Getting ready for ‘mooving’

Canterbury sharemilkers Glenn Jones and Sarah Brett are set to take on a new farm.

In Milking Platform4 Minutes

SARAH AND I ARE 50:50 sharemilkers in Te Pirita, Canterbury, on a Maori trust-owned farm. We have three children Esme 6, Jimmy 4, and Alfie 2.

Canterbury is a great place to dairy. There are so many resources at our fingertips, alongside other farmers who are open to sharing ideas and benchmarking. We have the ability to grow grass with reliable water and lots of sunshine. We run a simple grass-based system where the focus is getting the basics right, operating with an engaged team and high-performing cows and grass. After six seasons in our current sharemilking role we have the opportunity to move to a larger farm with more cows to milk in Dorie, Canterbury. Owned by the same owners on their ancestral land and their first dairy farm conversion, we are very excited about this move. Dorie, with its coastal location, is known as a “grass factory”.

Comparing our now-called ‘Mooving Day’ with the past, in 1985 my parents moved from their sharemilking job in Picton on to a new dairy conversion on the Waitaki Plains not far from Oamaru.

Dairy farming was in the very early stages in the Waitaki, support was limited, and ‘wellbeing’ wasn’t a word used back then.

People like mum and dad were some of the early dairy pioneers in this area. Mum was pregnant and overdue with me, she was induced on May 28 so I could be born before the move.

Nana drove up from Christchurch picked up mum, newborn me and my two older sisters (aged two and four). Dad loaded all his farming gear and small tractor on to a railway carriage destined for Oamaru. He loaded his cows on to a truck and then followed them down in his little yellow Toyota flat deck ute overflowing with their belongings.

As we prepare to make our move in 2023; I can reflect on my parents’ achievements and am grateful for how far dairying has come as an industry.

We are thankful to have a pool of resources at our fingertips.

We have a fantastic support network of rural professionals and mentors that have been through similar stages who are happy to share their experiences and give meaningful advice.

We are thrilled to be moving to a well-connected community with a history of dairying and on to a farm that has been well looked after.

Planning has started to make sure everything is booked and ready for ‘Mooving Day’. Organising the logistics required to move 850 in-calf cows and heifers, farm equipment, vehicles, workshop, staff and their home contents, our family, pets, and the contents of our home. We can’t forget a change of school and preschool for the kids. With lots of moving parts, all-in-all it is a major undertaking!

We are full of enthusiasm for the new farm and looking forward to a new challenge with the renewed energy and enthusiasm that comes with change.

We’ll let you know how the actual move goes, the settling-in process and what challenges we faced next time.

  • Glenn Jones and Sarah Brett run Waterton Agricultural.