Waikato farmers Rex and Sharon Butterworth were the Waikato regional winners of the 2015 Dairy Business of the Year. The couple also won the Business Resilience Award, which was given to the farm with the lowest cost of production.
Anne Boswell talks to a Bay of Plenty dairy farming family - a perfect example of farmers contributing to a healthy environment, rather than diminishing it.
Despite the payout a farmer is forging ahead with a new cow barn
Rex Butterworth leans on his farm gate in the Waikato watching his cows with a big smile on his face. Some are eating, some are lying down. More importantly, they have shade on what is a stinking hot day.
Resident 'vocalists' greet visitors to the Birchall family dairy farm with a delightful sound once familiar but now seldom heard - that of frogs croak...
We recognised there was an issue wintering cows on the coast and using wintering pads, and one of the shingle pads that was here was near the lake. There were other benefits from the HerdHomes as well like feed utilisation and cow condition.
And it's peace of mind, being able to put the milkers in there or get them off the paddocks.
Investing in shelters for 480 cows isn't cheap but Rex Butterworth says it's dramatically reduced the cost of production, impacts on the environment and improved animal welfare. In fact the cows love their homes so much it's sometimes hard to convince them to go outside - especially if it's raining
Rex feels more in control now with the hybrid system. "We have no control over the weather but we now have more control over the effects of the weather."
Waikato's top dairy business for 2015
The Southland-Otago Sharemilker Equity Farmers tell Sonita Chandar they hope the region will be kinder to them this year.
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