One of the couple’s biggest steps in their 10+ year career was moving from 50:50 sharemilking on a 440 cow farm in Taranaki to a sharemilking position on an 880 cow farm in South Canterbury. To get a better understanding of what to expect the Jellymans looked to DairyBase and other sources of information.
“When we came to the South Island we had no idea what it would be like down here. By at least looking at those DairyBase figures for the area, that gave us a really good handle on what to expect. It was a massive thing going from Taranaki down to here. A huge investment,” says Louise.
The couple faced a vastly different climate and went from employing one staff member to up to five. From South Canterbury they moved to a 50:50 sharemilking position on a farm 30km away in North Otago before eventually buying a 100ha farm nearby.
“The vision has always been to buy a farm – we just plugged away at it and finally got there,” says Louise.
“We were fortunate in that three 100ha farms came on the market in the north Otago/South Canterbury area almost all at the same time – it was rare for farms that size to come on the market and in this location.
“We managed to secure the one we wanted which is only 10 km from where we were sharemilking – not far to move machinery and house contents.”
The couple, both from farming families, had started their farming careers as lower order sharemilkers in Taranaki. In those early stages they gathered as much information as they could by attending DairyNZ discussion groups and a DairyNZ Mark and Measure Strategy and Business seminar as well as joining DairyBase.
The Jellymans have used the support of those around them including farm owners (when they were sharemilking), bankers and accountants.
“We’ve been really appreciative of the farm owners that we have had, we have had a lot of support along the way,” says Louise.
Knowing their numbers has helped in that communication.
“We used DairyBase, especially in the early stages of farming, because it provides that good benchmarking tool and is useful when working with banks and when budgeting because it gives you some figures to work with and talk through with the farm owners.”<
“With farming it is so important that you know where you are at and you do need to be collecting information, whether that is mating or feed or whatever. All those things all add up and contribute to the big picture.”
“How many industries in New Zealand have a similar sort of thing, or access to something like DairyBase. I think it is a very valuable tool that farmers have access to.”