Farmers: Simon and Janine Hopcroft
Position: Owner - Operators
Location: Gummies Bush
Effective Milking Platform Area: 335ha
Support Area: 5.5ha
Peak Cow Numbers 2012/13: 1038
Peak Cow Numbers 2013/14: 1025
Farm System (1-5): 3
Supplement Types: barley, molasses, silage
Production History 2012/13: 482,000 kgMS, 464 kgMS/cow, 1440 kgMS/ha
Production History 2013/14 (target): 485,000 kgMS, 470 kgMS/cow, 1450 kgMS/ha
Simon and Janine are the monitor farmers for Western Southland. Originally sheep farming for 10 years, their farm was converted to dairy in 2008 - the original part of the farm has been in Simon’s family for 150 years.
The operation runs with 3 fulltime staff, the heifers are grazed off from weaning and come back as R2’s, and the cows are wintered off at a grazier’s. Simon states that the key factor to making this system work is having a stocking rate that applies pressure to help maintain quality but needs pasture measurement.
Simon is in charge of the pasture monitoring, and uses a C-Dax rapid pasture meter. He first started monitoring to gain information on growth rates, and to identify poor performing paddocks. Now after the information is gathered, a feed wedge is produced and put up in the dairy shed. The round lengths are set up on actual and predicted growth rates. It also allows any surpluses (or predicted surpluses) to be locked up and taken out, and any deficits to be filled.
Simon lists his hobbies as coaching rugby, playing squash, and spending time with family. When Simon and Janine are able to get away, their preferred holiday destination is somewhere with a beach.