Allana Minchau, 21, is from a cow-calf ranch in Alberta. She got a communication-public relations degree in July 2009, and before starting a career, she decided to take a 12-month working Agriventure through the International Agriculture Exchange Association (IAEA). Her first six months are at a large dairy near Culverden, New Zealand. She will provide regular reports in Grainews.
I have officially experienced my first month of New Zealand. Agriventure has already allowed me to see the country, meet new people, and experience the agriculture practices of New Zealand.
Through Agriventure I was placed with Emlyn and Hilary Francis on their dairy farm, Kenmare Dairy. I quickly learned that early mornings are a milking practice all around the world!
At the dairy we milk around 1,000 cows twice a day on an 80-cow rotating platform. I had never seen a milking parlour that had so much technology incorporated into it. There are generally two people milking while one is bringing in the cows. Right now we milk around 10 cows a minute, and as the year continues we will get up to around 12 cows a minute. On my own I can currently only milk about 7.5 cows a minute, but as they say practice makes perfect!
The milk is picked up every morning and goes to Fonterra Co-op, which Emlyn and Hilary have shares in. The afternoon milk is held overnight until the milk truck comes the next day after the first milking.
It takes numerous employees to keep production running smoothly. There are currently six employees at the dairy that work on an 11-days-on, three-days-off roster.
At Kenmare Dairy, we attach cows to milkers by taking the first two cups in one hand to place on the front two teats, which we follow up by singly place the remaining two cups on the back teats. It makes the milking quicker and more efficient.
Although our farming practices differ at home, the ones they use here that I have seen are practical and efficient for New Zealand. Overall it has been a very positive experience to this point and I look forward to going into further detail with you about the farming practices of New Zealand.