NZ Dairy Autumn 2022

| 23 nzdairy Daniel and Amanda Schat. Some of the pedigree Holstein Friesian’s at milking time (below). DAIRY PEOPLE » Daniel Schat Herd, farm improvements a focus Kim Newth Now into their fourth season of farm ownership near Darfield, supplying A2 milk to Synlait, Daniel and Amanda Schat are making excellent progress with their A2/A2 herd. Since securing the A2 contract at Emerald Acres farm, the couple have been developing their herd with a key goal being to boost milksolids components. As part of that, Jersey cows have recently been introduced into the mainly Holstein-Friesian herd. Jerseys are prized for their efficiency at producing more milk solids per kilo of dry matter than other breeds. “We’ve imported some Jerseys from different farms in the North Island over the past couple of seasons; 10 per cent of the cows are now pedigree Jerseys,” says Daniel. “We currently peak milk around 365 cows altogether.” Before buying their farm, the couple were sharemilkers. Switching to an A2/A2 herd involved DNA testing to identify cows with the A2/A2 gene. (All calves are also DNA tested annually to ensure proof of product supplied). Not all were high performers in the A2/A2 herd they started with. In the first season, the empty (not in calf) rate was 22 per cent, partly due also to the cows shifting and adjusting to a new farm environment. By last season, that rate was back down to 15 per cent. There has been a strong focus on lifting herd standard over time by using selective breeding. Current objectives include producing more topquality heifer calves for the herd using sexed semen and embryo transfer technology, while using beef straws for lower performing cows. “We’re trying to breed so every cow has a calf of value and not many bobby calves are born.” Breeding cows that are both polled and A2/A2 is a breeding priority. They have bred a couple of their own polled A2 Friesians and are using one on farm as a herd sire. “We’re hoping to breed a few more A2 polled Friesians for ourselves.” Producing a bull that will be picked up by a genetics company is always a bonus. “This year we got two away to AI [LIC] and we have another two going this year [CRV] as part of a syndicate we’re involved with. It’s a side of breeding I find fulfilling, trying to have that positive influence on other people’s herds.” As he observes, most farmers are not willing to go to the expense of flushing embryos out of top cows to expedite genetic growth, but there is no doubt that the gains can quickly add up and multiply over time. Dan and Amanda are part of Synlait’s ‘Lead With Pride’ Programme that rewards dairy farmers meeting high standards in animal health and welfare, milk quality, social responsibility, and the environment. Farmers who meet all their objectives are paid an extra 20 cents per kilogram of milk solids. “I’d say we’re hitting 18 cents per kilo of milk solids most of the time, on top of the premium we get for supplying A2 milk (20c/kgMS). Of course, it’s easy to look at the prices we’re achieving without considering the work that goes in and the cost of everything.” Making use of latest technology is encouraged under the programme. Dan and Amanda use the FarmIQ Enterprise Dairy system to keep track of farm data. C-Dax Pasture meters are used to electronically measure grass cover. Flow measures track water use. Soil probes guide decisions on irrigation. Allflex cow collars track rumination patterns and help pinpoint when cows are ready for breeding or are becoming sick. “We also put in automatic calf feeding robotics last winter and that’s been a good investment too.” Alexanders are proud to support Dan & Amanda Schat Give Carl a call to discuss your spreading requirements Fertiliser & Lime Spreading • Two 4x4 Units with Crop Tyres • Precision Farming Proof of Placement • Spreadmark Certified • 28 Years Experience Carl Breading 027 602 0222 | C O N T R A C T I N G Baling & Supplementary Trading Specialist 03 318 0820 | 027 436 9400 | • MEDIUM SQUARES • ROUNDS • 4X3 LARGE SQUARES • TUBE OR INDIVIDUAL WRAPPING • MOWING • RAKING • TEDDING • CARTAGE +64 3 357 4400 Proudly supporting Daniel & Amanda Schat