Ethan Foster and Jaime Abbott have been involved in the agriculture industry from a young age: Jaime growing up on her parents’ lease bull farm and Ethan relief milking at highschool. Both knew from a young age that their future was in the New Zealand dairy industry. While neither came from a dairy farm, their passion for the dairy industry has been driven by a love of genetics and nutrition that has seen them transition over the past 13 years from workers to 50/50 sharemilkers, and finally to their own System 5 farm, Woodford Holsteins in Karapiro, Waikato.
The couple note that increasing their onfarm efficiency every year has become an exciting journey. Currently achieving 620+ avg MS, each season they evaluate what did and didn’t work in the previous season, and planning to improve has become the fundamental driver of profitability onfarm. With nutrition being a key focus, they decided to work with DPS and completed their nutrition course. After years of feeding, the couple enjoy the farming system they have created.
‘People note that when they come to our farm there is a sense of calmness and we put that down to our effective feed management.’
“We have had staff come to work on our farm and say ‘wow, this is the easiest calving season we have ever experienced’. Provided we get nutrition right, we don’t have down cows, lame cows, or sick cows. People note that when they come to our farm there is a sense of calmness and we put that down to our effective feed management,” says Ethan.
With onfarm efficiency the key to success at Woodford Holsteins, Ethan and Jaime began researching cow monitoring systems as a means to bring data-based decision making into their farming operation. Ethan explains that CowManager’s ear sensor system was the pick of the lot and he has the sensors on his milking herd as well as his young stock. The ear tag is discreet, it supplies accurate data 24/7, and has enabled Ethan to confidently utilise more expensive genetics in his herd due to the accuracy of the fertility module.
“We are excited to begin bringing CowManager’s nutrition capabilities into our feed systems as we can accurately monitor how the cows are performing as we feed out.”