Farming abroad: From car sales to milking cows in New Zealand

Bill Moore from Co. Meath has gone from being a car salesman to being a 50/50 dairy farmer in New Zealand.

Speaking on Today with Sean O’Rourke on RTE, Moore said that in New Zealand there is a very good structure for progression.

“You can start out with no experience, get trained up, become a manager and go onto contract milking where you get 20-25% of the gross revenue from the farm.

“50/50 farming is where you own the cows and share the total income of the farm with the farmer and you pay half the costs; the veterinary, the feed and the fertiliser,” Moore said.

Moore said that lots of guys have gone from working on a farm for wages to owning their own farm in 10 years.

“The average farm here is 350 cows on 120ha; you could do that in 10 years no problem,” he said.

The price of land in New Zealand has escalated immensely since Moore went to New Zealand he said.

“When I came first it was $20,000/ha, this has gone to up to $85,000/ha. It’s getting harder and harder,” he said.

Demand

“One thing I have to say is that Irish dairy farmers are great dairy farmers. The Irish are in demand for the way they work.

“The Irish attitude is don’t get too big, don’t try too hard. In New Zealand it’s all about giving it a go; if that attitude got into Ireland it would be good,” Moore said.

“I would like to come back to Ireland at some stage, especially missing out on family events and that kind of thing. We are very happy in New Zealand, if the farm scale and size was big enough [in Ireland we’d come back], but we’re building a business for ourselves,” he said.

Bill Moore currently lives in Tokoroa on the North Island and in three weeks time he is moving to the centre of the North Island, moving from contract milking to a 50/50 job.

Social life

“I really enjoyed being in car sales but in 2009 I was looking for another opportunity. I had previously lived in South Africa,” he said.

Moore said that he and his wife looked at what they could do in New Zealand and he says that the doors just opened up.

“It’s different to Ireland, it doesn’t have the pub culture that Ireland has, you go around for a barbecue and a few beers,” he said.

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