Dairy farming is ‘‘quicker and bigger’’ in New Zealand, a British expat milking cows in West Otago says.
Nicole Barber is the 2023 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards Southland and Otago dairy manager of the year.
Speaking at a field day for the Southern winners in Riverton earlier this month, she said she was raised on a 60-cow organic farm in Cheshire in northwest England.
Her plan was to work in New Zealand for a year but that changed after securing a job on a dairy farm in Clydevale in 2017.
‘‘I met my best friend on that farm and stayed here.’’
Dairy farms were more productive in New Zealand than in the United Kingdom.
‘‘Everything is quicker and bigger over here — it took us longer to milk 60 cows over there than it does to milk 500 cows over here.’’
She had worked at dairy farms across Southland including the past two years as farm manager for Stefan and Holly Roulston at Toropuke Dairies in Park Hill.
The work was enjoyable, she said. ‘‘I enjoy being outside and working with the cows and I get to take my dog with me everywhere.’’ Her goals include buying a house in 2026 and building equity with a target of achieving herd ownership by 2033. She kept ‘‘pushing and learning’’ and completed the Primary ITO Level 4 in November last year and plans to complete an artificial insemination technician course in June.
Miss Barber also won three merit awards for planning and financial management, livestock management and pasture and feed management.
She encouraged farmers to enter the awards.
‘‘You learn a lot about the industry and learn new things to implement on your farm.’’