DRIVING DAIRY CAREERS: Learning on the job

A Rangitikei farming operation has set up an apprenticeship scheme to train dairy workers. Jackie Harrigan reports. On Bella Archer’s first day at work as a dairy farm assistant, she learned how to ride a two-wheel motorbike, and rode around and around the tanker track until she had mastered it. On her second day she learned to drive the tractor. …

The Phillips buy in empty cows as replacements and are milking from 18-22-hour intervals.

Moving with the times

Northland’s Phillips family have farmed the length of the North Island and now see their oldest son making progress towards succession. Glenys Christian reports. Doug and Glenys Phillips have more than enough dairy farming experience having developed 16 different properties throughout most of the North Island. But they want their older son, Kent, 31, who has just started 39% sharemilking …

Allister McCahon among the fodder beet.

A place for beet

Glenys Christian Northland dairy farmer Allister McCahon believes fodder beet has a place on some of the region’s dairy farms. “Where utilisation is not a problem it offers very high feed values at important times of the year,” he says. “It’s all about the right soil type and the crop being ‘fit for purpose’. What are you trying to mitigate …

Dirk Sieling with his mussel leachate/effluent injector.

Shelling out with waste

With a ready source of mussel farm waste a Coromandel farmer is looking to cut the aromatic effect on locals while improving soil fertility. Glenys Christian reports. Coromandel dairy farmer Dirk Sieling believes he can not only reduce fertiliser inputs on his farm but also help remove a waste stream from one of the area’s other important industries. He’s recently …

Palm kernel cut start of evolution

Glenys Christian Landcorp’s (Pamu) move to stop feeding cows palm kernel is now worth $160,000 a year in premiums to its Canterbury dairy farms supplying Synlait, its head of environment, Alison Dewes told the Environmental Defence Society (EDS) Conference in Auckland in early August. It would have some planning in place by December to move to farming under ecosystem health …

Brent Page's family has been farming the same land since 1852.

New uses for muck

Squeezing the fluids from dairy effluent and mixing the resulting solids with sawdust offers a comfortable surface for cows to stand on for a farm in a high-rainfall area. Anne Hardie reports. The squeezed solids from Brent and Kathy Page’s dairy effluent on their Golden Bay farm is going to form the base for the wintering barn next year, mixed …

Mike and Russell Phillips: how much Ecotain in the sward would improve farm bottom line and make meeting N leaching targets possible? Picture: Brad Hanson

Collective action

Russell Phillips is embarking on a journey to raise the content of plantain on his Te Rehunga farm and supporting a research project to start a catchment-wide action to plant farms in 30% of the N-reducing forage. Jackie Harrigan reports. Russell Phillips has been dairy farming at Te Rehunga, south of Dannevirke since he was 21, on a farm that …

Finding the sweet spot

Benchmarking a dairy business relative to its peers is an excellent way to guide a farm to its highest level of profitability, dairy consultant Chris Lewis writes. As a dairy farm consultant my definition of the sweet spot is the farm system where an individual farm can consistently deliver its highest level of profitability. A key word is “consistently”. The …

Robert and Hayley find buying in feed is more cost-effective and has bumped up their milk production.

Utilising every blade

The Central Plateau Dairy Business of the Year is a Reporoa operation running at 3.3 cows/ha. Dairy farmers Robert and Hayley Hathaway have bumped up milk production with a higher stocking rate by using efficient supplements and precision pasture management. Sheryl Brown reports. When Robert and Hayley bought their 160ha dairy farm on the Reporoa flats they were milking 460 …