A genuine lady of the land, Daphne Gordon is at one with her land and her pedigree Ayrshire cows.
Born and bred on the Taranaki dairy farm that her grandparents, Jim and Daisy Gordon bought, cleared and developed 82 years ago, Daphne is now the third generation to care for the soils and her herd of Ayrshires – protecting her grandparents legacy.
Daphne says her grandparents were very special to her and that was a big influence in her decision to farm the 84ha Inglewood property that has views of Mount Taranaki from any of the farms paddocks. Views of Ruapehu, Tongariro and Ngauruhoe complete the surrounding picture post-card vistas.
After working in the motorcycle wholesale industry for 16 years till 1995, Daphne did some relief milking and helping out on farms while she was having her children.
It was not till 2009 that she returned to the family’s Inglewood property, leasing it from her parents. This is the first season that Daphne has employed someone to help over the spring.
Up until then she farmed by herself with the help of her three children, Hamish, Alistair and Robyn – but they have now gone their own ways.
A flat to undulating farm with a few hills, rivers and creeks, the farm is a very pretty landscape with lots of riparian planting around the waterways.
“I’ve done lots of riparian planting around the creeks and rivers. The rivers are very calming. Everywhere you go there’s something different and it’s a picturesque and beautiful farm.” But Daphne says you have to know the farm to farm it.
“The farm does have challenges to it – it’s not a boring farm because it always has a difficulty element to it. You have to really think when you’re farming wet weather or fine weather – where you’re putting cows, where you’re not putting cows. It’s challenging working with the weather—working with your hills and your flats and boggy paddocks.”
With last year’s drought, within three weeks the farm went from mud to the river flats going brown and then the hills went brown too.
Daphne says when the river flats go brown you know you are in trouble because that is Mother Nature telling you. Dairy farming, and Ayrshires in particular are Daphne’s passion.
“I love dairy farming – I have real interest in working with animals –they’re all different, different personalities, different temperaments. I enjoy the mating side of farming and seeing what the offspring will come out like.
“ Her grandfather registered his first three Ayrshires in 1938 under the stud name of Kenmure – a name taken from where he originated from in Dumfries in Scotland.
“We have 210 cows and three quarters of them are registered Ayrshires, with the rest jerseys and Friesians. I love the Ayrshires traits, their personalities, the colourings of them – they’re all different. And we have so many pets in the herd – we have a very quiet herd.”
“We rear all the AB heifer calves that are born on the farm and if we end up with a surplus we sell them. They do really well – they’re good foragers. I sold twenty calves to a farmer and they were going to hill country with lots of bracken – all the rubbishy stuff – and they just went in and cleaned it up.”
Ayrshire herd certificates from Fonterra, Ayrshire New Zealand and Taranaki Ayrshire Club attest to the cows Low Somatic Cell Count, Highest Quality Milk Production and Top BW herd in Taranaki.
The passion for Ayrshire’s continues in Daphne’s family with her 19 year old daughter Robyn showing Ayrshires since she was a little girl.
“Robyn has won heaps of ribbons, cups, trophies and the North island senior hander two years ago,” Daphne says proudly.
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