Interest in once-a-day (OAD) milking is rising, says DairyNZ senior scientist Dr Paul Edwards.
It may take a few years to get the right cows and infrastructure on the farm but this time and effort pays off in the long term.
“Don’t go into OAD on a whim,” he says.
The loss in production when farmers first convert to OAD can be as high as 25% or as low as 3%, depending heavily on planning and good professional advice.
The key thing is to balance income and expenditure, he says. “So if your production is down by 11% you need to reduce your farm working expenses by 11%.”
Hendrikse says most farmers who move to OAD stay with it because it is working for them.
Meanwhile Ed Jackson, who milks 190 cows OAD at Ashurst agrees with Hendrikse’s advice about the need for planning. His good planning enabled him to avoid a loss when he converted to OAD.
He was great friends with the late Professor Colin Holmes, one of NZ’s greatest supporters of OAD. Holmes gave Jackson many tips, especially planning to get the genetics right and getting cows that suited OAD.
“We have a variety of cows, most of them cross-breeds leaning more towards Jersey. The Jersey cow has the ability to hold the milk in her udder without the decrease in production you see in Friesian cows,” he says.
Jackson also rears extra beef calves, something they have always done. Now in his 5th OAD season, he says he’d never go back to TAD. OAD offers more lifestyle choices, providing time for family, hobbies and sport.