Sunday, April 25, 2010


Tony Coltman left us as Don’s Son and returned as an expert in dairying. He manages three herds near Harwood in South Missouri. They manage the herds for a group of New Zealand investors called Focal Dairies. This syndicate of New Zealand investors arrived in Missouri in 2005. The land purchased was re-seeded in September 2005 with milking starting in February 2006. In NZ we have had massive growth in the dairying industry.
Farm values in NZ have gone up 250% so they looked off shore to avoid the land cost. NZ cows have gone from 2 million to 4 million. In the US over the same period they have gone from 12 million cows to 9 million but they have increased their per cow production.
Their cows have half the life of our cow herds however they produce a lot more milk per cow than Kiwi cows.
It is not all a country of milk and honey. It is cold in the winter and hot in the summer going from minus 29 to +40C.
One of the surprising obstacles is doing business there with their various forms of tax it is very complex making business survival and administration much harder than NZ.
Their culture is also very different to ours. With mostly Hispanic labouring staff who bring their own special culture to the employment scene. Like anyone from their country will tell you Uncle Sam turns common sense on its head. The government subsidies are making people avoid doing new things with their land despite economic gains that could be achieved. Tony says Don taught him how to mix concrete and that early hard training has left him with a culture of honest hard work ethics.

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