PRODUCTION

 

When Graeme & I returned to dairying in 1994, we sourced Holstein cows to accompany the handful of Jerseys that we had "parked" at our older brother's, Peter, farm.  This was purely for the fact that you could source some very productive holsteins cheaply driven by the fact that the Holstein cow makes up at least 80% of Australia's cow population.  I think back then we purchased 100 holstein cows from all over the place for an average of $720.  These cows provided the basis of the herd as it stands today.  We try to maintain the herd at 50% Holstein & 50% Jersey thereby maximising the milk payment structures as well as keep purebred cows.  We are mixing the milk in the vat not crossbreeding the cow! The cows have always walked as one herd, & they continue to do that today.  However, when it came to determining how much each breed was producing, it would take hours of number crunching.  So 1999, we began separating the herd test samples so that Holsteins would be compared to Holsteins & Jersey Vs Jersey.  So we effectively herd test as 2 separate herds despite the herd being milked all as 1 herd.  By doing this we are now able to look at such factors as Feed Conversion Efficiency without any guess work.  

Another relevant point to note is in May of 2006 we constructed a new dairy.  A 16 aside double-up Rapid Exit Larsen Dairy with Automatic Cup Removers & individual feeding.  The 1st full production year showed an increase of 15% production, but our grain usage did not increase.  We feed an average of approximately 2 tonne per cow per year.  The old dairy used blanket feeding, but with the new dairy, the cows are fed for production in that we drive the cows to peak very high & the cows that are able to do that are rewarded with increased grain & the stale cows are wound back.  In effect, you are utilising your grain better by feeding the cows that are "working for you" to pay the bills.

Since the drought started in 2002, we have had limited amount of water available to irrigation pastures.  In October 2007, we dried off all pastures & went to a TMR system.  The last 2 years, however, we have returned to growing some small amounts of pasture through the summer months.  By growing the 32 ha of perrenial pasture over summer, we have found it to be cost effective & cow health as improved, particularly environmental mastitis.  So currently we have 240 cows being milked, with another 20 calving now (Jan 2010) grazing 32ha of perrenial pasture & then supplemented in the bale as well as 1 partial mix ration per day.  We will start up Annual pastures from 1st March & will stop using the mixer wagon as soon as possible, usually late June early July.  Cow numbers will continue to rise to approximately 290 by Autumn 2010 & then we have another 65 heifers to enter the herd in Spring 2010.  Depending on what rainfall we receive, we then have the option to expand again or to sell off a line of cows.

 

Kaarmona Jerseys

Year AJBS/JA Award Cow #'s Days Milk %F KgF %P KgP KgMS
1996 60 243
1997 51 4675 5.01 233 3.6 169 402
1998 67 4956 4.9% 241 3.7% 181 422
1999 78 289 4915 4.9 243 3.8 188 431
2000 Gold 86 298 5495 5.0% 274 3.8% 208 482
2001 Gold 105 295 5597 5.0% 282 3.8% 212 494
2002 Gold 115 299 6172 4.9% 302 3.9% 240 542
2003 Gold 116 297 6196 4.7% 293 3.8% 234 527
2004 Gold 130 296 6097 4.8% 291 3.8% 234 525
2005 Gold 126 293 6083 4.8% 290 3.7% 226 516
2006 Gold Award 124 6097 5.1% 311 3.6% 221 532
2007 Platinum 99 6500 4.6% 302 3.8% 247 549
2008 Platinum 133 289 6969 5.0% 349 3.8% 266 615
2009 171 6908 5.1 354 3.8 262 616
* full details to come

 

Kaarmona Holsteins

Year Cow #'s Days Milk %F KgF %P KgP KgMS
0
0
1998 90 6991 275 226 501
0
2000 89 296 7640 4.1 313 3.3 254 567
2001 110 298 7596 4 305 3.3 251 556
2002 93 299 8207 4 325 3.4 277 602
2003 70 289 7881 4 315 3.3 261 576
2004 85 298 7989 3.9 315 3.4 270 585
0
0
0
2008 106 297 9740 3.9 382 3.3 323 705
2009 129 10037 3.9 395 3.3 330 725
* full details to come