Parkes driven by herd improvements

17 Jan, 2018 12:00 PM
Comments
0
 
Because Australia's such a small dairy market now, IDW is the opportunity to talk to reps ...

IT IS the opportunity to network with Australian breeders and overseas breeding representatives that takes Ted Bingham and Deborah Parkes to International Dairy Week (IDW) each year.

It is also the opportunity to learn about improvements in the technical side of farming that attracts them to the event.

The couple have been attending IDW since its inception, missing only one or two years in the interim.

They operate Wildwood Dairies, alongside Debday and Dumbarton Holstein studs, at Lardner, in Gippsland, Victoria, milking 478 commercial cows off 194 dryland hectares.

With an average annual rainfall of 1000mm, the Lion producers collectively manage 600 breeders, including the stud cows.

Fifty per cent of the herd is genomically tested.

"Some have turned out exactly as expected, according to the testing. We're continually improving," Mr Bingham said.

The Holstein herd produces an average 7500 litres per cow per annum, with four per cent fat and 3.2 per cent protein.

Their bloodlines are mostly Canadian, with a little bit of American genetics and this year they used Australian sexed semen in their heifers.

"It's become more reliable and cheaper, so it's worth investing in," Mr Bingham said.

While Mr Bingham and farm manager, Connie Parkes, run the farm fulltime, Deborah Parkes, a past president of Holstein Australia, is responsible for the artificial insemination (AI) and embryo transfer (ET) breeding program in the herd. She also operated her own AI company for dairy and beef farmers, for 15 years, in the Yarra Valley and Pakenham area.

Daughter, Connie, is responsible for machinery maintenance, growing and managing pasture and fodder conservation and feeding.

The focus on the farm is feeding cows to maintain condition. Milkers are fed six kilograms of barley each, twice a day, in the bail; and six tonne of wet silage for a 300-day lactation.

Connie Parkes' focus is on harvesting 2000 tonnes of wet silage, 270 rolls of silage and 100 squares of hay each year. The pastures are ryegrass-based.

The trio are looking forward to four days of IDW, although they have only shown cattle once - in 2013 - achieving 10th (against 25 entries) in the Junior Second-Class with a Perfection heifer, sired by a Ladino bull's semen.

Instead IDW was an opportunity to re-connect with friends, find out about the latest dairy management techniques and equipment and discuss genetics and breeding.

"Normally you can get access to the overseas AI company representatives - the companies spend a lot of money sending them to Australia, so they send those people who know what they're talking about. You can get some pretty good advice from them," Mr Bingham said.

"Because Australia's such a small dairy market now, IDW is the opportunity to talk to reps about getting semen at the same time as it's released overseas."

Mr Bingham said it was also a good opportunity to promote his own herd to these representatives and to other breeders.

"Quite a lot of business is done at IDW, buying semen," he said.

"Most of the time, people are right up with knowledge about what's out there.

"We've noticed an increasing reliance on leasing bulls rather than purchasing outright, as a result of the downturn in dairy incomes in the past couple of years."

As the event has evolved into an agricultural show, it also offers the opportunity to investigate machinery.

"It's quite an agricultural show, nowadays, with a lot of the latest equipment there, everything associated with dairy farming," Mr Bingham said.

The family also like to sit in on the various workshop presentations.

"There's a lot of farmers who speak about their business and a lot of overseas guests," Mr Bingham said.

"There's also education opportunities with the farm tours of the local district. It's the biggest cattle show for some breeds.

"We go there to select the genetics that will help us achieve our goals on the farm."

Having full traceability through several generations at Wildwood Dairies has been advantageous with the changes to the export diary heifer market.

"We can demonstrate three generations of records and that's what export buyers want - they want heifers with a background history of cows calving successfully to sexed semen", Mr Bingham said.

Want to read more stories like this?

Sign up to receive our e-newsletter delivered fresh to your email in-box twice a week.

Click here

Page:
1

POST A COMMENT


Screen name *
Email address *
Remember me?
Comment *
 
Effective pasture management is one of the most important aspects of successful dairy production, yet many dairyfarmers are not using pasture measurement equipment.17 Feb 18 Effective pasture management is one of the most important aspects of successful dairy production, yet many...
ALLORA, Qld, dairy farmers Andrew and Chris Mullins, Queensland, have been operating in partnership for the past ten years and have a clear vision on how they produce, plus manage, their forage feeding systems. 
05 Feb 18 ALLORA, Qld, dairy farmers Andrew and Chris Mullins, Queensland, have been operating in partnership for the past ten...
light grey arrow
Just wondering if it is true that you will be discontinuing the Devondale long life cream
light grey arrow
The disconnect here is that Farmers believe they are selling a Value Added Product (and, that is
light grey arrow
Read the building regulations, there has been changes for farm buildings. None of this is
Like a lot of dairyfarmers, Steven and Leanne Wieland's Boonah, Qld, business has grown in the past decade.13 Feb 18 Like a lot of dairyfarmers, Steven and Leanne Wieland's Boonah, Qld, business has grown in the past decade.
A Western Australian dairyfarmer says his simple effluent management system is the most cost-effective and labour efficient for his farm.
06 Feb 18 A Western Australian dairyfarmer says his simple effluent management system is the most cost-effective and labour...
Australian farm chemical manufacturer Nufarm has repaired its balance sheet and is now hunting for acquisition opportunities.25 Sep 16 Australian farm chemical manufacturer Nufarm has repaired its balance sheet and is now hunting for acquisition...
Monopoly market may confront cropping sector under mega-merger proposal.22 Sep 16 Monopoly market may confront cropping sector under mega-merger proposal.