New rotary shed part of growing dairy business

New rotary shed part of growing dairy business
The new 54 bale rotary dairy shed at Corkwood Farm, Marlborough, owned by the Sorensen family.

A new 54 bail rotary dairy shed is being built on Corkwood farm at Long Valley owned by Lone Sorensen.
Son Fred, who is a lower order sharemilker on the unit, says the new shed, along with bringing run off land into the dairy platform, will allow them to increase cow numbers from 470 to 600.
The family, who originally hail from Denmark, moved to New Zealand in 1992.
Fred grew up on the family’s first farm on the West Coast, before moving to Long Valley in Marlborough in 1995. They started milking a herd of 120 and adjoining land acquisitions allowed them to grow their business.
Today they run a sizable business including Corkwood, which totals 550ha with a 170ha milking platform. Of the total 250ha is hill block where they run 150 Angus beef cattle.
A further 25ha is irrigated and used for growing silage. Fred says a bridge will be built to access the 25ha the family is bringing into the dairy platform.
The new shed will mean minimal staff input at milking as it has automatic cup removers and automatic drafting as well as an in-shed feeding system.
As they currently feed supplement in troughs on their laneways or in the paddocks, Fred hopes that the new system will make more efficient use of their feed.
The farm is supported by a 650ha run off block where cows are wintered. They also run 1150 ewes and 400 replacement lambs and 40 beef heifers here and cut silage.
The family also owns a 170ha total/110ha effective dairy farm at Kenningtons Road, about 10 kilometres from Corkwood. They milk a herd of 340 Jerseys through a 34 aside herringbone shed with automatic cup removers.
This farm employs a herd manager and second in charge with Lone overseeing the operation. She also takes charge of feed budgeting, planning, moves the K-line irrigation system and looks after the replacement calves for both farms after they are weaned.
Family roles in the business have changed since Fred’s father Tony passed away in October.
Fred takes care of the financials for the overall business along with his mother. They are targeting improvements in the sheep and beef side of their operation aiming to increase stock numbers and improve genetics.
“We want fertile sheep that can survive well on the medium to steep hills,” he says.
Last season Corkwood achieved 192,000 kilograms of milk solids and Kenningtons Road 144,000 kilograms. Targets are similar for this season due to summer dry.
Corkwood has 70ha under gun irrigation and Kenningtons Road 15ha of K-line.
But the family is well prepared for the conditions – they grow enough turnips to feed cows three kilograms per day for 90 days and sufficient maize to feed cows five kilograms per day for two months. They also always have a good supply of silage on hand.
At the end of this season Fred’s company will merge with Lone’s company to create an equity partnership. Fred plans to eventually buy his mother out and take over the business.
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