Milk production up 12% on Donald Pearson Farm

Posted by on 12 November 2018 | Comments

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It’s been a great start to the season for the Auckland dairy farm owned by NZ Young Farmers.

Milk production on the 74-hectare Donald Pearson Farm (DPF) is up “12 per cent on last season”.

The farm’s new manager, Tom Ruki, is being credited with the rise.

“Tom has really good pasture management skills. His attention to detail in that area is fantastic,” said DPF Board chair Julie Pirie.

“Plus, weather conditions have been really favourable.”

The farm is milking a herd of 120 Jerseys and Milking Shorthorns. The Jerseys are a recent addition, arriving in late May.

Calving finished ahead of schedule, and when Muster magazine spoke with Julie in early November mating was progressing well.

“We have just finished our first three weeks of artificial insemination (AI). We’ve had a great run, with all of the herd submitted for AI,” she said.

“The Jersey cows have been mated to Jersey bulls from LIC’s Premier Sires team. The Shorthorns have been mated to three nominated Milking Shorthorn sires.”

“Tom’s done a great job at ensuring the cows have been well fed in the lead up to and during mating,” Julie added.

A light cut of grass silage was harvested in early November and fertiliser was spread across the farm.

The property dries out in summer and a small crop of chicory has been planted.

It’s hoped the farm will achieve an annual milk production target of 40,000kg/MS within two years.

Tom’s not the only new face on the Donald Pearson Farm this season.

Dairy farmers Bryan Gallagher and Scott Montgomery have been brought on board as farm supervisors. They have replaced consultancy firm AgFirst.

“Scott literally lives a couple of minutes down the road. He has been extremely helpful,” said Julie.

“It’s great being able to tap into their local knowledge and our decision to hire them is already paying dividends.”

“Both Bryan and Scott were involved in the farm run by Wesley College,” said Julie.

The farm’s effluent system needs upgrading and a couple of DPF Board members planned to attend the Effluent Expo in late November.

“It will be an opportunity to look at the latest technology,” said Julie.

“We want to invest wisely in an effluent system which is fit for purpose.”

Plans are in the pipeline for an open day at the farm for NZ Young Farmers members early next year.