The Centre for Dairy Excellence is a leading, evidence based, technology driven company providing dairy consultancy solutions across New Zealand. We aim to assist you and your team in finding innovative solutions to production, profitability, health and data management issues and to aid with improving your farms performance and profitability.
OUR MISSION STATEMENT
The Centre for Dairy Excellence provides leading, evidence based, tailored consultancy services. We are motivated to develop and source, new, proven technologies and systems. With focussed research, we deliver game changing outcomes across the dairy sector.
Business Manager/Farm Consultant
Qualifications: B Agr Sci, PhD
Craig hails from North Otago and grew up near Moeraki in true blue and gold territory on a sheep and beef farm. After high school, he spent a couple of seasons milking in North Otago and Southland but traded it in for studying at Lincoln. Whilst at Lincoln studying a B Agr Sci degree, he developed an interest in Animal Science and finally walked out with a PhD in ruminant nutrition just over a decade later. Whilst there he taught in the animal science department under a teaching fellowship programme.
A desire to get back into the ‘real world’ and solve issues on farm rather than a ‘blue sky’ focus led him to approach Vetlife for creation of the Centre for Dairy Excellence. He now leads the Centre for Dairy Excellence as the business manager and lead consultant working alongside clients implementing animal performance and feed management systems for dairy herds in particular for larger farming enterprises; he also works with the guys to ensure we run smoothly and attain our clients objectives whilst creating a good working environment for the Centre for Dairy Excellence team.
Outside of work, he enjoys most outdoor pursuits, fishing and hunting when time allows and has a few beehives scattered around which provide entertainment as well as the odd jar of honey.
Qualifications: BSc, BA, VetMb, PhD, Cert CHP, MACVSc (Nutrition), Dip Vet Epi +PH (Dist).
We arrived as a family of four in New Zealand in 2000 after 10 years of dairy cattle practice in the UK. We thought we would only stay a year but we’re still happy to be here. Becoming New Zealand citizens has given me and my family a sense of belonging. It is a huge privilege and pleasure to see my children as young New Zealanders.
The thriving dairy scene in New Zealand was a breath of fresh air and even with the up and down nature of the commodity cycle I continue to enjoy being part of an industry of national significance.
My current role as director of dairy research within Vetlife involves developing our capability for research, new dairy services for our clients and the provision of professional development for Vetlife colleagues. The most rewarding aspect of this is to see an idea develop from the first thought bubble to adoption and implementation. The challenges and rewards of delivering reputable, peer-reviewed science in a Practice environment continue to keep my job interesting and satisfying.
None of it would have been possible without the opportunities provided by education, professional development, an innovative and imaginative work culture, supportive colleagues and above all an understanding and caring family.
I hope to continue my own professional journey and have particularly enjoyed working and collaborating with colleagues within New Zealand’s Universities, DairyNZ, AgResearch, LIC and veterinary colleagues in industry and in Practice across New Zealand. So much out there is interesting: I just need more time and brain power to process it.
Qualifications: DVM, PhD
Bernardita Saldias (Berni) is one of our research scientists and is a consultant in ruminant nutrition, rumen function and fodder beet systems. For the last six years Bernardita has worked on fodder beet systems and she enjoys transferring her experience to farmers and learning from their experiences also. Bernardita shares her time between the Centre for Dairy Excellence and Farmquest (Sheep and Beef), in which she uses her background experience in rumen function and data analysis.
Meg Simpson joined the team at Dairy Excellence in July 2016. Prior to joining us she had been managing dairy farms in the Mid Canterbury area since graduating from Lincoln University in 2009. She has particular interest in using farm data analysis and technology to maximise system productivity and profitability. She also loves to use her farming background to make the data and research “real world” relevant and applicable at the grass-roots level. In her spare time she loves to cook, battles away with a bit of road cycling and has given up on trying to train Mildred, her misbehaving Fox Terrier.
Diploma in Agriculture
After studying Steph had the opportunity to manage a sheep milking, finishing and breeding farm in West Otago for 3 years before moving to Mid Canterbury to take on large scale dairy farm management. Her partner and three children are now based in Pleasant Point contract milking 1200 cows and are also equity partners and directors on a smaller dairy farm in Southland.
Steph loves dealing with all of the different challenges that comes with running a consistently high performance farming business and enjoys pulling from her practical experience and mixing it with research and science to analyse entire farm systems so we can ensure that business targets are not only met but exceeded!
Lis grew up in Dunedin as a kid who was never found indoors or even at home. After highschool she studied a Bachelor of AgriScience, continuing on to work on a sheep, beef and deer farm. In searching for a job which would get her more into the agricultural world where she could help farmers, Lis joined Vetlife Ltd in 2012 where she worked with farmers and established, then managed the Twizel Vetlife branch.
In 2017 Lis moved down to Winton to contract milk with her partner just outside of Winton, Southland. After calving was over she joined us here at Centre for Dairy Excellence as a Sales Consultant. She is excited to work with farmers who want to use the resources available, to help aid them to achieve the production and profitability results they want.
Between Centre for Dairy Excellence and contract milking Lis is kept on her toes. But when she does get a fleeting spare second you’ll find her with her horse and animals, jet boating or hanging with friends and family.
Katherine has been with the Centre for Dairy Excellence since January 2014 and prior to this she was part of the Vetlife head office team for four years. Katherine, her husband Josh and two young boys Kip and Mac live locally and enjoy being part of a small rural community. When she is not at work she enjoys spending time with her family, gardening and being outdoors.