This season they peak milked 228 cows on 88ha. Kathy runs the farm full time; Logan works off farm for DairyNZ and helps out after hours and on weekends. Temporary seasonal staff assist with calf rearing and relief milking.
Last season the pair fed 625 kg DM/cow imported supplement. Some supplement is fed in spring, but only if there is a genuine pasture deficit. Typically they use supplement to extend lactation in autumn and to winter cows but this year have not had to, because they have ample pasture and turnips. All cows are wintered on; young stock are grazed off.
The farm’s biggest challenge is the heavy Marton clay soils, which are wet in winter and dry in summer. Major investment has been made in upgrading the effluent system and there is also a covered feed pad. Much of the farm (51ha) has been renewed into new Italian, hybrid and perennial ryegrass pastures since Kathy and Logan took the farm over.
“Our goal is to grow and feed as much pasture as we can, and import as little supplement as we can. We want to be low cost, we want to utilise pasture rather than bought in feed. As well as being more cost effective, it’s easier for us with me running the farm during the week,” Kathy explains. “If I’m having to feed supplement flat out, it’s actually quite time-consuming.”
Logan walks the farm to measure pasture covers every weekend, but they are seriously looking at buying a trailed pasture meter to make this process faster, more efficient and more consistent.
Kathy is looking forward to Tiller Talk. “It’s really good to network with like minded people who are enthusiastic about pasture. We want to keep learning; we want to be able to keep asking questions and gaining extra insights into grass.”