Teen keen to follow in dad’s footsteps

Teen keen to follow in dad’s footsteps
PHOTOS: Aaron and Nikki Frazer with family Lane (left) , Harley (rear right), Dakota (front), and Lincoln. The Frazers manage a 210ha farm for owner Campbell Clarke milking 600 cows on rolling to steep terrain near Otorohanga.

Already relief milking around the Maihihi district between Otorohanga and Te Awamutu, Harley Frazer is chomping at the bit to become a dairy farmer.
Harley is the 15-year-old son of Aaron and Nikki who have been in the dairy industry for the last 20 years and currently manage a 210ha platform for farm owner Campbell Clarke.
Harley is one of four children in the Frazer family – three boys and one girl – the others being Lane, 13, Lincoln, 12 and Dakota, 8.Strongly supportive of Harley’s career choice, Aaron encourages people to look at dairy farming as a career—especially younger people.
“The earlier you get started in this industry the faster you can grow. I encourage my staff as well with ITO courses and teach them everything I know.”
Hailing from the big smoke of Auckland, Aaron enrolled in a dairy-farming course when he was 22 – that was the beginning of his career.
Progressing quickly from farm assistant, to 2IC to farm manager, looking after some big properties along the way, Aaron and his family arrived at the Campbell’s farm at the start of this season.
The farm milks 600 cross-bred cows off rolling to steep country with volcanic ash soils and typically summer safe.
“This year was a bit different – it got quite dry but I was used to managing a dry farm. We had such a good spring and had plenty of maize and ended up with a lot of grass silage as well. We grew turnips for the summer crop as part of our re-grassing programme. So overall we did pretty well over that dry period.”
The steeper ground is utilised for the younger stock, making up 40% of the overall herd and milked once-a-day.
“We milk them in the afternoon so people aren’t going up the hills in the dark for health and safety reasons. The rest of the herd is on the flat to rolling country – we call those cows our Forward Pack –they’re the girls doing the milk.”
Enjoying a challenge, Aaron loves meeting targets – whether it’s production or six-week in-calf rates.
“That’s what drives me to do better. You know you can set a target and adjust what you’re doing to achieve it. The best the farm had achieved previously was 190,000kgMS and this season we’re targeting 210,000kgMS. It’s looking like we’re going to achieve that or very close to it.”
Nikki and Aaron’s future goal is to go contract milking or perhaps low order with the possibility of Harley commencing his farming career working as their farm assistant.
“Nikki has always said if Harley is going to be a farmer he might as well learn from the best. It’s been drummed into Harley that if he can surround himself with good people he will always be successful.
“I think that it’s also good to go and work for other people for a while to learn a different style of farming and then perhaps Lane might take over from Harley. Harley has to get out there and find his place in the world.”
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