Ross and Kristy Conder are not milking your typical Southland herd. The successful farming couple 50:50 sharemilk 840 predominantly Jersey cows at Otapiri, near Winton.
“Some farmers are making significant changes to their business, eg for A2 milk, all to get a small premium of 10-20 cents,” he said.
“But for herds with a high percentage of Friesian or crossbred animals they could achieve similar or better increases by increasing their Jersey content at mating time.”
Courtman says the 67 cent margin is a combination of higher milk price, lower replacement costs and more milk solids per unit of feed.
“The average Jersey herd supplying Fonterra will earn 24 cents more than a Holstein Friesian herd due to the higher fat content and lower volume charges associated with Jerseys.”
Another 16 cents comes from lower replacement rates, he says.
“Jersey herds, on average, have a 4-5% lower empty rate and this allows farmers to rear fewer young stock or sell more surplus stock.
“About 20% of the 16 cent advantage comes from fewer discretionary culls or losses from collapsed udders, feet and leg problems, calving difficulties and less mastitis.
“And 27 cents comes from Jerseys’ ability to produce 8% more milk solids per unit of feed. At 8% on a $6.75 payout that’s an extra 54 cents.”
The efficiency benefits of Jerseys makes them ideal for the future, says Courtman. The best way to reduce the industry’s carbon footprint is to improve the efficiency of the animals.