Ken is proud of the fact that he managed to produce 10% more milk solids (kilogrammes of fat and protein) in 2014/2015 from the same livestock than the year before: 70,000 versus 62,000 kilogrammes. This year, production again exceeds that of last year. "The only thing we changed is the grassland management." The contract worker uses more fertiliser, lots are oversown and re-sown locally. "Last year, we have used 125 kilogrammes of grass seed for overseeding small pieces. That has improved the quality of the turf significantly."
Name: Ken Finlayson (46) and Scott Donaldson (22)
Residence: Maungaturoto, New Zealand
Company: 200 dairy cows, 35 animals in its young stock and 20 beef bulls on 132 hectares - 94 hectares of which are grassland, divided over 55 lots, two hectares of green maize, two hectares of turnips and two hectares of chicory. In addition to this, the company boasts 32 hectares of forest. The one and two year old animals in the young stock are raised and bred by a third party. Donaldson delivers his milk to Fonterra and receives no external financial funding.
Growth is no longer a swear word, devoting time to dairy farming
For a long time, Finlayson thought he had no successor. His son Scott graduated in information science, but has recently decided to devote his time to dairy farming. "I was not keen on life in the big city and wanted to go back to the country." He will take over his father's company in a few years; Scott wants to see the world before settling down. Yet, Scott's taking over the family business casts a long shadow. Growth is no longer a swear word. Scott carefully mentions that the current 2x18 milking parlour with waiting area can easily handle 240 cows. His father hears him, but shakes his head.
"At the moment, the price is too low to scale up. We have a cost price of $3 per kilogramme milk solids and still reach break-even because feed and the bank do not cost much. I want to be able to pay an expansion like that from my own means. A company free of debt can last for a long time. I do believe Scott is starting to see that now." Scott agrees with his father. "For a long time, I thought things were not going so well here, but we are doing absolutely great financially, despite our smaller than average size. If we have to expand for the takeover, we can do that. I see many other examples in our region."