Dairy de­light

Shepparton News - Country News - - FRONT PAGE - By Alana Chris­tensen

De­spite hav­ing the equal best Jersey herd and sec­ond best Hol­stein herd in Aus­tralia ac­cord­ing to the lat­est Aus­tralian Breed­ing Val­ues, Katunga dairy farmer Daryl Hoey re­mains a hum­ble man.

Hav­ing main­tained the ti­tle of best Jersey herd for more than a decade, he places the rea­son be­hind his suc­cess on a con­sid­ered and con­sis­tent ef­fort.

Milk­ing more than 300 cows on his 150 ha prop­erty, which com­prises 60 per cent Jer­seys and 20 per cent of each Hol­steins and Aus­tralian Reds, Mr Hoey said the ac­co­lades had taken years of work.

‘‘I’ve just spent many years ob­vi­ously us­ing the right bulls,’’ he said.

‘‘I pretty much only use bulls based off the Aus­tralian sys­tem and I’ve al­ways placed a lot of em­pha­sis on pro­tein, pro­duc­tion over­all and fer­til­ity. They’ve prob­a­bly been the pri­or­ity, and then ud­ders af­ter that.’’

Mr Hoey places a strong em­pha­sis on fer­til­ity and said con­sid­er­ing the is­sues that had oc­curred across the Aus­tralian dairy cow pop­u­la­tion in past decades, it was al­ways a key fac­tor in his se­lec­tions.

‘‘It’s just some­thing I think we can do bet­ter at. We’ve spent prob­a­bly 15 years not plac­ing enough em­pha­sis on it and ended up with def­i­nitely a fer­til­ity is­sue across the whole pop­u­la­tion, and it’s a slow process to fix it,’’ he said.

‘‘I think fer­til­ity is a big driver in prof­itabil­ity. I still want my cows to calve ev­ery 12 months. We don’t al­ways achieve it, but that’s the goal.

‘‘So by try­ing to place my em­pha­sis on fer­til­ity, hope­fully (I can) try and fix a lot of the prob­lems that have hap­pened across Aus­tralia in the last 20 years.’’

While Mr Hoey places great con­sid­er­a­tions into the ge­net­ics in the herd, he main­tains that it’s about im­prov­ing the over­all herd and en­sur­ing it will ul­ti­mately suit Aus­tralian con­di­tions and de­liver qual­ity pro­duc­tion.

‘‘It’s still the milk cheque that pays the bills,’’ he said.

Re­sults speak for them­selves . . . Katunga dairy farmer Daryl Hoey has had his Jersey herd ranked equal best in Aus­tralia, with his Hol­stein herd tak­ing out the sil­ver in DataGene’s Au­gust Aus­tralian Breed­ing Val­ues re­sults.

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