Tania Cresswell is a co-driver for Ashburton drystock farmer Wayne Muckle. Photo / Supplied
It is 3.15am on a calm spring morning as Dannevirke dairy farmer Tania Cresswell slides on her gumboots and heads outside.
The 29-year-old manages her parents’ 55-hectare dairy farm at Papatawa, milking 160 predominately Holstein Friesian cows.
Cresswell jumps on to a two-wheeler motorbike, giving it a kick-start. The engine roars to life, piercing the pre-dawn silence.
It is not long before the farm’s 14-aside milking shed starts to fill with cows gently jostling for position and eager to be milked.
“An easy-going temperament is one of the main traits I strive for in a cow. I work alone a lot of the time, so having a docile animal is crucial,” she said.
“Plus, I also give the cows a mineral drench in the milking shed, things like magnesium and iodine, and quiet cows are easier to drench.”