NZ Dairy Winter 2022

52 | nzdairy DAIRY PEOPLE » Cresslands Holstein Shelters key to maintaining grass production Hugh de Lacy The potential for Cresslands Holstein’s 100ha milking platform of heavy soils to pug up in the North Canterbury winters led to studmaster Graham Stewart’s establishing two covered herd-homes to house his 380 cows during wet periods. One is a plastic-roofed building of 480m2 with grating and a sump underneath to take ef uent away, while the other is a new 1900m2 shed with sleeping bays up the sides. Given North Canterbury’s reputation for sometimes year-round dry spells, such an extensive antipugging capacity might seem redundant, but not on the heavy soils along the Ashley River near Waikuku, north of Rangiora. The region’s extraordinarily wet summer and autumn this year brought the two facilities into a degree of out-of-season usage, but it’s maintaining the paddocks during wet winters and springs that has proved the wisdom of Graham’s strategy over the years. “We only take the cows off the pasture when we have to, but the herd-homes are a key element in maintaining grass production,” Graham says. “We can feed the stock in them then let them out to graze on the paddocks when we can.” As well as the dairy platform, the farm comprises three 80ha blocks, used for young and dry stock grazing and also for growing winter feed maize and grass silage. Graham also feeds his cows wheat year-round which he crushes and feeds dry through the milking shed. With wheat prices expected to sky-rocket this year as a result of shortages brought about by the war in the Ukraine, this year Graham is hoping to grow some of his own wheat rather than buying it all in. “Our goal is self-suf ciency in feed, and to keep it up to the stock because our herd of Holsteins needs it to perform.” And perform it does: the top cow in the Cresslands herd produced 953kg of milk solids last year, and the average is about 650kg per cow, for a total output of around 240,000kg/ms. The entire herd comprises registered stud cows, and while it mostly serves to supply its own replacements, Graham sells some stock off privately every year. Graham uses mostly American and Canadian semen to improve genetics, while an expanding genetic in uence in the herd is from an outstanding cow of some years back called Cresslands RNP Della. “We did a lot of ushing with her and she left us a lot of high-producing daughters, to the degree that a good half of the herd today are of her family. “Unlike a lot of such families, Della’s has been highly consistent in producing quality stock,” Graham says. The farm has been in the Stewart family for over 90 years, and the stud has been operating since the 1950s. Milking is performed all year round with about 280 of the herd producing through winters, and the full 380 through the springs and summers, supplying Fonterra. “I like the hardiness of the Holsteins,” Graham says, “and as a stud breeder I focus on breeding the complete cow that’s as good-looking as it is ef cient.” Heavy soils and pugging pasture led Cressland Holstein’s Graham Stewart to build two covered wintering barns. “We only take the cows off the pasture when we have to, but the herd-homes are a key element in maintaining grass production,” Graham says. Nathan Stewart Tulls Road, Rangiora 7473 | (03) 313 6864 | 027 357 5655 Servicing North Canterbury, Hurunui and surrounds M: 021 730 865 P: 03 4233162 E: • Pump Sales, Service and Installations • General Farm Water Services • New and Existing Dairy Shed Water Reticulation • Sales, Design & Installation of Secondary Irrigation (Solid Set Irrigation) • Lifestyle and Domestic Water Pumping Systems • General Irrigation Needs Manufacturing • Silage feed-out wagons • Multi bale feeders • 2 bale feeders • Vee-Rakes and Line-Rakes Manufacturers of High quality farming equipment “Built Strong, Built to Last” Proudly supporting Cresslands Holsteins Unit 8, 75 Main South Road, Sockburn, Christchurch • 03-348 7800 •