Marcel and Halei Aarsen – Reporoa
Marcel admits he had a “bloody great” summer. He runs crossbred friesians averaging 475kg. He’s getting 120% liveweight @550kg MS with a condition score of 4.5 cow calved.
He uses TopCow products but doesn’t force feed his cows – he looks for a balance of meal with grass and protein crops through summer.
This is their third year on the farm, the first Marcel grew 5ha turnips then 9ha of chicory in the second.
Ingham’s Dairy Nutrition Specialists customise and do a range of pelletised meal for Marcel – he uses TopCow Springer in the transition and each cow gets 3kg meal in the shed on calving. “They fire straight away,” says Marcel. “Plus we get next to no milk fever.
“For us supplementary feed works. Sure it costs, but we get a payback from it. Those guys using palm kernel blends aren’t getting the same bang for buck I reckon, and I don’t think it’s a lot cheaper,” says Marcel. “You wouldn’t match the production levels, cow condition and empty rates.”
Marcel is firm on the fact that they’ve looked at what works for them and is quick to point out that just because the payout’s down, it doesn’t mean he’s going back to whatever's cheapest.
“For us, cell counts are low, mastitis is almost nil, cows cycle well, cow condition is great and production is high.”