Feature: Young Paeroa farmers passionate about NZ-made

New Zealand-made products and brands are getting support from young Paeroa farmers

Producing high-quality milk from healthy happy cows is what gets Paeroa’s Tessa and Brendan Hopson out of bed in the morning.

“We love the idea that the milk we produce on our farm helps feed people here in New Zealand and on the other side of the world,” says Tessa.

Brendan and Tessa with their kids

The young Paeroa couple believe buying New Zealand-made products not only helps support Kiwi firms when they need it most but also makes sense for their farm business.

With a passion for agriculture and proud to be New Zealand dairy farmers, they are currently 20% equity partners and 25% lower order sharemilking 340 cows on 108 hectares near Paeroa, where they live with their sons, Toby and Ollie.

Brendan and Tessa won the NZ Dairy Industry Awards 2020 Auckland/Hauraki Share Farmer of the Year competition and received six merit awards in recognition of their outstanding on-farm practices and business acumen. They are now on the regional organising committee for the 2021 competition and will host a launch event on their farm at the beginning of November.

The Hopsons believe that to be good farmers, they need quality products they can trust to get the job done. For the Hopsons, New Zealand-made means quality for the New Zealand farmer.

“That’s what we’re looking for – something made for our conditions,” says Brendan.

Brendan Hopson

“We trust home-grown products more. As Kiwis ourselves, we like to support the local economy and give back to New Zealand businesses, even more so at the moment with many businesses struggling. New Zealand isn’t a big place, so if we support our own, we figure they will support us too.”

Tessa says, “When we buy a New Zealand-made product for our farm, we have peace of mind it’s been made for our country’s farmers, tested here and built for our environment.

“It’s also reassuring to know that if we do have any teething issues, it’s easy to get hold of someone from a local customer service team to get it sorted.”

With the help of one full-time team member, the Hopsons milk their Kiwi Cross herd twice a day through a 36-aside herringbone, with electronic cup removers and automatic teat sprayers.

Their production target for the current season is 140,000kgMS. They are using grass silage and PKE to help them get there, as well as maize – eight hectares of which they grow themselves on farm.

Mating comprises six weeks of AI, using bulls at the start for non-cycling cows and also at the tail end of mating. They rear 70 replacement heifers each season.

The Hopsons have recently invested in some New Zealand-made weigh scales and a hand-held EID Tag reader and data collector from Gallagher.

“We wanted more control over the weights of our young stock and to feel confident they were entering the herd at the right time,” says Brendan. “We also needed a quick and easy way to read EID tags and identify animals.

“We had always used a pretty manual system, which wasn’t very accurate, and we weren’t getting the results we were chasing. Now we have a more bullet-proof system so we know the exact weight of our calves at weaning. Being able to use New Zealand-made products to help us achieve this is the icing on the cake.”

Find new and used farming machinery on Farm Trader NZ 

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