James Stewart had a few concerns about hosting the general public on his Manawatu farm, but he need not have worried.

"It was a really positive experience. A lot more positive than I was thinking it was going to be."

Stewart Dairies was one of the 16 properties that took part in Fonterra's Open Gates initiative yesterday, where farmers welcome the general public to spend a day on the farm.

Around 600 people turned up to Stewart Dairies, which is an 800 cow operation in the Manawatu. Stewart told The Country's Rowena Duncum that kids and their parents particularly enjoyed a day on the farm.


"The tractors were a huge hit ... kids just wouldn't get out of them, and for the parents [it was] a big photo op."

It wasn't only Stewart and his staff who were on display though and when milking time came, his cows were faced with 200 people who had turned up to observe.

"I went into the shed and it was packed. It was like a rock concert ... I was a little bit nervous as the cows were coming in. In fact the first lot came into the yard and turned around and started walking back."

Listen below:

Duncum asks if the visitors experienced a bit of a "poo-nami" during milking time and Stewart reports that although the cows got used to the audience and everything went smoothly, there was a little bit of extra "shrapnel."

Overall the day was a success and Stewart was pleased to have received positive feedback from his guests.

"It was a huge win for me and my staff to actually get the positive feedback. We often don't feel too positive, you sort-of buy into some of the negative messages from some of these minority groups, but when you saw the public just having a real good day ... [it's] great for the community."