NZ Dairy Summer 2021

| 61 nzdairy RURAL PEOPLE » Richie Martinovich Richie leaning more into crossbred cows Richard Loader Achieving increasingly better results while keeping a lid on costs has been a key focus for Waikato farmer Richie Martinovich, who returned to the family farming business 14 years ago. Sitting just below the Bombay Hills in Mangatangi, the Martinovich’s 250 hectare dairy farm is predominantly flat to rolling with a couple of steeper hills at the back that are still tractor accessible. When Richie returned to the farm in 2007 it was milking 750 cows but over the last three years he has dropped that back to 650. “With the weather change over summer we go dryer and dryer and wetter during the winter so we decided to lean more to crossbred cows, which are a bit lighter and drop the numbers back.” Traditionally a split calving operation, Richie has made the call to switch to autumn calving and didn’t mate in the spring. “It will take 18 months to transition but we decided to go all autumn calving, dry them off, go fishing and have a bit of a holiday for once. Split calving was getting too tough to hold staff with milking every day of the year, mating twice and calving twice. The lifestyle was pretty much just work. Autumn calving works better here because we don’t get very cold, grow a lot of grass over the winter and get a higher premium for the milk. All the neighbours are sole autumn calving round here.” Growing up in a dairy farming family Richie spent eight years working on his father’s farms in Te Aroha and Waiuku from the age of 14, before making the decision to take a break from the land. Initially getting into the courier business Richie ended up with three truck and trailer units and employing a team of drivers. After 18 years in the general freight industry Richie decided the time was right to bring his own family back to the Mangatangi property bought a few years earlier by his father. “At the time dad had a contract milker on the farm and I came back as 2IC. It was hard for a while getting used to a much larger herd, we’d previously had a 20-aside herringbone and this farm had a 50 aside. We had maize and we never had maize before. There were big changes.” When the contract milker left in June 2010 Richie took over and continues to run the farm on a day-to-day basis, with his 82 year old dad keenly involved in the tractor and digger work. Waikato farmer Richie Martinovich (above), Konnor and Ash Rees and Nathan Melgers (below). “Every season we’re getting better and better. We’re breeding better cows, getting better production and better feed with the soil scientist and nutritionist working with us. We’re trying to go back to a lot more grass feeding and we grow our own maize and silage. We’re getting to the stage where we can grow everything ourselves and not buy in any feed. Hopefully this will be the last season we use palm kernel and pretty much feed maize, grass silage and veges.” The Martinovich’s recently switched to CRV Ambreed and say they are growing better calves and heifers. They have also bought in 50 new cows to further enhance the genetics in their herd. “We’re upping production every year. We’re just over 400kgMS a cow and this year we’re targeting 450kgMS.” 868 Coalfields Road, Maramarua • Phone 09 232 5834 Certified Weighbridge WE HALE LTD BULK HAUL AGE L IME & FERT I L I SER SPEC I AL I STS Ethan Parker 027 312 3985 SERVICES INCLUDING: Hedge Cutting • Roadside Mowing • Full Ground Cultivation • Effluent Spreading Fertiliser & Manure Spreading • Spraying Under Sowing • Power Harrow Seeding Direct Drilling • Maize and Grass Silage 0800 888 055 As accountants, we understand the importance of compliance for our clients. But our genuine passion is finding innovative ways for them to do better business. So let’s talk. Proud to support Richie Martinovich