Colin White - Hawera
Colin’s farming 170 fresians just out of Hawera. He was up to 190, but advice from Ingham’s Dairy Nutrition Specialists on feeding cows fully saw him cut back. He’s been using Ingham meal for 5-6 years and went to them because he wasn’t happy with the service of the previous supplier. He describes Ingham’s as “awesome”, and having Pip Gale, (the Ingham dairy nutritionist) was huge. “We sit down twice a year and the back up service and advice is excellent.”
“Before Ingham’s we were probably doing around early 400kg MS. Last year due to the weather and slow start to the season it wasn’t so good at 550, but the year before we were at 580. The goal is around 600.”
Colin suggests his system is pretty easy. “It’s just feeding them properly. I went to a seminar Pip was talking at and he said that if you’re not utilising and managing your pasture properly, feeding meal will cost you money. I thought, ‘Heck, he’s not just trying to sell meal’.” Now along with better pasture maintenance Colin just pulls a rope and the cows get fed.
“Our young stock are also fed meal to bring them into the herd as good grown stock and enable them to compete against the bigger cows. My goal wasn’t to just increase production, but I’ve always had a vision for how I wanted the cows to look. Production just came with it,” says Colin.
“I’ve always looked after them, I feed them, get them calving tighter and in milk longer. The majority of this is feed related and even when the payout is down I still maintain high energy feed. You have to look at the big picture, because if we muck it up this season we’re buggering it for next season,” says Colin.
Up until a few years ago Colin had dusted with magnesium all his life. Now three weeks out from calving they get TopCow Springer up until they calve. “Last year was absolutely brilliant, we did no dusting at all and I only had four go down but they bounced straight back up. We took a bit of a risk with the low payout but I still wish I’d done it years ago, as it also saved so much time each day.”
“Financially I’m better off with Ingham’s, the days of feeding a friesian cow on just grass are gone with the production they are doing today,” asserts Colin. He also commented on the improved cow condition and other health benefits.
“High energy feed makes a massive difference. Even the accountant was rapt with my books from last year. It was a bloody hard year and if you can come through that season happy, then great,” enthuses Colin. “If I didn’t think there was money in it I wouldn’t do it, because the bills still need to be paid.”