It was the words ‘For Dairy’ that jumped out of the Farm Source website for Putaruru dairy farmer Courtney Graham. Her power company contract was up for renewal and she was carefully researching options for a money-saving deal.
Dairy plan meant I could get cheaper power when we were running our sheds at peak – it felt like a no-brainer for us. The more I read on, the more interested I became,” she said.
Courtney and husband Alex run two dairy farms in South Waikato. One is 266 hectares (ha), a 50/50 sharemilking operation, where they milk 680 cows a day in peak season. Their own farm, just 10 minutes down the road, is 145ha and milks about 370 cows. In total they employ five full-time staff as well as seasonal contractors.
Life certainly isn’t slow for the Grahams and their two pre-schoolers, Jake (4) and Lara (2).
“It’s busy all right,” says Courtney, “but we’ve gotten better at finding down time and sorting out the right farm rosters so we’ve had a couple of good breaks over the last few years.”
It’s fair to say, their operation calls for a good whack of power. Aware that farming is more a marathon than a sprint, Courtney says the For Dairy plan worked in with her “bigger picture, long-term” outlook.
Genesis is with New Zealand farmers and for New Zealand farmers, so they worked with Kiwi farmers to create the country’s only tailored power plan, available exclusively to Fonterra milk suppliers*. Genesis graphs and forecasts farmers’ electricity use, taking into account seasonal variations and usage patterns during a typical day on the farm.
“For Dairy felt very structured. It wasn’t about locking in for-today rates, it was a long-term plan that when you did the numbers, it saved us money,” said Courtney.
The way dairy farmers use energy is unique. Courtney knew their milking sheds used electricity at times when everyone else is either asleep or at work, so why not be rewarded for that.
“From the Farm Source website, I got in touch with Genesis and the process was so easy. I sent them my usage and a price comparison came back quickly. I could see they’d gone into a level of detail,” said Courtney.
One of the Genesis resources Courtney uses often is Energy IQ – both on mobile and desktop. Having the full visibility of her daily power usage sees her log-in regularly to monitor peak periods.
“It saved me a lot recently. I noticed a big spike in usage one day and instantly knew it was coming from a water pump. A leak was detected, and we fixed it straight away. That could’ve gone un-noticed and cost us a lot.”
The same feature also caught a power-gobbler at the family home. Courtney replaced an ageing chest freezer when she saw a spike in usage and their bill came down.
As Farm Source customers, power bills get paid directly out of the Grahams’ milk cheques every month. “I like that too, one less thing to pay and worry about.”
If there are any issues, Courtney doesn’t hesitate to reach out to Genesis Agribusiness Territory Manager, Dave Richardson.
“I had issues with a farmhouse that was allocated a commercial installation control point (ICP) rather than residential. Other retailers said, ‘it’s commercial and we won’t change it’ and I said, ‘it’s a house, I’m looking at it’. Dave got onto that straight away and got the right plan.”
She says the same of Farm Source Waikato Manager, Peter O’Shea. “When we bought our own farm in 2017, we thought a lot about whether we were going to bring that farm to Fonterra. I’m glad we did because we have a fantastic relationship with Peter. He’s been with us since the start.”
Courtney enjoys racking up Farm Source Rewards and the Farm Source Store also offers the family good discounts. “I definitely go online for calf meal prices and to see what other offers are up,” says Courtney. Filling up their vehicles comes with savings too, as their Farm Source card is used for cut-price fuel, so when the Grahams get to take their boat out fishing, it’s cheaper to do so.
“Every second day Alex was asking for a boat, so last July we got one. That’ll be his birthday present for the next 30 years,” Courtney jokes.
And she intends to stick with Genesis for a while too. “Yeah, For Dairy fits the bill for long time".
Does For Dairy sound right for you? Talk to a Genesis Agri Specialist today on 0800 436 048 or find out more at genesisenergy.co.nz/fordairy. We’ll compare your usage and offer a no-obligation comparison quote.
*Only available to Farm Source customers who hold an account with Farm Source and supply milk to Fonterra or related companies on a 12 or 24-month plan. Eligibility criteria, For Dairy Ts & Cs and early termination fees of up to $600 per ICP apply.
Article and images supplied by Genesis.