A2/A2 cows ‘the way forward for Jersey industry’

A2/A2 cows ‘the way forward for Jersey industry’
Michele Horn with Allandale Celeb Illusion

Feilding dairy farmers Kathy and Peter Horn have a new focus on promoting A2/A2 Jersey genetics. “Our cows have low PW and BW so they have to be good producers. We also believe A2/A2 is the way forward for the Jersey industry,” says Peter.
It’s an obvious bone of contention for the couple that they believe that the current Breeding Worth system does not recognise North American genetics in the same way it does LIC breeds despite the fact his cows are high producing.
Their herd has a BW of -68 and a PW of -38 yet is producing the best it ever has, says Peter.
“We’re producing 2120 kilograms of milk solids per hectare and our two year olds are averaging 4400 litres. Production is what we get paid for, not BW,” he says with obvious frustration.
Their stud, Kuku Jersey Stud, was founded in 1914 by Peter’s great grandfather Robert Letham Horn. It now comprises 190 cows that are bred primarily for A2/A2.
It is by using North American genetics that he has achieved such high producing animals but the downside is these genetics are not recognised by the BW system, says Peter.
Peter and Kathy have a milking platform of 47ha with the farm 80ha total including a block for young
stock across the road.
Son Letham is the farm manager and this season the farm will milk four cows to the hectare and will focus on increasing production further per cow with 500-600 kilograms of milk solids per cow being the target this season.
This is a considerable leap from the 440 kilograms they achieved last season but they believe the fact they have de-stocked to current levels from milking 250 cows last season it is achievable.
They used to sell A2 milk direct from the farm gate but tightening regulations made this unfeasible. They supply to Open Country Dairy and are closely watching developments in the A2 milk market.
They are looking at the possibility of building a herd home and milking year round. Peter thinks this will help them make the most of their empties and late calvers.
They are subdividing some of their land to reduce debt and hope this will also fund a herd home. It is a source of pride that their stud has consistently done well at the NZ Dairy Event.

A2/A2 cows ‘the way forward for Jersey industry’
Kuku T-Bone Princess, the reserve intermediate in milk jersey female champion, NZ Dairy event

 
This year the stud took out the Reserve Intermediate Jersey Champion title with Kuku T-Bone Princess. This cow also won the Jersey NZ three year old photo competition.
Another of their cows Allandale Celeb Illusion took out the Reserve Senior Female Jersey Champion and Reserve North Island Jersey Champion titles.
Kuku T-Bone Night Owl won the three year old in the paddock photo competition. Over half their herd this year will be T-Bone paternal sisters. Daughters Michele and Letitia are also keen breeders.
Michele has her own Friesian stud and got honourable mention with her four year old Friesian at the 2018 NZ Dairy Event and Reserve Champion overall for the on-farm Friesian competition.
Letitia has her own Ayrshire stud and won the Ayrshire Junior Female Champion title with her in-calf heifer at the 2018 NZ Dairy Event.
“They both have a good eye for picking a good dairy cow,” says Peter with pride.
The family will have an on farm sale putting its in-calf heifers up for sale in April/May next year in an American style auction. Peter says this will involve putting two animals up at a time and winning bidders can select which one they prefer.
This will give people the chance to get their hands on the best genetics he has to offer. It’s just another way to promote and encourage people to try the A2/A2 genetics.
They have also just sold 80 cows and 20 in-calf heifers to young farmer Lyndon Muggeridge who has started a sharemilking contract with the Revel family who own Beledene Jersey Stud helping to ensure A2/A2 genetics are taking the next generation of farmers and the Jersey industry ahead into the future.
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