AB tech­ni­cian loves the busy coun­try life

Matamata Chronicle - - Rural Delivery -

IN a ca­reer that started 16 years ago as an ar­ti­fi­cial breed­ing ( AB) tech­ni­cian, Heather Storey has helped gen­er­ate thou­sands of bovine preg­nan­cies and calves.

It is a ca­reer she first set her sights on as a child.

‘‘My fa­ther trained as an AB tech­ni­cian and did all the AB on our dairy farm in Taranaki.

‘‘There were five chil­dren in my fam­ily and we grew up know­ing that AB was prob­a­bly the most im­por­tant time on the farm so I guess it’s no sur­prise that four of us even­tu­ally trained to be tech­ni­cians,’’ Heather said.

Look­ing back Heather re­calls how much she en­joyed her ini­tial train­ing.

‘‘I was 18 and loved the com­pet­i­tive side of it, each stu­dent striv­ing to outdo the other.

‘‘To­day I’m still com­pet­i­tive with my­self ( al­ways try­ing to bet­ter my non­re­turn rate) and with one sis­ter who is still a tech­ni­cian.’’

Heather and her hus­band War­ren milk 250 friesians on their 53 hectare farm on the out­skirts of Mata­mata. The farm has been in the Storey fam­ily for more than 40 years and, af­ter work­ing on it as sharemilk­ers, Heather and War­ren had the op­por­tu­nity to buy it four years ago.

‘‘ I’m do­ing what I’ve al­ways wanted to do – be a dairy farmer and an AB tech­ni­cian. I really like an­i­mals, par­tic­u­larly dairy cows, and en­joy be­ing around them. As a tech­ni­cian you’re a crit­i­cal com­po­nent of the most im­por­tant thing which hap­pens on dairy farms – get­ting cows in calf so they pro­duce, and the farm makes a profit, the fol­low­ing year.

‘‘As a farmer I live and work on our farm so it’s great to go out and see other dairy farm­ers ev­ery day. They’re the sort of peo­ple I re­late to and you learn heaps from other peo­ple; it’s lit­tle dis­cus­sion groups ev­ery day. And be­cause you see your farm­ers five or six weeks of the year you end up be­ing friends, which is an­other bonus.’’

With time off for the birth of her three chil­dren (now aged 12, 10 and 7), Heather has now clocked up 11 years as an LIC AB tech­ni­cian.

Calv­ing, par­ent­ing and do­ing an AB run can be hec­tic and call for great time man­age­ment.

‘‘ Dur­ing the mat­ing sea­son, War­ren gets the kids off to school af­ter milk­ing, free­ing me to start my AB run – but this year’s go­ing to be eas­ier as we’ve changed our farm from spring to au­tumn calv­ing.’’

Calv­ing on the Storey farm was due to start on March 10 and fin­ish by the end of April.

‘‘I’ll start AB on our herd in June and be well fin­ished by the time my farm­ers’ mat­ing sea­son starts.’’

Out­side of the ben­e­fit it clearly de­liv­ers to their own farm and the in­dus­try, Heather said there are a lot of ben­e­fits to be­ing an AB tech­ni­cian.

‘‘The money’s good. You can earn a de­cent amount in a short pe­riod of time and while what I earn tends to go back into the farm, it’s also nice to know it’s there if I want to spend a bit on my­self.

‘‘The job isn’t as phys­i­cally de­mand­ing as it used

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.