The Friesian and Holstein cow base has gradually been bred to KiwiCross™ bulls, with the gains in herd uniformity coming through this year. “They don’t get lame, they don’t get mastitis and they just turn grass into milk, whether that’s grazed or as silage,” he adds. His perfect cow is deep bodied, with short legs, black feet and a ‘tidy udder’. Strong feet is a must considering the furthest paddock is 3km from the parlour. Four KiwiCross™ LIC bulls are used with varying proportions of Jersey and Friesian. They are chosen for good somatic cell counts, milk fat and protein, legs, feet and teat placement. “Breeding is pretty important for fertility,” he explains. “I just want to get more cows calving in the first thrree weeks, and certainly in six weeks – and get those replacements born as early as possible to maximise days in milk.”
The future opportunity for New Zealand dairy farmers to breed more climate friendly cows could become reality after trials find a possible link between a bulls’ genetics and the amount of methane they produce.