Every day Patrick Johnson dresses up for work and sings to a crowd of 750 for about three hours.
But Johnson’s not a musician; his costume is an apron and gumboots and the audience never applaud him – they’re cows.
Johnson is a South Taranaki dairy farmer who recently started recording himself singing while he was milking cows and posting a video on the internet everyday in an attempt to make fellow farmers smile.
“If they can go online and think ‘that guy’s a goofball, I love it’, then I’ve done my job,” he said. “I don’t think anyone’s in a bad mood when they’re singing.
“And the cows are a good crowd.”
The 25-year-old said there can be “dark times” in the cowshed or on the farm when farmers are all alone and having a bad day.
He milks around 750 cows for around three hours at a time and is alone for a large portion of that, which is why he’s always played music and sung to himself.
“It keeps my mind occupied and makes the day more enjoyable,” Johnson said. “I find the cows work better with me when music is playing as well, not necessarily with me singing for them but.”
He said as long as he can make one person smile or laugh a day, he’s happy.
“I’ve had my bouts with depression. Farming, it’s not as glamorous as everyone makes it out to be,” he said. “It can get lonely in here sometimes… There’s just so many factors.
“But everyone’s generally happy when they’re singing.”
That’s why he, and other farmers all over New Zealand, have started posting videos of them singing to the Farming Karaoke Facebook page which has only been running since May 1.
“I thought cowshed karaoke sounds like a bit of fun,” Johnson said. “It’s now got around 1000 people following it.
“It’s definitely getting a lot bigger than I thought it would be, but there’s still the same goal.”
The feedback on the page so far has been positive, Johnson said, especially the farmers joining in.
“It takes a lot of guts, especially if you’re not the best of singers,” he said. “And it’s just to get a few laughs.”