Robyn and Craig Moir and their two daughters, Karleigh (11) and Bryanna (8), lead a busy life farming 20 km inland from Patea in Hurleyville, South Taranaki.
While Robyn focuses on her passion for dairying on the 53 hectare effective farm, Craig raises beef dry stock on additional land of 65 hectare the couple own, as well as a 15ha run-off in Patea that completes the land-store.
“It’s our 11th season on this farm. We’re into our third season leasing it and before that we had five years 50:50 and three years lower order and we’ve just signed up for another three years,” Robyn says.
She admits to having a strong passion for dairying, loving everything about working with her herd of 165 Friesian cross.
“We have a top quality herd, scoring 95 BW and 142 PW and its something I pride myself on, doing all the herd testing. I mate my bottom 20% to beef and that’s how the herd standard is so high now.
“Empty rate is fairly consistant at 6 – 9% so we buy in 20-25 young empties to run in the gullies and clean up the roadside and any other areas and then resell as incalf for the next season. These cows have also been milked through winter for calf milk.”
First time calvers are given a Rummensin bullet and put on OAD mid January and dried off mid March to help with very little wastage of 2-4 year old cow.
Alongside the dairy herd the couple run 140 beef weiners and the Moirs acknowledge the assistance of livestock agent, Brent Espin.
When NZ Dairy spoke with Robyn the dry-stock also included 80 rising two-year-olds. Robyn says the aim is to keep their farming practice as simple as possible.
PK feed is supplied over summer and autumn , alongside Procow 30, a PK/Molassis mix in early spring through to first three weeks of mating.
It’s the second season that Lucerne has been grown over 2.5 hectares. Robyn says by cutting the crop every 30 to 35 days they will have fed over 100 bales from the one paddock by the end of the season.
This season’s milk solid’s goal of 70,000 kg is unlikely to be achieved given the weather’s impact on pasture production. Robyn says milk production is tracking 7000-8000kgsMS below last season’s figure. Milk is produced through an 18 aside Waikato herringbone plant.
“We had to bring up a lot of our silage from the Patea run-off, double what we would normally need to use and use a lot of extra PKE in order to maintain good cow condition this season” says Robyn.
While the farm experienced very good rain early January Robyn acknowledges she was concerned about what would follow in terms of rainfall.
The day to day running of the dairy farm is Robyn’s responsibility for the most part. Craig drives part-time off farm for a local livestock carrier.
To add to the diverse farming operation the couple also rear 50 to 60 autumn calves as well as approximately 300 spring calves of which about half are sold at 100kgs.
Over winter 50 beefies are fed entirely on medium kale, while turnips which were traditionally grown for the dairy herd have been replaced with forage rape for summer and winter crops.
As for future plans Robyn says given the right situation they would be open to the idea of selling their land and cows to buy a dry stock unit..
“I would find it tough to see the dairy herd sold though because I know them all so well.
We have employed staff in the past but decided it’s better just to work the farm ourselves.” She is also philosophical about the ups and downs that go with farming.
“You can’t do anything about the weather – just keep going and do the best you can. We encourage and help each other but one of the hardest things is knowing that everyone is in the same boat but some people are worse off than we are.”
This article was brought to you in association with the following businesses…
- Hurley Bull Hire & Sales
- Chris Perrett Electrical Solutions LTD
- Farm Source