FMG Young Farmer of the Year Grand Finalist: Daniel Bradbury

Posted by on 30 May 2018 | Comments

Daniel Bradbury’s first job farming was on a large 1,400-cow dairy farm on the west coast of the South Island.

“I was 18-years-old and straight out of high school. It was a major shock to the system,” laughed the Northern FMG Young Farmer of the Year.

Daniel, who grew up in town in the United Kingdom, was backpacking around New Zealand at the time.

His working holiday produced two new loves: He met his partner Denise Knop and developed a passion for dairy farming.

The couple returned to the UK, where Daniel pursued a career as a farmer.

Abundant opportunities within New Zealand’s expanding dairy sector enticed them back here in 2014.

The pair settled in Northland, where Daniel got a herd manager’s job on a 600-cow split-calving farm.

“We moved to New Zealand because there are more opportunities to progress if you work hard.”

“I don’t feel that the same opportunities are as widely available in the UK,” he said.

Daniel and Denise have just started their second season contract milking 515 cows at Kawakawa.

The couple hope to be 50:50 sharemilking within three years.

“We already own 30 Friesian Cross heifers which will come into the herd this spring,” said Daniel.

“Our aim is to continuing investing in heifer replacements and to build our equity that way.”

“It’s definitely beneficial having our farm owner’s support, otherwise we could never afford to buy a herd here,” he said.

Daniel has some advice for people planning their next career move.

“The first thing I tell people to do is identify their weaknesses and skill gaps,” he said.

“Find an employer who can help you learn, grow and develop the skills that you need, whether it be animal husbandry or stockmanship.”

“You need to master those skills on the way up the ladder, otherwise they’ll negatively affect your bottom line once you get to the top,” he said.

The Bay of Islands Young Farmers member joined the club to network and get off the farm.

“Taking part in the Northern Regional Final of the FMG Young Farmer of the Year has helped us get our name out there,” said Daniel.

“I think it’s important to build your profile in the dairy sector.”

“It always helps if people have heard positive things about you before they meet you – whether it be a future employer or a banker,” he said.

Daniel plans to ramp up his studying ahead of July’s grand final.

“The great thing about winning the local title is a few people have approached me and offered to help me prepare, which is fantastic.”