NZ Dairy Spring 2021

| 25 nz dairy DAIRY PEOPLE » Cresslands Holstein Freisian: Gordon Stewart C resslands Holstein Freisian Stud was founded by North Canterbury farmer Gordon Stewart back in the early ‘50s, and like father like son, Graham Stewart has inherited the passion for both the breed and the stud. As a kid Graham used to follow his father around the farm, learning everything he now knows about cows. “It was his passion for cows and teaching me about cows really got me interested as a kid. He had the first herd in New Zealand over 100 cows to do 500lb of fat, which way back then was quite an achievement.” Milking seven days a week, 365 days a year with a winter contract, Graham says he wouldn’t do it for any other breed and he’s very interested in the quality of cows in his herd. “I like cows that look good and by that I mean cows that are functionally correct. All their body parts are put together right, a cow that provides lots of lactations producing lots of kilos, trouble free over a very long lifetime, and therefore more efficient.” Graham says while that is the ideal for all breed- ers, it is not always easy to achieve. “It costs a lot of money to rear a cow to one to two years and if she only lasts a year you still have all those fixed rearing costs and haven’t made the profit out of her. The longer you can keep her the greater the chances of making a profit from her. Another benefit for breeding cows that last longer in the herd is that it reduces the need for replacement young stock, creating a valuable income stream for more excess stock.” All heifer calves are reared on farm with surplus heifers sold to local dairy farmers with a few of the top heifers sold to other studs. A number of heifers have also been exported. With the trend moving more to fewer but higher producing cows in response to environmental considerations the Stewarts are hoping there will be a push in their direction. Graham has been full time on the Waikuku farm for over 40 years, initially working alongside his father, then eventually taking over the farm in partnership with his wife Nicky. The farm has been in the family for almost 100 years from the time when Graham’s grandparents moved on to it. “In those early days they had a small dairy farm just milking grade cows. Richard Loader Granny used to milk them by hand while grand- dad did some outside work with thrashing mills to make some money, because it would have been around the time of the depression.” These days the dairy platform is 110 hectares of flat land, with run-off blocks nearby in Sefton, Loburn, and Tuahiwi that are used for growing feed for the dairy platform, running young stock, wintering and a few of the bull calves for steers. All up the farm encompasses about 364 hectares. From the herd of 400 registered cows the Stewarts peak milk about 380 in the spring and summer, dropping down to 250 in the winter. “We calve the bulk through the spring and quite a lot through March, April and May for our winter milk. We get paid a premium for a winter contract with Fonterra, so there’s no point producing much more than your winter contract because it costs you quite a bit of money to pro- duce milk in the winter. If you’re only producing surplus milk, it’s more cost effective to do it with fewer cows.” The Waikuku farmland also gets quite wet and to protect the pastures and provide comfort to the cows, the Stewarts have built two cow barns, which also limit the number of cows that can be milked over winter. Graham has recently been elected Vice Presi- dent of Holstein Friesian New Zealand and says as well as supporting the President he is looking forward to promoting the value of the breed and the association. “It’s something I’m passionate about.” Longevity, quality, key attributes for breeder Manufacturing • Silage feed-out wagons • Multi bale feeders • 2 bale feeders • Vee-Rakes and Line-Rakes Manufacturers of High quality farming equipment “Built Strong, Built to Last” Proudly supporting Cresslands Farms Ltd 48B Lunns Road, Middleton, CHCH • 03-348 7800 • tae NZ Owned & Operated. Est 1988 Hayden McCarthy – 0274 730 802 Mick Withers – 0274 730 817 Richard Leech – 0276 918 442 Rural Livestock are proud to have an associa � on with Cresslands Farm. Nathan Stewart Tulls Road, Rangiora 7473 | (03) 313 6864 | 027 357 5655 Servicing North Canterbury, Hurunui and surrounds M: 021 730 865 P: 03 4233162 E: • Pump Sales, Service and Installations • General Farm Water Services • New and Existing Dairy Shed Water Reticulation • Sales, Design & Installation of Secondary Irrigation (Solid Set Irrigation) • Lifestyle and Domestic Water Pumping Systems • General Irrigation Needs Photos: The Waikuku dairy platform is 110 hectares of flat land, with run-off blocks nearby in Sefton, Loburn, and Tuahiwi. All up the farm encompasses about 364 hectares and includes two cow barns.