Couple passionate about dairying

Inch Clutha farmers Donna and Brendon Weir, pictured with two of their three children, Zac (8)...
Inch Clutha farmers Donna and Brendon Weir, pictured with two of their three children, Zac (8) and Hayley (12), were delighted when they heard they were to be awarded a Fonterra plaque for being 10 years grade free. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Inch Clutha dairy farmers Donna and Brendon Weir are passionate about their cows and proud to be dairy farmers.

They were delighted when they heard they were to receive a Fonterra plaque to acknowledge being grade free for 10 years, one of five dairy farmers in the region to be recognised.

However, Covid-19 prevented the presentation dinner from going ahead and they have yet to receive the plaque.

They were the fifth generation to farm the 160ha property, Mrs Weir said.

"We are proud to be dairy farmers and proud to be Fonterra dairy farmers.

"There has always been a dairy farm here.

"It is nice to farm a farm that has so much family history.

"We know our cows and know which ones like to have a scratch and which one is on the platform first.

"They are highly intelligent, beautiful animals.

"I think it is a real privilege to be able to work with them.

"Brendon says he is not the landowner, he is the caretaker for the next generation."

The couple bought the farm from his parents two years ago and now milk about 500 cows with a 218000kgMS target.

They have a 40-bale rotary and run a 100% grass-fed system as well as a 90ha run-off block at Hillend.

The couple are part of the LIC sire proving scheme, rearing about 115 heifer calves this season.

They have three children: Cameron (20), who is working on an engineering apprenticeship, Hayley (12) and Zac (8).

Mrs Weir’s first job after leaving school was as a commercial deep sea fisherwoman and she did that for about 10 years.

The hard work and the high standards of hygiene and work ethics required prepared her for working in the dairy shed.

They have one fulltime staff member, in addition to themselves and a couple of casuals.

One of the key issues is the difficulty attracting suitable staff.

"It is getting harder and harder to get the right staff, and to get staff who care.

"This is our livelihood and we are emotionally invested in the farm and our animals.

"It is nothing for Brendon to often happily work 16 to 18-hour days, seven days a week because of his passion for the land.

"An eight-hour day for him is the equivalent of a day off, because of his passion for the land.

"When he was a little boy he would go out and play in his sandpit.

"He says, now he is a big boy, he views going out on the farm as his version of playing in a big sand pit."

 

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