South Island TSR Regional Report - November 2018

South Island TSR Regional Report - November 2018

1 November 2018

Julia Wyatt has been TSR for the Winton Farm Source store for almost eight years. Which sounds impressive enough… until you hear about her 31 years of industry experience and award-winning cropping skills.

Although she is now the “proud owner of a Kiwi passport,” Julia was raised in the United Kingdom where she achieved her agriculture qualifications and spent years farming dairy cows then goats.

"I love all aspects of farming - dairy/goats/sheep/pigs - I love ‘em all," says Julia, who was a sales rep for CMR, minerals and molasses in the UK before spending eight years working for environmental consultants involved with benchmarking farms. Prior to leaving her home country Julia was an animal health and welfare consultant for UK government projects.

"I then emigrated to New Zealand, joined the Farm Source team and completed the Dairy Production Systems (DPS) training. My husband and I are contract milkers for one of our Fonterra farmers milking 950 cows. We’re in our fifth season on the same farm," she says.

Julia looks after farmers in the central and northern Southland region where, currently, they are focused on either calving or cropping.

"For those who still have cows calving we’re making sure they’re grazing that first round down to set residual for the second round. We’re concentrating on pushing for peak milk production, getting cows ready for mating, assessing calf condition, weighing, drenching and feeding to ensure they reach target weaning weights."

The other group are farm owners/overseers and 50/50 sharemilkers "who are looking at crop requirements for next winter, getting their re-grassing plans into place and putting summer crops in just in-case of summer dry" she says.

A technical expert on re-grassing and forage brassicas, Julia has grown thousands of hectares of fodder beet, kale, swedes, turnips, grass and cereal crops and has won the PGG Wrightson Brassica Award twice.

"Cropping is my happy place as it is so important to add that value to our farmers, ensuring we have feed and plenty of it," she says.

Julia describes her vendor reps as "a great asset" and over the years she has built good relationships with a select few, "but only if they add value to me and my farmer" she cautions.

"Being able to use vendor rep expertise on farm is good but it’s also about having a sounding board when we are walking crops," says Julia, who walks every paddock weekly from mid-October until the end of January - including Christmas!

"Last year I had 83 paddocks to look after, and sometimes it’s just good to get [vendor rep] support to share any concerns. As you can imagine, it can get quite stressful if environmental conditions stop us doing what we need to do, and the vendor reps will always help us if needed," she says.

It was initially her compatible skillset that attracted Julia to working for Farm Source but over time she has become passionate about the co-operative model.

"Our point of difference is that everything we do is for our co-operative, therefore, our farmers. I produced milk in the UK without a cooperative - that’s why we are here!"