NZ Dairy Spring 2021

62 | nz dairy DAIRY PEOPLE » Peter & Robyn Askey In-shed feed paying off as spring insurance Dianna Malcolm I nstalling an in-shed feeding system two years ago was Peter and Robyn Askey’s spring insurance plan to help protect pasture residuals and cow condition. The couple milk between 280 and 290-head at Edgecumbe, Whakatane, on 90 hectares (with an additional 18ha in run-off country). Last season they produced 112,000kg Milk Solids (MS), in their 24-a-side herringbone dairy, bringing them in right on a 400kg MS average. They rear up to 200 calves a year – with the bulls being sold at 100kg. All the remaining young stock are on the farm until they are o ne-year-old. And, at a 3.2 stocking rate (plus young stock), Robyn and Peter – along with their valued farm manager, Paul Revell, and second-in-charge, James Cotter – work hard to make sure that everything balances out. They have employed AgFirst’s Mark McIntosh as their farm consultant for the last two decades (he’s been with the family for 30 years). He underpins the farm’s feed plan from March until the end of May. He also brings fresh perspective. “We now have such good historical information because of Mark that it’s a great reference season- on-season,” Robyn said. “Our whole plan is designed around grass cover, and we don’t go below an average residual of 2000kgDM/ha. “In addition to the feed plan, Mark takes into ac- count the cow numbers on and off, the young stock on and off, the projected pasture growth rates, sup- plements that we feed to the different mobs and the milkers and the drys, and the total feed numbers we have left on a fortnightly basis.” Last season’s empty rates were 12-13%. They have not used CIDRs for the last two seasons, and they have instead invested in feeding supplements to sustain cow condition at mating. “In those tough seasons I had to cut costs, and the CIDRs went then,” Robyn said. “Maize is good for energy and it puts condition on the cows. We try and feed it right through to the start of mating as well.” Robyn Askey and manager Paul Revell. “We have decided instead of re-introducing them to try and build up the natural fertility in the herd using genetics, in-shed feeding (Buster Feed Systems), and bringing through more young cows. “We feed out a lot of maize and grass silage in the winter and the spring to cope with our higher stocking rate,” Robyn said. “Maize is good for energy and it puts condition on the cows. We try and feed it right through to the start of mating as well. The meal feeder in the cow- shed has also played its part in that conversation.” • to page 63 Budge ti ng and Forecas ti ng Tax Planning Equity Partnerships Company Restructures Succession Planning Financial Accounts GOLD PARTNER FARMit Accountants are proud to partner with Peter and Robyn Askey (07) 307 7245