A Waikato heifer-rearing focus farm is being established along with four others around the country as part of a DairyNZ-led initiative to provide graziers with the tools, knowledge and resources to grow dairy heifers more effectively.
An open day will be held at the Waikato focus farm near Te Kuiti, owned by graziers Murray and Janet Easton, on December 9 from 11am to 3pm.
Heifers are the future of the dairy herd.
Both graziers and dairy farmers are encouraged to attend with key topics including target weights and feed planning, animal health issues, managing the grazier-dairy farmer relationship and setting calves up for the run-off.
DairyNZ productivity team leader Rob Brazendale says that while DairyNZ has done a lot of work to help dairy farmers improve herd reproduction, working with graziers on growing heifers was a gap that needed to be addressed.
“Graziers as a group of farmers have been largely left to their own devices and we want to change that by providing them with a forum to share knowledge.
“Heifers are the future of the dairy herd, and with the ban on inductions from next season, heifer rearing has become even more critical to improving a herd’s reproductive performance,” says Rob.
“The grazier-dairy farmer relationship is key to growing great heifers and they both have to get away from a ‘them and us’ situation. We want to create a win-win relationship where everyone contributes."
The focus farms will showcase good practice, provide a forum for sharing experiences and be actively involved in the development of knowledge, tools and resources for both graziers and dairy farmers.
DairyNZ is establishing the focus farms in collaboration with dairy farmers, graziers, grazing companies and industry organisations Beef + Lamb and LIC.
Other focus farms will be located in Northland, Manawatu, and North Otago.
Waikato heifer-rearing focus farm field day
Tuesday, 9 December
11am to 3pm
Murray and Janet Easton’s farm
617 State Highway 4, Te Kuiti