Dairy farmer Daniel Hathaway recently took a couple of days off his hectic farming schedule to play in the Norwood and Miraka Charity Golf Tournament at Wairakei Golf and Sanctuary in Taupo. Here’s why.
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Dairy farmer Daniel Hathaway, who recently vacationed with his partner Kristelle and family, says taking a break off-farm means you can refresh and come back to work with a bit of extra zest and get into it.

It’s been a stressful year for Daniel and his partner Kristelle. They spent a good part of the year looking for suitable local sharemilking opportunities and when they didn’t work out, worried about whether to keep or sell their animals. Finally, just weeks before the season started, a neighbouring farmer offered them a chance to combine herds and contract milk – a huge relief.

The couple currently contract milk 800 cows (420 are theirs) on a 60-bail rotary shed in the Waikato, near the Mamaku ranges. Time off is a precious commodity. Between winter grazing, milking, calving and mating, there is almost no downtime. Despite this, Daniel knew the pair could really do with a break, so he signed up for the golf tournament anyway, organised a relief milker to help his existing team, booked the family into nearby Wairakei resort and hit the golf course.

“I enjoy the farming lifestyle, but it’s certainly pretty character-building at times. We’ve had a stressful year. That’s why taking a short break was important,” he said.

“Our shed’s pretty easy to run when everything’s going well, so we just booked a relief milker and made the most of the little break you get between calving and mating.”

It did the trick.

“Golf’s a great game like that, if your mind’s not on it, you’re not going to play very well, so it really does stop you thinking about the farm,” he said.

“I really enjoyed just meeting different people and talking about something other than cows and calving.”

“It was my first time off-farm in a long time. It was good company, good fun and a good hit out too.” he said.

“I was aiming for the 90s and ended up shooting 101, which wasn’t too bad. I hadn’t hit a golf ball in a long time.”

Daniel’s family also enjoyed a change of scene.

“My partner milks every day, she’s right beside me the whole time, then she comes home and organises the household (they have four kids). So, it was nice for her to have a break for a couple days too. You could just see the stress drop away,” he said.

The annual tournament raised $60,000 for rural wellbeing initiative Farmstrong.

“I reckon it’s really important to get off-farm from time to time, if you can wangle it, and just have a bit of a breather,” he said.

“It means you can refresh and come back to work with a bit of extra zest and get into it.”

Next up?

“My partner and I are doing the Coast-to-Coast race. We’ve had no time to train, but we’re still doing it,” he said.

Dairy farmers hit a new high for milk production last season, despite the national herd continuing to shrink.

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