Clydevale’s Bouma dairy win
Clydevale’s been a good move for South Otago share milkers Tracy and Russell Bouma.
The former Taupo couple are raising cows and a family of three - and winning prestigious awards for farming excellence.
They’ve just been named the Southland-Otago Dairy Industry Awards Share Farmer of the Year, which puts them in with a chance of winning the industry’s New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards on May 6, at Auckland.
This was the fourth year they’d entered, and each year they’ve built on the experience gained from judges’ close scrutiny, feedback and encouragement.
‘‘There’s more to be taken from competitions than awards,’’ Tracy Bouma, 37, said.
‘‘Not many people can get that sort of expertise - for free.’’
They’re 50/50 sharemilkers with a herd of about 1140 friesians divided between two Clydevale properties. They won four of eight merit awards, ranging from hygiene to health and safety, to productivity and environment.
Both from dairy farming backgrounds, the Boumas always wanted to try out the South Island. And they’re loving it. ’’It’s been really good for us,’’ Russell Bouma, 40, said.
‘‘Clydevale’s an awesome community. We enjoy it, and the lifestyle, and for the time we get to spend with the children.’’
Comparing dairy farming in the south to the North Island, they think reliability of the seasons is the main difference.
‘‘In the North Island you need lots of feed, but here it’s a very grass-based system,’’ Tracy said. That meant there were less variables to manage, and more time to focus on planning.
Russell jokes southern cows are more hairy than their northern cousins because of climate, and that his locks are more lush.
For the future, the couple hoped to achieve $1m equity growth within the next five years - and to look around for more awards to enter for the challenge and experience. They took home about $20,000 in sponsorship from their regional win.
‘‘We’d also like to maintain our good reputation whilst remaining in the top 25 per cent [operating profit] for 50/50 sharemilkers throughout New Zealand,’’ Tracy said.
‘‘There’s always more to learn, and is always about the tweaks.’’
Other award winners include dairy manager of the year Ann Linton and trainee of the year Ben McLean.
Southland-Otago Dairy Industry Awards’ Share Farmer of the Year Russell and Tracy Bouma of Clydevale.