Couple ready to roll on back of rising prices

Couple ready to roll on back of rising
Drainage work under way on the Dannevirke farm of Daniel and Rochelle Cammock.

Dannevirke dairy farmers Daniel and Rochelle Cammock are coming towards the end of a challenging season and looking forward to the next with lots of changes happening on farm and a renewed confidence with reasonable looking milk prices.
Daniel has milked on his family farm at Oringi from a young age, but left his carpentry career in 2000 to return home in a full time capacity. By 2006 the couple had bought out Daniel’s family’s shares, increased the farm to 200ha and the herd to 460 cows.
In 2011, Daniel split his herd with a 360 cow mob milking twice a day while the remainder, heifers, young cows, and any cows struggling with calving, milked once a day.
The following season the couple was approached by wagyu producer First Light and started rearing wagyu calves, which are either sold as four day olds or reared until weaning at 90kgs.
The first season the Cammocks reared 25 wagyu calves, and this number has now increased to more than 100.
“The wagyu calves work in with our calf rearing so it’s not a lot of extra work,” Daniel says.
“It seems to have taken off a lot last season, LIC has been pushing it a bit and there are now quite a few wagyu rearers up and down the country. It works really well with New Zealand’s grass based system.”
Also this season, Daniel and Rochelle have grown their farm with the purchase of a 37ha sheep and beef property across the road from home. “We’ve been in a development phase since, because this land was high priced but very run down,” Daniel says.
“We’ve been tidying it up, refencing, rewatering, regrassing, and installing 1.5kms of drainage. We’ll bring it into the milking platform for August 1.”
The new block will centralise the cow shed to help the farm’s lay out and flow, and will mean Daniel and Rochelle can stop milking once a day cows from part of their run off block which is a bit further for the cows to walk.
The couple will also increase cow numbers to 500, and will keep all cows milking twice a day until later in the season.
“We’ll still run a split herd but we’ll milk twice a day until December 20, then potentially put 200 cows on once a day. The reason behind that is the logistics. Afternoon milkings can drag out in the summer heat, and once a day also allows us to catch to the last of the mating cycles and maintain a lower empty rate.”
A new Protrack system in the shed for next season will help the Cammocks to effectively manage their larger herd.

Couple ready to roll on back of rising
Cows grazing on the new block and a wagyu calf

The couple are employing a farm manager for next season as well as the 2IC they have been running, and a full time relief milker, to allow Daniel to step back from the day-to-day operations he has been doing for nearly 20 years.
He says this season has been a challenge, but he is looking forward to the next.
“The dairy industry is looking good so there are exciting times ahead, especially if your farm is set up for it,” he says.
“The milk price is looking good and that instills confidence in what you are doing, confidence within the dairy industry, and strengthens your position within your own business. It wasn’t all that long ago things were pretty bad. It’s not fun having to pay to go to work!”
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