Noelle Fox is adjusting to a new role in a new country.
Ms Fox was appointed DairyNZ North Canterbury consulting
officer in February. She is from the central Ireland town of
Mullingar in county Westmeath, where her family owns a beef,
sheep and tillage farm.
She said she was enjoying meeting dairy farmers as she
supported them in achieving their goals.
''Part of my role is to bring dairy farmers together at
discussion groups and facilitate the sharing of ideas as well
as giving them access to technical information when they need
it,'' Ms Fox said.
This was not Ms Fox's first time in New Zealand. After
studying agricultural science at University College in Dublin
she ventured south for work experience.
She returned to Ireland and spent two years teaching
agriculture-related courses at polytechnic level, completed
further studies and then worked at the Department of
Agriculture, Fisheries and Food where she specialised in
pesticide regulation at national and European level.
During the 2011 Rugby World Cup Noelle returned to New
Zealand and after meeting an Irishman, who lived and worked
in Christchurch, decided to make the move permanent.
Ms Fox likes the format of the DairyNZ discussion groups.
''They are centred on seasonal topics and address other
relevant on-farm issues.
''Host farmers receive independent advice, peer feedback and
a written action plan outlining opportunities for them and
their farm business.''
Most farmers she had spoken to had been pleased with the
conditions this winter.
Bad weather at the end of June saw heavy falls of snow, sleet
and rain in some parts which had a negative effect on ground
However, pasture growth rates have exceeded expectations in
both June and July with many farmers reporting
higher-than-expected average pasture covers on the milking
''Many farmers reported widespread grass grub damage during
the autumn which will contribute to slower growth in
September compared to a good year,'' Ms Fox said.
''Utilisation and management of pasture from now until
balance date is key.''
She advised farmers to check pasture cover and start thinking
about spring preparation.
''Look at DairyNZ's Spring Rotation Planner and get a gauge
on where you are now and where you need to be by balance
date. Basically the key is to monitor, measure and plan.
''Do a feed budget and manage pastures carefully in the lead
up to spring growth.''
She said another issue might be feed availability as
supplements have been consumed to deal with the weather and
starting with a lower-than-idealavailability as people had to
use some of the winter grazing to cope with the dry summer
and autumn conditions.
''As calving gets under way remember to continue to monitor
the progress of young stock as they were the ones that
suffered the most during the nasty weather in June.''
Ms Fox is based in DairyNZ's Lincoln office and her area
covers Banks Peninsula, Oxford, Rangiora, Cheviot and
Kaikoura. She can be contacted at: email@example.com