Young Supplier On The Road To Success

Pete Smit is an Open Country farmer supplier and one of many young kiwis who are making the most of the opportunities available in the New Zealand dairy industry. His family has a long history with dairy farming. Pete’s grandfather was involved with herd recording in Holland and his father came to New Zealand to work as a geneticist for LIC before they became dairy farmers. Since then, his family has been farming for 30 years. Pete was born in Southland and moved to the Waikato with his family when he was eight. Since his early childhood, he would always help out on the family farm.

Pete is now in his third season as a herd-owning sharemilker on the 68-hectare property that is jointly owned by his mother, Nienke and older brother, Floyd in Ohaupo, outside of Hamilton.

Pete says there has been a big difference in running his own farm, compared to being a farm hand. He has had to get a grasp on managing both himself and how to get the most value out of his day. He’s enjoyed personal growth in farming over the last few years.

Pete milks over 200 Holstein Friesian cows which produced close to 130,000 kgMS in the 2019/2020 season, approximately 630 kgMS per cow. That is well above the Waikato average of 360 kgMS per cow.

Calving is split 50/50 between autumn and spring. Autumn calving starts in early March and finishes at the end of April, and spring calving starts around the end of July and finishes in early September.

Pete says, “Having the infrastructure to fully-feed the herd enables me to milk twice a day all year round, maximising production”. Near the cow shed is a concrete feed pad and large feed banker. Cows will spend a lot of their time on the feed pad during the wet weather to mitigate pasture damage. It also gives the cows a place to eat throughout the drier periods of the year. The herd’s diet consists of Palm Kernel, Golden Dried Distillers Grain (GDDG), Ryegrass, Straw and Maize Silage.


Story Young Farmer Pete Smit

Pete uses genetics from a variety of companies around the world to create a uniform line of cattle. He believes this will help future-proof his business. The genetics are from New Zealand, USA and Holland. Pete is finding the genetics from these areas are meeting his requirements, helping him to achieve success and efficiency across his herd and operation.

Pete is passionate about the dairy industry and believes that dairy farming is one of the few industries where he can really make something for himself. One of his long-term goals is to one day own his own farm. Within the next five to 10 years, he is looking to progress into a larger 50/50 sharemilking role.

The Waikato A&P show was held towards the end of October last year, and Pete competed for the Pitcairn’s Trophy. Contestants were asked to assess five cows’ feet, legs, rump etc., place them in order from first to fifth and present their reasoning to the judges. Pete won the trophy and was awarded prize money which goes towards a nominated show or industry event.

Along with this achievement, Pete has also been awarded the Frank Pfister Trophy for being the highest scoring youth member at Holstein Friesian NZ judging school. With this result, he has moved up towards the senior judges’ list. This means he can judge on his own at future A&P shows.

We are proud and inspired to be surrounded by passionate people like Pete in our industry and we look forward to watching him and his career in dairy grow.