For Kieran Clough, dairy farming was always on the cards.
It’s the lifestyle he wanted to live and he has never had anything else in mind – getting up early and milking is his favourite part of the job.
For the past seven seasons, Kieran has been running his parents 158ha farm in the small, South Taranaki, town of Eltham. “It’s an awesome farm,”
Kieran admits proudly, noting many outside onlookers are impressed with what they see and comment on how easily the systems run on the property.
“Everyone seems to think we are doing it right,” he says.
The property itself has a unique character with just over 30ha of native forest, gullies and plantations.
“We haven’t counted the number of trees officially but we have about 5000 trees on the property which makes it a nicer place to work, I think, rather than having the land all cleared for dairy farming, it’s quite nice to still have some native bush and plantations around the place.”
Not only are they nice to look at but they offer plenty of shelter for the cows, support pasture growth and are offering a new revenue stream.
Tempted by Government incentives and to make use of the relatively unproductive 12ha of gullies, Kieran is looking to get stuck in and clear the land for planting natives.
“We are looking at entering that area into the Emissions Trading Scheme,” he says. And delving into the commercial side of forestry, their pine plantation is getting to the stage where it is ready to be harvested and Kieran is looking to get that done within the next four years.
“A good bit on the side,” he says, and an exciting venture as it is all relatively new to him.
The five-year-plan is already looking enticing in that respect but there are plenty more goals on the horizon in terms of career progression.
In 2013 Kieran and his wife Olivia purchased a 43ha runoff at Pukengahu. It’s about a 15 minute drive from the home farm and Keiran’s parents live on the property and take care of the calves during that season.
“It was a good chance to get ahead,” Kieran says of the purchase.
“When I first came home to the farm everything was moving along really quickly so we thought it was a good chance to get our foot in the door and it just went from there. It’s been a good investment so far and we’ve made good capital gains.”
Now they’re toying with the idea of selling it.
“We were going to try and find something a little bit closer and see where that takes us. Also, mum and dad are pretty keen to build a new house on the dairy farm and Olivia and I are looking at buying into the dairy farm but we will need to sell the dry stock farm to do that first.”
On the farm everything is ticking along nicely, in terms of milk production and animal health, and having the next five years planned out and full of new opportunities, it’s easy to see why Kieran loves the lifestyle.
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