Words: Anne Lee

Lucy Morgan – Canterbury/North Otago Dairy Trainee of the Year

Lucy Morgan came to New Zealand as a 16-year-old on an exchange through Taratahi Agricultural Training Centre and totally fell in love with the grass-based farming systems and the lifestyle.

She says she got to experience a range of farming operations, farm types and locations and enjoyed every part of it.

In fact she loved it so much she went home to Shropshire, finished school and then promptly returned, working for 18-months on a dairy farm in Glenavy, South Canterbury.

She then stepped up to herd manager on an 800-cow, 216-hectare farm owned by Phillip and Becky Wilson near Oamaru and has this year been named Canterbury/North Otago Dairy Trainee of the Year.

She’s one of a team of four on the Oamaru operation and as herd manager her roles include feeding cows and animal health as well as supporting the manager, her partner, Ollie Porter.

The pair are now planning to take the next step on the progression ladder and go contract milking in June 2021.

Lucy grew up on her family’s 400-cow farm back in England and says farming is in her blood with her family having been farmers for generations.

Along with NZ’s farming system and lifestyle Lucy was drawn to this country by the unique progression pathways here which means her dreams of owning a farm could more realistically become a reality.

Lucy says their farm owners Phillip and Becky have been hugely supportive and Phillip dedicates a lot of time to working with team members and training.

“He comes on farm and works with us when we need extra help and he’s great training us when we need assistance with any aspects of the job.

“We all have strengths and weaknesses but as a team together we’re all complimentary to each other so are strong overall.”

Covid-19 had meant changes to how they operate day-to-day and extra work in disinfecting the farm dairy each milking but generally it was all best-practice hygiene actions.

It may also mean some adjustments to farm plans could be necessary later in the season so the team is keeping a watchful eye on the situation so they can put alternative plans into action.

“I was really disappointed not to get to go to the dinner for the awards night because it’s a fantastic opportunity to network and meet other people in the industry but hopefully we’ll get to do something like that when this is all over,” she says.

Runner up for the award was 24-year-old Rangiora 2IC Prabhdeep Singh, who works for Pamu Farms of New Zealand (formerly Landcorp) on their 567ha, 1010-cow farm. Third place getter was 25-year-old herd manager Cameron Bennison who works for Chad Steetskamp on his 250ha, 850-cow Westerfield property.

Dairy Trainee Merit Awards:

TH Enterprises Ltd Most Promising Entrant Award – Alfonso Almonacid
Rural Tenancy Inspections Farming Knowledge Award – Lucy Morgan
Craigmore Community and Industry Involvement Award – Lucy Morgan
Dairy Holdings Ltd Communication and Engagement Award – Breigh Sample
DairyNZ Practical Skills Award – Breigh Sample