Doing the right things right the key for manager

Doing the right things right the key for manager
Landcorp’s Ruapehu Dairy Unit manager Paul Simpson with partner Julie Richardson

Getting the basic’s right was high on the agenda for Paul Simpson – Landcorp’s new manager at the Ruapehu Dairy Unit. Appointed on the 1st of June 2017, Paul was charged with lifting the in-calf rate from 61% and reducing the farms empty rate, hovering around 12%. Paul says fertility largely came down to feeding and body condition.
He says it’s not just a matter of feeding out silage, but making sure the right feed, the right supplements, are being fed in the right quantities – doing the right things right.
Immediate priority was given to identifying those cows with low body condition and ensuring they were brought up to the optimum levels. Powers of observation also came into play –looking out for bulling cows and diligence with tail paint – the basics.
Paul’s focus and attention to detail worked, raising the in-calf rate to 71% and reducing the empty rate to just under 11% – a significant effort that has paid off.
Hailing from the green pastures of Yorkshire, Paul has had a passion for farm life and animals since his childhood days working weekends and holidays on the neighbour’s farm.
With a life long thirst for knowledge and betterment, he peppered his working life on farms with farming certificates, diplomas and the equivalent of agricultural degrees.
Following several working holidays in the antipodes, Paul finally took the plunge, settling in New Zealand permanently in 2014 with his British Airways cabin crew partner. After three seasons working on a private dairyfarm in Te Awamutu, Paul accepted the manager’s role at Landcorp.
Part of Landcorp’s Moutoa Complex, running along side the Manawatu River, Ruapehu Dairy Unit lies between Levin and Foxton township. “It’s all river silt land,” says Paul.
“It’s water retentive so it’s good in the summer time, holding the moisture – but the trouble is it holds the moisture in the winter as well. It gets like peaty river silt. We do suffer from pugging. We did get summer dry this season – because it did become so dry.”
Paul says that the dry is like a green drought – it stays green, but there is no real feed. A seasonal, twice a day operation, 880 Friesian cross cows are milked through a 60-bale rotary shed with two in the shed each session.
A Tru-Test Milkhub measures milk yield in litres, detects mastitis and provides pregnancy status. The adverse weather has impacted on this season’s production.
Paul had budgeted on 390,000kgMs at the start of the season but that figure has been revised down to 330,000kgMS. “That is purely the result of weather conditions. The prolonged wet spring followed by the rapid drying of the soil.
Also I lost 30 hectares of spillway for six weeks when it got fl ooded in July.” A 350-cow feedpad with flood wash, helps during the wet springs and winter months.
A further 360 cows are wintered off on a grazier’s land for six weeks while the young stock are looked after on one of Landcorp’s drystock farms.
Paul says that his current focus is on sub-clinical mastitis resulting from the cows becoming stressed from climatic conditions.
He and his staff are very diligent at picking up the clinical cases. Reflecting on the season ahead, Paul believes there is potential on the farm that has yet to be tapped into. “Not taking your foot off the gas as things calm down – you have to keep on top of things.”
This article was brought to you in association with the following businesses…

Related Posts