Danielle Harvey grew up on a sheep and beef farm but developed an interest in the dairy industry at university.
“I studied a Bachelor of Commerce (Agriculture) and after that I worked on a dairy farm west of Taupo before moving to the Manawatu to start with Farm Source (then RD1) in Longburn,” she says.
As Technical Sales Rep (TSR), Danielle looks after about 100 farmers in the Feilding area and is based at the town’s Farm Source store. She’s been in the role for three years but has been part of the Farm Source family since 2012. She’s a firm believer in the co-op’s vision.
“Because our core focus is dairy, I believe we are in the best position to be providing trusted advice to dairy farmers.” She values the farmer interaction and variety the job offers.
“I really love how much my job varies throughout the year. We are having conversations around seed and ag chem, then onto magnesium and nutrition, and we also have opportunities to save farmers significant amounts of money with our partnership offers. I also really enjoy working closely with a great store team and the TSR team in our region. We are constantly learning as things are changing, which keeps my job interesting.”
After a great start to the season, farmers in the Manawatu faced a particularly dry January and February. “So we are seeing maize coming off early, and not a lot of grass around,” says Danielle.
“Our farmers are focusing on holding milk production through autumn to ensure good late lactation and getting new grass in the ground.”
With such a shortage of grass around, Danielle says farmers are having to make decisions around feeding cows to try to maintain milk production until the grass is growing again. “One farmer wanted to green-feed some of their maize to get through until the rest was ready for harvest. We helped to choose the best paddocks to keep for silage and also talked to [our vendor reps] Pioneer to help find some maize they could buy in, to replace what had to be fed out,” says Danielle.
Helping farmers adjust and comply with industry changes such as new guidelines and recommendations is a key part of Danielle’s job.
“We have worked with a number of farmers over this dry period, including giving advice around PKE and Blends to ensure they are feeding their cows without running into issues around FEI. Again this is a good example of how we use our vendor reps (in this case Agrifeeds) to help farmers with their decision-making,” she says.
Like most of her farmers, dealing with mother nature’s unpredictability is one of the biggest challenges Danielle faces.
“The weather is the biggest challenge because it is something we can’t control and can’t predict. We try to help farmers set themselves up for what they might be faced with regarding summer crops and growing good supplement, and it can be frustrating when wet or dry conditions are working against us,” she says.
When she’s not at work, Danielle spends a lot of time with family and friends. “I also enjoy travelling, gardening and I have two horses and a dog which keep me busy. I have previously been involved with Young Farmers which was a great way to meet new people and learn new skills,” she says.