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Top bulls product of breeding from ‘best of the best’

Top bulls product of breeding from ‘best of the best’
Musica Ayrshire Stud near Leeston in Canterbury milks predominantly Ayrshire cows off a 200ha milking platform.

Musica Ayrshire Stud, which was started in the late nineties, is producing some top bulls. The Leeston based stud, which now comprises around 320 cows, sells bulls to Semayr Breeding Services or CRV Ambreed and one of the bulls, called Polka, is in the Semayr catalogue this year.

“Polka’s mum was in the top 5% of the herd for production producing 530 kilograms of milk solids. She also has good conformation. The sire is a young unproven sire with a good genetic background,” says David Ackermann who runs the family farm in an equity partnership with his parents Tony and Jolanda.

David heads the stud, which was originally started by his parents, and targets New Zealand genetics from Semayr.

The farm came with Ayrshires when Tony and Jolanda purchased it and David says they have found the breed competes with any other in terms of efficiency. The stud’s Ayrshires are producing 440 kilograms of milk solids.

In terms of breeding the focus is on production and conformation with good udders. They rear all their own replacements, a bonus in the recent mycoplasma bovis scare. David says they only breed from the “best of the best”.

He admits the stud is a passion and he is the president of the Ayrshire New Zealand Canterbury branch, sits on the Ayrshire New Zealand Youth Committee and the Semayr board as well as being a TOP inspector.

He says that Tony and Jolanda “holding the fort” when need be allows him to indulge this interest.

He says because Ayrshires are a minority breed in order to grow the breed in New Zealand there need to be more bulls proven each year.

“They are a hardy, easy-care cow. For example this season I only had to treat one cow for mastitis and we had a somatic cell count of 125 and we weren’t doing anything special. The genetics and production are all there. Ayrshires are good as a crossbreed for hybrid vigour or in a three way cross.”

David grew up on the farm, which was around 115ha at the time.

He completed a bachelor of agriculture at Lincoln University before doing his OE and finally returning to the farm. The farm now totals 263ha, including support block, with a milking platform of around 200ha.

Top bulls product of breeding from ‘best of the best’

It milks 500 predominantly Ayrshire cows through a 24 aside herringbone shed with automatic cup removers. It’s a town supply farm so milks 140 cows over winter.

There is a 63ha runoff located eight kilometres away used for wintering cows and young stock. David largely takes care of the dairy platform and Tony the calf rearing, tractor work and run off block.

Yolanda takes on the bookwork and cooks for the team. There is one full time staff member and a relief milker, which is a Lincoln University student.

David says he likes to give opportunities to the next generation of farmers. The farm also employs overseas trainees over spring and summer for 4-8 months.

“They are normally very keen to learn and hungry for knowledge. So it’s a good work ethic. We learn from them as well,” he says.

The main focus for the farm is to continue to increase production and efficiencies. It’s a pasturebased system with hay and silage made from the farm and run off blocks to take them through the winter.

David admits all grass is personal preference and also gives them good control over their costs.

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