With a Southland winter fast approaching, 480 cows that Adam and Jenna Waite contract milk for Farm Build Milk Company will soon be making their way to their home away from home, 18 kilometres down the road.
An annual migration to the farm’s run-off, the cross-bred herd will join cows from another property, battening down the hatches against whatever wintery conditions Mother nature has in store – holidaying in a herd home complete with bedding, warm and dry.
Servicing two dairy units, the run-off and Redpath herd home is all part of the business owned by Farm Build Milk Company.
The cows will spend about 60 full days in their comfortable surroundings, returning to the farm on or about the 25th of July, in time for early August calving, with the benefit of better body condition.
Adam explains that the use of the barn is a fantastic way to control winter feeding and achieve body condition score targets.
“We decide how we want the cows to look coming out of winter, we budget the feed ourselves, feed how much we want to feed and when we want to feed – so we have total control.
We’re not reliant upon other people and at the end of the day if the job doesn’t get done we only have ourselves to blame.” About 510 tonne of dry-matter will feed 680 cows in the barn over the winter period.
He says the barn enables preferential treatment to be given to those cows needing it, such as the young ones, and of course there is very minimal feed wastage, in comparison to feeding on paddock.
Adam and Jenna are just finishing their seventh season working as contract milkers for Farm Build Milk Company, and the fourth on the current farm in the business.
The 150 hectare effective property is located at Seaward Downs about 9 kilometres from Edendale – 25 minutes nor-east of Invercargill.
Adam says there is really two parts to the farm – one that holds on really well during summer and one that takes quite a bit of management to reduce soil damage. The herd home is one of the management tools.
Adam and Jenna are now celebrating a key milestone in their farming career with the completion of their first season as equity partners in Farm Build Milk Company, which is predominantly owned by Kevin and Debbie Hall. The ability to increase their equity percentage in the partnership over time was a major draw card for Adam and Jenna.
“The a real focus for us over the next 10 years is to keep building our equity and growing that percentage. We really appreciate the support provided to us by Kevin and Debbie to help achieve our goals.”
With three young sons, Kieran 6, Bayden, 4 and Reid 12 months old, Jenna is kept busy looking after the boys, doing the school and pre-school runs and school sport.
Adam says that while Jenna is not in the shed putting on the cups, she plays a significant farm role with HR and Health & Safety work and the booking keeping.
“Jenna does the calves at calving time and she’s my ‘go-to’ person when I need help – and you know – come home on a cold wintery night and the fire has been going for a couple of hours and the tea is on the stove.”
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