50 sharemilking and that opportunity may be close. “On this new farm at the end of this next season hoping to nd a 50:50 situation hopefully here in the Waikato.” A big positive for Danielle has been involvement in Ngarua Young Farmers. When she moved to Patetonga she didn’t know anyone so joining Young Farmers put her into contact with like-minded engaged young farmers, all aspiring to succeed in the sector. “There’s been a big focus on mental health and encouraging farmers to have a life off the farm.” Danielle also says cross-bred cows work well for her farming system. “They are lighter on the land and allow us to farm fewer animals that are more ef cient. This means less cows, less nitrogen. Also focussing on less bobby-calves and more beef calves makes sense for lots of really good reasons.” Prior to farming Danielle completed a Bachelor of Agriculture at Massey University. She says the degree gave her a really good understanding of the business of farming, pasture knowledge and the ability to objectively analyse. Milk production has gone well, up 3%, prompting the decision to dry-off three weeks earlier. Danielle says her passion for farming extends back to her parents who were sharemilkers when she was young. “As part of my degree we needed to do two practical stints on farms. One of those was on a dairy farm in Katikati. I was given the opportunity to try all aspects of farming and really sparked by interest in the industry. The great thing about the dairy industry is that there are so many opportunities to learn and so many career pathways.” And advice she would offer those considering a farming career is to not sell yourself short, don’t hold back and pick the right people to work for.