The Harrison family from Mt Kilcoy are one of only five farms to supply Woolworth's Farmers Own brand in Queensland and need to produce quality milk year-round to ensure they meet their milk contract specifications.
Their 120-cow mixed herd is made up of Holsteins (50 per cent), Aussie Reds (25 per cent) and Holstein x Aussie Red (25 per cent) crossbreds. The milking herd is grazing off 40 hectares of pasture, which annually uses about 110 megalitres of deep bore irrigation water. The average rainfall in this region is 1200 millimetres.
They began the dairy farm 11 years ago with a Holstein herd, a year later they bought a dozen Aussie Reds to bring into their herd. They were immediately impressed with the growth of the Aussie Red calves, and the ability of the Aussie Reds to hold body condition in dry conditions.
The fertility of the Aussie Reds have ensured the Aussie red component of their herd has grown, and they have used Aussie Red genetics over their Holsteins that have been difficult to get in calf with pleasing results.
The lower cell count and less frequency of mastitis amongst their Aussie Red cows has helped them to achieve their milk quality goals.
The Harrison family have selected high Balanced Performance Index proven bulls and progeny test bulls to help their herd maintain a strong genetic base.
When their son, Ashley, 26 returned to the farm six years ago, he was impressed with the heat tolerance of the Aussie Reds, who were out grazing while other cows were seeking shade.
Herd recording data also showed their Aussie Red cattle and crossbreds consistently giving higher milk components and equal milk solids to their Holstein herd mates.
[lastpar]They have also been able to save on grain costs, as the Aussie Reds do not need as much supplement feed as larger Holsteins.
Article supplied by Australian Reds, website www.aussiereds.com.au.