Production BVs tell real Ayshire story

Production BVs tell real Ayshire story
Glenmore Farm’s Donald, Tim, Anne, Chris (holding Maggie) and Emma Green

President of Ayrshire New Zealand, Donald Green, encourages farmers to look beyond the BW figures and to instead look to production BVs when it comes to Ayrshires.
“They have as good protein, fat and milk as any other breed. Our leading bulls at LIC are right up there,” he says.
Donald and wife Anne own Glenmore Farm at Brookside, eight kilometres east of Dunsandel.
It’s the farm Donald grew up on and was originally 50ha. It was in 1982 that he and Anne purchased the farm and now farm three dairy units side by side totalling 550ha total/535ha effective.
They milk around 1700 cows – two thirds Ayrshires and the rest a mix of crossbreds, Friesians and Friesian cross. The farm is supported by a 140ha lease block located eight kilometres away.
Their farm is a real family business as they farm in partnership with their two sons Chris and Tim. Chris manages their 850 cow unit, which has a new 60 bail rotary shed and his wife Emma helps with calf rearing.
The other two units run the remainder of the herd through a 40 aside herringbone and a 38 aside herringbone shed.
Tim manages the support block and both he and Donald oversee these farms with the assistance of farm managers and supporting staff.
“One of the best decisions in my life was getting married. The next best one was engaging a top farm accountant, the late Richard Preston, who guided us through the process of purchasing the farms and helping with succession planning,” says Donald.
They are seeking higher production with profitability being the main driver. “We like to strengthen our balance sheet as this allows us to develop and make additional purchases,” he says.
Their system is largely self-contained. Chris has strong financial skills and Tim is a qualified builder.
The support block is used for winter grazing and they grow fodder beet and kale for winter feed, as well as running young stock. Keeping up with technology is also a focus for the next generation.
The family uses LIC Satellite Pasture and Cover Evaluation (SPACE), which sends to the farm detailed pasture data from images taken by satellites along with soil probes to assist with irrigation requirements.
This is combined with good farming knowledge. “The cows will always tell you if they’re getting enough feed and it will show in the silo,” says Donald.
The cows produce around 450 kilograms of milk solids each or 750,000 kilograms over the whole operation. They aim to run the business using the KISS principle – Keep It Simple Stupid.
“Keep things as simple as possible and do them well,” says Donald citing this as advice from their accountant. Donald is also busy off farm with his roles as a certified TOP inspector, BCS accredited and Ayrshire New Zealand senior breed judge.
“I personally like the Ayrshire breed. It’s a good moderate sized cow that suits the heavy soils here. They have good functional traits for modern dairy farming. Ayrshires are renown for calving easily, have good feet and legs, serviceable udders and good constitution.”
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