Along comes Gypsy day and the Seerden family have moved from Norsewood. Shiralee Seerden reports how a few months of preparation helped with the move.
Onward and upward! Well, literally speaking we did; moving another two hours north, destination Tutira.
Why here? With so many 50% sharemilking positions on offer for this season; Tutira provided what’s important to us.
First, owners we can work with, and in reality, extended family, this being a generational farm.
Secondly, a completely self-contained unit. This means more work but with Mycoplasma bovis potentially lurking still within our borders this should reduce the risk to our herd.
Thirdly, infrastructure that supports the current situation and has room for future growth.
Last but not least this location provides for a life outside of farming.
As you would expect autumn for us was busy. It was also important to us to leave the farm spic and span for the incoming farmer by completing all the little jobs usually put off until winter. We averted a potentially stressful time by sorting/ decluttering and packing six months in advance and creating room for any other unpredictable tasks to be slotted in.
An added bonus saw the outgoing sharemilker and owner obliging our request to move machinery on to the new farm and household goods into the second house weeks in advance of Gypsy day, helping immensely. Having friends eager to assist helped too.
Our dry cows on arrival moved on to a kale crop to be finished by August while calving starts on July 21. For the first season we’re calving down 315 cows on a milking platform covering 120 hectares, as we spend this year setting up a new cropping and re-grassing programme which will accommodate another 35 cows next season. The remaining 55ha is rolling to steep and ideal for all young stock and bulls.
The month of June also saw a flurry of contractors converge on the farm. The 28-aside herringbone cowshed is under refurbishment and upgrading, old calf sheds were removed and relocation to another existing shed is under way, re-sowing kale crop paddocks, old power poles replaced and to keep the ball rolling quickly we have accommodated contractors, allowing them to work late and start earlyish.
Moving to a warmer winter climate has made life a ton of fun for the children, who like to rise early in the morning to get the best out of the heavy frosts and welcoming warm sunny days. While we savour our coveted sleep ins, they race to explore the farm to find frozen ice to smash and film it all on the iPad only to joyously watch it and recap every thought and feeling throughout the morning to any willing or unwilling participant.
There has to be a downside to moving to such a great place and I would have to say it has been worse for our older children than ourselves. Spark would only offer us 20 gigabytes of wi-fi for a month due to overloaded sites. Try telling your children not to check their emails, no YouTube and definitely no gaming, it’s a sure-fire way to make the kids want to move out, however none have carried this out, yet.
Somehow we managed to stretch our internet to 15 days which was even more of an achievement taking into account its slow loading and constant disconnection. This has run alongside our lack of cell phone coverage. Thank goodness we have decent sized hills to drive up to get reception which was crucial as our home phone line we found out was cut; somewhere! Before moving I had been looking forward to quieter times with cell phone tones rarely heard but with all other communication unreliable it has been laborious dealing with contractors, owners, businesses and personal matters.
Making a few 40 minute trips into town to use the library’s internet was a lifesaver when trying to track down new business and personal contacts. Makes me sentimental for phone books.
We were keen to jump on board Fonterra’s first Fixed Milk Price offer in June having buttoned down the last guaranteed milk price a few years back and seeing a clear benefit, locking in 20% at $6.75/kg milksolids for us it’s a small bit of security in an unpredictable and rapidly changing world.