Elaine Fisher

Crystal Scown is a “Jersey Girl” through and through and intends to build her dairying future on the breed.

“It’s hard to explain why I love Jerseys so much. I love their individual personalities. Some people say they are sulky, but I’ve never met a sulky Jersey. If you know your animals you know how they work,” the 2020 Auckland/Hauraki Dairy Trainee of the Year says.

Jerseys make economic sense too.

“They produce high-fat, high-protein milk which puts more money in the farmer’s pocket. They are lower in nitrogen production and their lighter weight means they are easier on the pasture too.”

The 20-year-old who works on her father Adam Johnson’s 64-hectare, 165-cow farm in Paeroa, grew up on the Netherton ballot property won and developed by her great grandfather after World War II. Crystal’s father has been a big influence in her decision to pursue a career in the dairy industry and also her love for Jerseys.

She has been working in the industry full time for three seasons, and owns six mixed-age cows, two heifers and one bull calf, all Jerseys, which graze with her father’s herd.

“I love showing my animals,” Crystal says. She is on the Jersey NZ Youth Committee and last year was part of the Jersey NZ Youth Team which won the Holstein Youth Show in Australia.

Her role in the team was a judge and advisor to younger competitors. “It was a wonderful learning experience as we had to judge mixed age dairy cows of all different breeds. Each breed has its own positives and negatives and it is important to be able to recognise these.”

Selecting cows and bulls for breeding is something Crystal particularly enjoys, and judging has helped develop an eye for a good animal. “Learning the strengths and weakness of an animal and those which the right bull might help change in the next generation is a challenge. It’s a long wait to see if you got it right but when you do it is very satisfying.”

A passion for animals and cows is what gets Crystal up in the morning. “They are my drive, my love and my passion for dairy farming begins with them. Seeing them happy makes me happy.”

Being in control of staff management in her current role was challenging to begin with, however Crystal has successfully completed leadership courses and sought assistance from Dairy Connect. She has also completed PrimaryITO Husbandry Level 3, Feeding Level 3, Milk Quality Level 1 and Taratahi Level 2.

“Within seven years I’d like to be 50/50 sharemilking a Jersey herd. I’m still not sure if I want to own my own farm. I enjoy the challenge of moving and learning to work on a new property rather than staying in one place.”

Outside of work Crystal plays social netball, is vice-president of Hauraki Young Farmers and enjoys Thursday night pool games at the Ngatea Hotel. “It’s a lot of fun, but I’m not very good at pool.”

Question: What is your next career move?

Answer: “Next season I move to a 200-Jersey herd at Waihou as contract milker

Second in the Auckland/Hauraki Dairy Trainee category was Rebekkah Hoskins from Huntly and Thames 2IC Regan Griffin was third.

Dairy trainee merit awards:

Auckland/Hauraki DIA Most Promising Entrant Award – Joseph Barrett

Franklin Vets Farming Knowledge Award – Kendal Wilson

BlackmanSpargo Rural Law Ltd Community & Industry Involvement Award – Rebekkah Hoskins

Keeper Life Communication & Engagement Award – Rebekkah Hoskins

DairyNZ Practical Skills Award – Kendal Wilson