New Ayrshire board director ready to hit the road and advocate for breed

New Ayrshire board director ready to hit the road and advocate for breed
PHOTOS: Glenkylie Farm’s Audrey and Rex Stevenson on a recent visit to Canada. Grandson Ben helps out feeding the calves.

Knowing that Southland dairy farmer Audrey Stevenson grew up on the dairy-rich West Coast of the South Island, it is not surprising to learn that farming and cows have always been her life.
A salt of the earth coaster, Audrey was born and raised on a dairy farm near the wildly crashing coastal waves of Ross where her family, the Detlaffs, farmed stud jersey dairy cows.
Leaving school some 40 years ago, Audrey worked on farms around the area before meeting husband Rex and spending the next 16 years contract and sharemilking.
Raising two sons – Craig and Michael – Audrey and Rex even managed to find time to win the West Coast Sharemilker of the year in 1996, before buying their own farm in 2001 – Glenkylie Dairy Farm, located in Isla Bank, just out of Riverton.
The 205ha-milking platform is home to 650 Ayrshire, friesian and Ayrshire friesian cross cows and complemented with a 80ha run-off.
“We started with a few Ayrshires on the Coast when we were contract milking,” says Audrey.
“For me the Ayrshire is an ideal cow – they got us through from nothing to farm ownership. We think they’re profitable with good conformation and handle New Zealand grass-fed systems very well.”
Audrey and Rex have always supported Ayrshire New Zealand and Semayr Breeding Services – part of Ayrshire New Zealand, which also runs a sire-proving scheme.
Thoughtfully reflecting upon her passion for dairy farming, Audrey says that the cows are her family.
“It’s not just milking cows – that passion for the cows is what gets you out of bed in the early hours or get up at night to calve a cow so that you don’t have to worry about it. Dollars and cents are a big player in decision-making – but so is the passion for farming – or we wouldn’t be in it. The cows bring a good income – but it’s the enjoyment of working with them. The friendships that you make along the way are also important.”

New Ayrshire board director ready to hit the road and advocate for breed
Glenkylie Farm heifers grazing. Audrey and Rex Stevenson’s 205ha-milking platform is home to 650 Ayrshire, friesian and Ayrshire friesian cross cows.

Craig and his wife Ruth are in partnership with Audrey and Rex in a sharemilking company, milking for Glenkylie Dairy Farm.
Ten years ago Rex and Audrey purchased a 273ha property in Te Anau that they have used for dairy beef and a support block – making that their home while Craig looks after the home farm.
The Te Anau property has now been sold, officially changing hands in October of this year.
The timing is perhaps perfect as Audrey has been elected director to the Board of Ayrshire New New Ayrshire board director ready to hit the road and advocate for breedRichard LoaderZealand.
A three-year term, Audrey’s job, along with two other South Island directors, will be to represent the interests of South Island’s Ayrshire breeders and farmers.
“For me, it will mean a lot more travelling. In my role I see it very important to talk to other breeders and to encourage other people to use the breed. While we will still be rearing calves and running the 80ha block and I will still be doing the farm administration, the idea is to travel around the country a bit and that might include visiting farmers.”
Audrey says the plan, at the moment, is to buy a caravan to travel the South Island with – home away from home while she advocates for Ayrshires.
It is hard to imagine that Audrey will be slowing down any time soon.
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