Sharemilkers move to autumn calving proves a success
David and Lisa Anderson are environmentally conscious sharemilkers. Certified with Synlait’s Lead with Pride programme, they are focused on caring for their animals and the land so it can be used by the next generation.
Farming Kaimai Pastures at Te Poi in the Waikato, David and Lisa milk 560 Friesian dairy cows year-round, producing 660 kilograms of milksolids per cow on a 140 hectare (ha) milking platform. They also rear heifers and calves and utilise a 60 ha support block for growing 40 ha of maize.
About four years ago the Andersons moved to autumn calving which has benefited their operation as David explains. “We avoid feeding our youngstock during the drier months when grass is not as plentiful. Not only do we have more grass available in March, but we receive a premium price for the milk we produce over winter and utilise our infrastructure which has the capacity to feed the herd through the wetter months.”
Their infrastructure includes a composting barn which protects the cows from hot summer days and wet winters. “The compost, made up of sawdust and wood chips, is aerated daily to help remove the bad bacteria and keep the good bacteria in. When the compost is removed from the barn, we use it as fertiliser for our paddocks,” says David.
To feed the herd, the Andersons use the maize grown on-farm as well as importing soybean meal, soyabean hulls, brewers yeast and grass silage. Combined, Dave says this provides the herd with a cost-effective, balanced diet designed to maximise production and profitability. “If you feed your animals well, you receive a better return on animal health, fertility and milk production. It is also satisfying to see fully feed cows producing optimal results.”
David and Lisa have been PGG Wrightson customers at the Matamata store, managed by Matt Stachurski, for the past six years. “We appreciate the support we receive from the team who have taken the time to understand our business.”
“When we visit the store, the team are always friendly and offer us helpful advice. One Friday at five o’clock, our maize planter rang and said he was short on seed, so I rang Matt and he waited for me at the store to collect the seed. I am always given the best price too and that saves me having to ring around. Matt really looks after us,” says David.
The local PGG Wrightson Technical Field Representative assists on-farm, having recommended the maize variety they grow. Longer maturing, the Andersons can yield as much tonnage as possible, which David says results in less feed being imported on-farm.
The Andersons love farming as Lisa explains. “Having lived in town most of my life, I feel lucky to be bringing up my children in this environment.”
Type: 50/50 Sharemilkers
Size: 140 ha milking platform plus 60 ha support block
Location: Te Poi, Waikato