Farm gear: Wrap your vat

Tim McVeagh With the new milk cooling regulations coming in to effect in June 2018, there has been a lot of interest in how to meet these requirements. While many farmers will have to invest a significant amount to upgrade cooling systems, others will comply by making their existing system more efficient. This starts with primary cooling. But improving the …

EXPERT EYE: Ten traits of high performance farmers

Julie Rickman, JER Consulting Performing at a top level is all about optimising outcomes, not maximising them – and that’s where the most profitability lies, Julie Rickman says. For Rickman, a consultant who worked alongside the Ministry for Primary Industries team on research into high-performing farms for the MPI Farm Systems Change project, a number of factors stood out across …

Modular staffing gives team flexibility

Fitting work to people’s lives has proved a winner for a Tararua diary farmer. Jackie Harrigan reports. Woodville dairy farmer Ben Allomes was looking for an opportunity to radically reorganise the rosters on his 800-cow farm when the chance came up with a mid-season change in personnel last October. Ben had ruminated on finding a way to make the dairy …

BODY CONDITION SCORING: The simple facts

Anne Lee For contract milker Matt Greenwood having the 1200 cows he manages independently body condition scored means he’s dealing with facts. “Everything we do on farm – and actually our whole farm system here – we want to be based on scientifically proven information not somebody’s theory,” he says. Matt and Vanessa Greenwood are contract milkers on two of …

Low-cost dairy masterclass

Anne Lee Farmers and rural professionals were treated to what you could call a master class in low-cost, pasture-based dairying at the South Island Dairy Event (SIDE) earlier this year when Dairy Holdings Ltd (DHL) principals Colin Armer and Colin Glass took to the podium. Armer and wife Dale own Armer Farms which includes 15 large-scale dairy farms in the …

ECOLOGICALLY SPEAKING: A unique farmers market in the global village

Alison Dewes I am lucky to work with great farmers, many of whom are leaders because they have chosen to do things differently. From now till 2020 will be a time of rapid change for the pastoral sector. Not just for dairying, but the supporting agribusiness sectors. Pressure is being applied on resource use (water), nutrient loading and greenhouse gas …

Setting high standards

Dairy farmers need to take ownership of their future by embracing the challenges facing the industry Waikato farmers John Hayward and Susan O’Regan say. Their operation is one of the 20 high-performing farms studied as part of the Primary Industries Ministry’s Farm Systems Change initiative. They told Sheryl Brown how they keep a step ahead in their business.   Turning up …

Top-Notch rearing

Dairy farmers and calf-rearers Jonathan and Joanne Leigh have reared anywhere from 1400 up to 8000 calves every season for 14 years without any serious disease outbreak. They gave Sheryl Brown an insight into how to succeed at calf-rearing and why people need to love calves to do it well. Dairy farmers can have a she’ll-be-right attitude to calf-rearing but …

Weighing up the next step

Aaron and Holly Jackson didn’t stint on the diligence when looking at their next step in the dairy industry, they told Anne Lee how they used friends, experts, checklists and historic facts to make a considered decision. Aaron and Holly Jackson talked to respected peers, sought independent advice and had to weigh up a lot of pros and cons when …

Sparkle with Speckle Parks

Dairy farmers looking to expand their use of beef semen could find an answer in Speckle Park cattle. Sheryl Brown visited Waikato sharemilker Derek Hayward to see how he is using the black and white beef breed to add value to his business.   Derek and Catherine Hayward are in the stock business. Like most sharemilkers their money is invested in …