NZ Dairy Summer 2021

| 17 nzdairy DAIRY PEOPLE » Canlac Holdings: Tony Coltman & Dana Carver Teamwork: Francisco, Emil, Darren (Scooter), Jose, Mark and Tony Coltman. Tony and Dana (below). Science key to good environmental outcomes Sue Russell Tony Coltman and Dana Carver operate three dairy farms near Dunsandel, in the Selwyn District, about 40km south of Christchurch. They are in an equity partnership with Richard and Chrissie Wright. The herd comprises 3,300 cows and has been at this size these past three seasons. Over time there’s been a swing in breeding more cross-bred cows into the herd. “We’ve used quite a bit of Jersey semen to get away from the big black and white cows we had. Our aim has been to improve fertility and having the Jersey in the mix helps achieve this,” says Tony. Running an enterprise of the size of their farming business requires a large number of staff and when NZ Dairy spoke with Tony that number amounted to 16. Throughout the ordeals of COVID, Tony says they have come through relatively unscathed. By creating and implementing COVID protocols daily life on the farms continued well. “As an essential industry, work on the farms has carried on as usual. There have been some delays with delivery of products and certainly increases in prices that I link to COVID, but generally our jobs and works have continued as usual.” Two of the three farms have employed farm managers responsible for the day to day, while on the third farm an equity manager oversees operations. Tony’s key responsibilities are compliance and the financial administration processes, while Dana, who works full time off the farm, takes care of HR. The total effective milking platform is 803 ha and production amounts to 1.6million kg/ms. Asked where he is putting in efforts to improve the business and farming systems Tony says a key goal is becoming more efficient in reducing the farms’ carbon footprint, green-house gases and nutrient loadings. As part of this drive the farms have been part of the Meeting a Sustainable Future DairyNZ levy funded initiative, designed to support farmers in the Selwyn and Hinds catchments to meet their environmental obligations while improving profit through developing better farm systems. The initiative brings together a group of farmers and their advisors to share on-farm situations and experiences for the greater good. Tony was involved also in a Forages for Reduced Nitrate leaching research project and was able to adapt his pasture system to improve productivity while substantially reducing nitrogen leaching. “It was particularly well organised and the model was great around farmers influencing the researchers involved; a more collaborative approach.” Tony also feels that incremental improvements with respect to reducing environmental negatives will only be achieved long-term with the assistance of science. “We need to see some breakthrough’s like breeding a lower nitrate cow with better in-calf rates so we don’t have to carry so many replacement heifers. With new feeding systems.” Tony says not having access to immigrant workers is causing the farming sector generally concern. Traditionally South Island farms have been a destination for many overseas workers, who, he says, have a strong work ethic and enjoy the farming life. He also recognises that he and Dana are in a good situation, with a farming business larger than the average for the district. “I don’t see us moving to another farm from here. We’ve got the farm in a good situation, producing well and giving us a good return. This is a great area to be farming in. Even the impact of COVID has been minimal and my only concern is if and when the virus spreads to the South Island, in terms of working the staff in team bubbles, but that’s something we’ll just work through when it happens.” • Concrete • Fertiliser Spreading - Farm Mapping - GPS Tracking - Variable Rate Spreading • Livestock Cartage • Grain Cartage • Shingle Supplies • Daily Freight Leeston: 03 3248 070 Dunsandel: 03 3254 039 IRRIGATE WITH CONFIDENCE · IRRIGATION SYSTEMS · REMOTE MANAGEMENT · PRECISION VRI Office: 03 324 2949 Rob: 027 279 6447 Email: Website: Southbridge & Hororata BALING, STRAW & SILAGE, CARTAGE, CULTIVATION Servicing the contracting needs of farmers across Central Canterbury. Call us today to discuss your requirements We are proud to supply ATV’s & Motorcycles to Canlac Holdings