NZ Dairy Spring 2021

30 | nz dairy Planning essential when it comes to Richard Loader DAIRY PEOPLE » Denise & Ivan Hopper T he promise of a wet winter each year requires careful planning so the cows remain well fed and in good health while the environmental im- pacts are equally well managed. Southland farmers Denise and Ivan Hopper milk 360 Friesian dairy cows on their 126-hectare/120- hectare effective farm in Woodlands in the catch- ment area the of the Waihopai River between Gore and Invercargill. A flat farm comprised of beautiful free draining silt loam, the property grows good grass and while it gets quite wet over the winter months Denise says that is just to be expected. “You simply plan for it. If we were to have a drought in the summer time that would hit us much harder because you don’t often get it and you don’t plan for it.” Supporting the dairy platform is an 88-hectare and 41-hectare run-off just down the road that are both used for wintering and growing supplement for winter feed. The runoffs also provides supplement for the milking platform to fill feed deficits during the season. When the cows are dried off is dependent upon the weather, but typically if the winter is turning wet some of the lighter cows or early calvers are dried off onto the run-off early in May. Later calvers stay on the run-off till the middle of October and while there might only be a few outlyers at either end of the season the winter-feed budget still needs to take them into consideration. Planning for winter grazing takes place the previ- ous year with the Hoppers sowing winter-feed in November/December each year. “Growing good crops can be a challenge. JJ Morgan, the technical rep from Wrightons helps us out to get a good yield. He sorts the seeds, rec- ommends what we should put in and does weekly inspections for insects and weeds. Every three years you have to turn over those paddocks. “We will crop a paddock for two years and then put that back into grass for three years before going back into crop. We like to use SovGold kale because it has a later seeding stage and if we still need cows to be on crop in September it hasn’t all gone to seed. “In the second year you will have a lot of wild turnip and other weeds in it so we use a Cleancrop kale which enables us to use certain sprays that you can’t use on a normal kale crop.” Winter brings its challenges and from the two run-offs only selected paddocks can be used to winter the cows because only certain paddocks can be put into winter crop. Of the 88 hectares there are15 hectares of Kale and on the 40-hectare run-off there are 13 hectares of fodder beet. Photos: Supporting the dairy platform is an 88-hectare and 41-hectare run-off that are both used for wintering and growing supplement for winter feed. Proud to Support Denise and Ivan Hopper FOR ALL YOUR HERBICIDE, FUNGICIDE & INSECTICIDE SPRAYING LIQUID FERTILISER & PROGIBB SPRAYING TRACMAP GPS GUIDANCE SHEEP DIPPING Office & After Hours 03 2258277 Ph: 0800 HELIOPS or 03 225 8275 BASED IN OTAUTAU SOUTHLAND LIMITED BUCKET - seeding & fertiliser MUSTERING - deer, sheep & cattle SPRAYING - boom & spot FERTILISER - liquid & solid