Waitomo News : April 8 2014 NKC Farmer
Tuesday, April 8, 2014 3 FROM P2 “He never has a problem finding staff because he is open to new ideas and he treats everyone who works for him as his prime assets.” Mani says while most local people have been “kindness itself”, some have criticised Malcolm for hiring “cheap foreigners” at the expense of Kiwis. “The company has in fact had several local staff members,” says Mani. “It just so happens we have also had workers from all over the world.” When Mani and his wife Jas came to New Zealand they were the only ap- plicants for the job at Kio Kio - milk- ing 500 cows for four years in a shed that previously milked 175 cows. “In our business we look for quality people and where they’re from is not important,” says Mani. “Our policy is to get the best people we can regardless of their country of origin. “We set no boundaries – they can come from anywhere.” WORKER SHORTAGE The reality is, there’s a shortage of farm workers throughout New Zea- land and immigrants fill a vacuum that is already there. The Ministry of Business, Innova- tion and Employment’s 2014 Immedi- ate Skill Shortage List recognises this shortage by registering a number of nationwide dairying vacancies, to- gether with the required standard of applicant work visas, qualifications and experience. Mani says staff are encouraged to continue their studies, regardless of how long they’re staying. “We’re bringing the latest technol- ogy into our business and we want our workers to bring forward new ideas. We believe they are not ‘just’ milking cows or ‘just’ farming. This is a high tech business so we need to look at how we can do better.” He says the latest environment compliance and animal health issues and scientific breakthroughs are very important to the operation. “All of our core team - Carolina, Jaime, Fernando, Carlos and Isabel - hold degrees in agriculture, except me - I’m just a MBA,” he says. “My wife Jas who does our payroll, HR, bookkeeping and office admin, holds a degree in English literature and has also made the transit from banking and is half way through an accounting degree at Massey.” 1000 COWS Mani and his team farm 250ha milking just over 1000 cows through a state-of-the-art 60-bale rotary set up with the latest technology, includ- ing auto drafting, cup removers, heat detection for bulling cows and compu- terised mastitis detection. The autumn calvers are just start- ing to come into the herd and the colostrum mob is milked separately. There is also a new calf-feeding facility across the road from the dairy shed. About 500 older calves are out on grazing con- tracts, while 410 cows are milked on a smaller farm near Cambridge (120ha) managed by Argentinian Carolina Sola. Carolina came to NZ during the 2011 Rugby World Cup, and tried milking goats before deciding cows were more her thing. Now an ag sciences graduate and AB technician, she has worked for Malcolm for two years and was previously the 2IC at Kio Kio, before being promoted. Working for her is a Peruvian couple who are both close to finishing their veterinary sciences degrees. Mani says, as a high-input operation, the pres- sure is on year round to stay on top of feed avail- ability. “We buy in 60% of our feed including palm ker- nel, maize silage, tapioca, cotton seed, molasses and other liquid feeds which we prepare in mixer wagons then feed out on big pads,” he says. TO P4 HAPPY TEAM: Malcom Reynold’s multi-national team take time out to celebrate a birthday – Adriano Marcelli (left) from Italy, Jaime Sepulveda (Chile), Jonas Gunter (Germany), Juan Sorrequieta (Argentina), Remis (Germany), Tobi (Germany), Jas and Mani Singh (India), Inderdeep Singh (visiting from India), Malcolm Reynolds, Isabel Martinez (Chile), Carolina Sola (Argentina) and Carlos Huertas from Chile.
10 April 2014
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