Shorthorns part of Ian’s DNA

Shorthorns part of Ian’s DNA

Ian Dibble has been a firm proponent of dairy shorthorns his whole life. Some might say it’s in his DNA.
“My grandparents started with dairy shorthorns in Somerset in England in 1889. My father Roland milked shorthorns in New Zealand from 1917,” he says.
Needless to say when Ian took over the family farm with his brother Jim when he was just 20 years old shorthorn dairy cows were part of the deal.
The brothers now own a number of farms in the Waikato and still personally operate their 50ha farm at Elstow near Te Aroha where their shorthorn stud Kaihere Milking Shorthorns is based, which includes 150 pedigree cows.
Ian says they haven’t sent any bobby calves off the farm for 50 years. “We keep our calves as they grow into money as far as we are concerned,” he says.
As soon as the bobby calves are weaned they go to the run off where Jim looks after the dry stock. The steers are killed at 300 kilograms as two year olds and typically grade Prime P2.
The best of the female stock go into the herd or are sold for dairying. Any heifers they are not happy with they fatten up for the local trade. At present they pay well – $6 per kilograms compared with a cull cow that fetches $4.50 per kilogram.
Ian takes care of the dairy farm still personally milking the herd through a 16 aside herringbone shed.
The brothers favour dairy shorthorns as they are an easy care cow that looks after itself, they have correct hooves and knees, have longevity meaning lower replacements costs, are adaptable to weather conditions and are economic milk producers with the added value of producing good red meat.
Each year 20 bulls are kept with the better one kept or sold for breeding and the remainder for beef. The herd has A2 and polled genetics and they DNA test bulls and calves to identify these traits.
They use AI for seven weeks with half the bulls used their own breeding and the other half genetics from New Zealand, Australia, the United Kingdom and the USA.
Kaihere Milking Shorthorns now has about eight cow families on the go in the herd including one from the Primrose family, the herd his father started all those years ago, which is now 20 generations on.
They have been herd testing monthly since 1928. Seven Kaihere Milking Shorthorns bulls have been exported all over the world through LIC and Semex.
On a recent trip to a stud in Australia the owner told Ian that the highest producing cow he’d ever milked was by New Zealand bull Kaihere Profi t – one of Ian’s stud bulls.
“That just goes to show how well New Zealand bred bulls can perform overseas,” he says. “It was very exciting to hear.”
Ian says dairy shorthorns are becoming more popular in New Zealand at present because as herds increase in size the easy care nature of the breed is appealing to farmers.
It also produces well and he is achieving 350-400 kilograms of milk solids per cow as well as lean red meat.
Ian and Jim sell bulls and cows privately and their offering has been particularly popular this year with the mycoplasma bovis outbreak as their stud is a closed system.
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