Kylee ‘a born and bred ayrshire girl’
Fast-moving technological developments are making breeding exciting for Taranaki ayrshire stud Sentinal.
“With worldwide genomic testing, we can quite confidently know whether a sire is going to be good or not before he can even produce semen,” says Kylee Perrett, who took over Sentinal and bought its 220 pedigree cows from her dad, Ivan Fredrickson, four years ago.
“It’s fantastic to have Dad’s herd that I’ve grown up with and I know like the back of my hand,” she says.
Ivan bought his first ayrshire cow 57 years ago, when he was aged 16.
Like Kylee, he started his farming career on wages for his father, who leased a dairy farm at Lepperton.
He and his wife, Robyn, leased the farm for five years before buying their own farm at Inglewood. Eight years later, in 1981, they bought the 64-hectare farm at Ngaere, which has since expanded to 100ha.
Kylee inherited her father’s love of ayrshires and breeding, feeding calves as soon as she was old enough then joining Ivan on the show circuit.
She is now a New Zealand Ayrshire Association senior judge and establishing herself on the show circuit.
Kylee also inherited a part-time job from her dad as a sales representative for the world’s largest artificial insemination company, Semex. She and her husband, Danny, aim to breed good, functional cows.
Both have know the farm well – Danny worked there for five years and Kylee for seven years before they bought the herd.
The couple say they haven’t come into the business to make big changes, just to maintain and improve it every year. “We’re always driving to make that next generation that much better,” says Kylie.
While she has been “born and bred ayrshires”, they also run 40 holsteins: “Dad had an opportunity to pick up some fairly good holsteins at a reasonable price 10 years ago, and they’ve been increasing their numbers since.”
She says the holsteins are something to play around with, and at similar sizes, the two breeds work in well together.
Kylee’s Semex job means she needs to be able to use what she’s selling: “Holsteins are massive around the world and there are so many exciting things out there to use.”
Her Semex job has her travelling frequently to farms around Taranaki where she gets to experience different systems and farming methods, and bring the best of them back home.
She and Danny farm to keep a work/life balance. They have two young children, six and four.
Sentinel supports the annual Taranaki Ayrshire Club sale and the New Zealand Ayrshire Association’s Elite Sale.
“Dad got Sentinal up to that level many years ago,” Kylee says.
Their production last season from 250 cows was 103,500 kilograms of milksolids, almost reaching the farm’s best of 103,700kg from the 2015-16 season. Their next milestone is 105,000kg.
Ivan has recently refurbished the cowshed, adding new rails and curtain gates to improve cow flow, and installing a new DeLaval milking system.