What does the Lye Farm Team do?
We’re responsible for Lye Farm’s 300 cows on its 100 hectares. We do a lot of short-term research and indoor trials. The science team comes up with the research and we look after the practical application of trial work and the animal treatments.
We do all the indoor work, weighing how much food the cows get and how much they leave behind – the difference tells us how much they’ve eaten. We also help out with blood and other sampling.
Our general farm work includes fortnightly herd-testing and rearing replacement calves up to weaning point for Lye and Scott Farm. We raised 186 calves last year.
What are the specific roles in the team?
There are six of us, including myself and my second-in-command. Other team members are involved in a range of jobs: rearing calves, weighing feed and cows, herd-testing, milking, maintaining the milking shed, and keeping accurate records for the database team.
What recent achievements is your team most proud of?
Overall, our support for the science and research teams. On top of that, we’re also very proud of how we look after the cows, and also the farm – how it’s kept, how it looks, planting trees, that sort of thing. For example, a couple of years ago we dismantled a derelict cowshed on the farm and sold its scrap metal for recycling.
That, plus money collected from a team whip-round, raised funds to buy native trees to plant on Lye Farm. The benefits were two-fold: removing the shed and planting the trees each improved the farm’s overall appearance and its environment.
How can people find out more?
DairyNZ has multiple projects underway at Lye Farm and its neighbour Scott Farm – you can find out more at dairynz.co.nz/research
Where possible, DairyNZ also occasionally hosts visits for groups of farmers (by arrangement) and we hold open days at our research farms.
Working on our research farms provides a great stepping stone into dairying, look at dairynz.co.nz/careers
This article was originally published in Inside Dairy July 2019