Cly­de­vale’s Bouma dairy win

Clutha Leader - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - MARY-JO TO­HILL

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.

MARY-JO TO­HILL

South­land-Otago Dairy In­dus­try Awards’ Share Farmer of the Year Rus­sell and Tracy Bouma of Cly­de­vale.

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