Waitomo News : April 8 2014 NKC Farmer
4 Tuesday, April 8, 2014 Dairy farming the ‘UN’ way FROM P3 “What we feed and when we feed it is critical to maintaining production so we are constantly tweaking the mix depending on the weather and grass growth.” He’s also growing 10ha of maize at Kio Kio as part of his regrassing programme. “We sew Agricom 150 mixed with herbs like plantain and chicory and some clover which does well through the dry. When the grass slows down, the plaintain and chicory keeps thriving.” TEMPORARY STAFF Because of the year-round nature of the busi- ness, ‘temps’ also play an important part in the operation. “Here at Kio Kio, I have two permanent staff from Chile – herd manager Fernando who has been with me for a year, and dairy worker Annie,” says Mani. “They are both doing a great job. “We also currently employ half a dozen back- packers who came through looking for temporary work. They provide excellent support for our more permanent team. “A thousand cows is a lot of work on this farm and we don’t want our people to be overworked and stressed. If extra hands are needed, we work in shifts so everyone has manageable hours. “We don’t like to run with minimum staff, be- cause longer term that’s going to impact on the business. Tired people lose the incentive to go the extra mile, so there’s no point in stretching things. We’re not here to exploit people, we want happy staff.” He says backpackers enjoy milking or raising calves for a while filling in any gaps, then continu- ing their travels, and sometimes they come back for another stint. He enjoys seeing young ones go on to do well in the industry. “We had one German girl Lara, who worked here for almost six months, then travelled, worked here again for a time, then returned home,” he says. “She now wants to follow a career in farming so she’s coming back to New Zealand soon to study at Massey and go dairy farming.” FINDING WORKERS Mani says finding good workers was difficult in the beginning, but now as they go, most will recom- mend “their replacement” – a friend who is coming to NZ shortly, or is already here. TO P6 TOP SKILLS: Chilean Fernando Gomez joined the team at the Reynolds’ Cambridge farm in June and has since switched to the Kio Kio property winning the inaugural ‘Employee of the Quarter’ award for his dedication and work ethic.
10 April 2014
03 April 2014