Just once-a-day works well for the Mitchells

South Waikato News - - RURAL DELIVERY -

Af­ter 30 years of twice-a-day milk­ing for­mer Oko­roire farm­ers Heather and Ian Mitchell hap­pily wel­comed the con­cept of once-a-day farm­ing. The Mitchell’s were rather re­laxed about the whole tran­si­tion from twice-a-day to once-a-day milk­ing.

‘‘We found com­fort in know­ing that the op­tion to re­verse the de­ci­sion was al­ways there if it didn’t suit us,’’ Mrs Mitchell said.

‘‘We de­cided that we didn’t have a lot to lose re­ally.

‘‘If it hadn’t of worked out it would have been easy to go back to twice-a-day milk­ing. This thought made us quite re­laxed about the whole sit­u­a­tion.’’

Orig­i­nally the Mitchell’s be­came in­ter­ested in once-a-day milk­ing be­cause of the life­style ben­e­fits that came hand in hand with it.

‘‘We were at­tracted to the life­style, we wanted a change. We also wanted to cut back our work­load with­out leav­ing the farm. Once-a-day was the best op­tion for our farm’’ Mrs Mitchell said.

Once-a-day milk­ing means that farm­ers only have to see the in­side of their cow­shed once a day. Less time is spent deal­ing with stock and stock spends more time re­lax­ing in pad­docks in­stead of stand­ing in yards and tracks.

Some on­look­ers strug­gle to un­der­stand the the­ory and logic be­hind once-a-day milk­ing. Pro­duc­tion ini­tially will fall but it is just a mi­nor speed bump that is eas­ily over­come Mrs Mitchell said.

‘‘We had no idea how much you can save when milk­ing on once-a-day. The big­gest bar­rier to over­come is pro­duc­tion loss. Of course there is go­ing to be a loss to start with but you over­come this when you re­alise how much you are sav­ing and cut­ting down on ex­penses such as power and other costs. We also learnt that we could add 15 per cent more stock to our heard be­cause of stress off the cows re­sult­ing in more feed.’’

Along with the life­style ben­e­fits, there are many other as­pects that the Mitchells ad­dress. Bet­ter herd con­di­tion, de­creased bills and costs, slower stock ro­ta­tion and bet­ter fer­til­ity in cows are other perks that once-a-day farm­ing of­fered.

‘‘You are busy up un­til around lunch time then you have the af­ter­noon to do as you please. If you want to make a get­away it is easy to find a re­lief milker be­cause the once-a-day milk­ing is so ap­peal­ing. Bet­ter stock con­di­tion was a huge ben­e­fit as well as lower bills and costs. We also had a slower stock ro­ta­tion re­sult­ing in more pas­ture and our cows were get­ting in calf a lot eas­ier.’’

The Mitchells now en­joy their sec­ond sea­son of re­tire­ment af­ter their son took over the re­spon­si­bil­ity of the farm.

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