NZ Dairy Winter 2022

| 35 nzdairy DAIRY PEOPLE » Craig & Tania Rowe The Rowe family on their Tikorangi farm. Craig (below) with one of the herd. Production worth (PW) a leading marker Richard Loader Cow ef ciency measured by production worth (PW) is high on the list of Taranaki farmer Craig Rowe’s priorities. His Tikorangi farm’s 426 cows currently average 481 kilograms of milk solids each which equates to a respectable 93% of their bodyweight but “we still have a bit to go on that” Craig says. He has been weighing the Friesian/Friesian Jersey cross cows each January for the past three seasons and this information has led him to review how their PW is measured. “Some of the biggest cows in the herd were doing some big production, but actually weren’t that ef cient because their bodyweight was a lot more than their production was.” In addition to the PW focus, Craig is aiming to breed towards an F12 cross, twelve generations from the foundation cow. “If you go through all the data on the production of cows and the ef ciency of cows, the most ef - cient cow in New Zealand is around an F12. It’s one of the most important things on the whole farm. “I’ve been selecting for traits for 20 years. I’m very selective of fertility and I’m also aware of trying to increase the genetic gain in my herd. Genetic gain is quite important, I don’t think farmers actually put enough emphasis on it actually.” “We all want cows that can produce milk from a given amount of feed really ef ciently. I guess that’s why I’m trying to get back to an F12 because they are more ef cient at turning grass into milk and also maintaining their body condition score (BCS).” The less maintenance a cow requires to maintain a cow’s BCS means more of its feed goes to milk and fertility and its overall wellbeing, Craig says. He aims to breed Jersey traits up and Friesian traits down and looks for stature, capacity, milk production/solids and fertility. “Genetics is really important to me, I really enjoy the genetic side of cows.” The herd milks off a 148 hectare effective platform which is supported by a 40ha run-off used for calves, young stock and wintering along with growing maize and silage. Although Tikorangi’s volcanic soils provide great grass growing, the past season has been the toughest Craig has experienced. A challenging spring meant the production of supplementary feed was limited, followed by a very dry, early summer, while dry conditions in autumn did not produce the usual ush of growth. Six years ago Craig trialled a paddock of chicory and the success of it means he has continued to grow it every season since, with 15 hectares now planted. This season he trialled a paddock of kale and is equally pleased. Like other farmers, one thing that has not pleased him is the ever increasing regulatory and compliance burden. “It’s almost at the point where you’re not getting enough time to be able to keep up with all these regulations.” “I genuinely think farmers care about their land and their animals constantly and I don’t think people realise that we are actually trying do things better all the time.” “Some of the biggest cows in the herd were doing some big production, but actually weren’t that ef cient because their bodyweight was a lot more than their production was.” Proud to be a supplier to Craig & Tania Rowe Cnr of Egmont & Oropuriri Rds New Plymouth | Ph: 06 755 2510 Email: | Website: We provide daily deliveries & cut to length Mild steel, Aluminium & Stainless Steel • Mild steel • Aluminium • Stainless Steel • Valves • Fencing products • Reinforcing • Dairy Fittings • Fastenings Suppliers of