Gra­ziers share their knowl­edge

South Waikato News - - RURAL DELIVERY / NGA¯ KO¯ RERO TAIWHENUA -

AWaikato 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.

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 said that while DairyNZ had 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,’’ Brazen­dale said.

‘‘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.

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