Friday, 21 August 2020 11:49

Your future is in their genes

Written by  Staff Reporters
WWS bred calves grazing at J. Taylor and D. Manley’s farm, Taranaki. WWS bred calves grazing at J. Taylor and D. Manley’s farm, Taranaki.

If you are a dairy farmer, the prosperity of your future lies in your heifers - the future of your herd.

World Wide Sires says calving is arguably the biggest time of the year but do you ever step back and look at your calves and freshly calved heifers and ask yourself if they have the attributes your farming business will need to prosper in the future? 

Most farmers agree the breeding goal is to, year on year, improve the quality of the herd in terms of fertility, health and production. Are you achieving that or has another year just gone by?

“All too often we’re caught doing what we’ve always done, getting what we’ve always got and just accepting things as they are because there are so many other priorities.

The difficulty with genetics and herd improvement is it’s not a quick fix, and the results of today’s decisions or indecisions take years to show any effect on your business,” says Craig Robertson, sales and marketing manager for World Wide Sires NZ.

“Each year’s calving should be a time of anticipation and excitement to see ‘the next generation’ land on the farm. Similarly, it should be a time of pride and satisfaction to see your heifers come into the dairy with faultless temperament, adaptability to milking, and improvement in udder and functional confirmation traits over their dams,” says Robertson.

“Heifers calving this spring are the result of a mating decision made three years ago. It’s sobering to think that the calves filling your pens this spring won’t have an economic return on your business for another five years – so do they represent the genes which will take you into the future?

“Today’s farmers face different challenges to their forebears. 

“On all sides the efficiency and sustainability of your business is facing pressure, and we are all faced with the fact that future herds need to be smaller but capable of producing more than today’s. 

“It’s a challenging prospect but one better faced now than in five years’ time.”

Robertson says the dairy industry of the future needs cows that last, with udders capable of multiple lactations and greater per cow production than the average New Zealand cow is achieving today. 

“The decisions you make this breeding season will pay forward in five or ten years time so it’s worth spending some time, this calving, on the quality of your herd and asking yourself if it has what you, your family and the industry need in the future.”

More like this

Teen shines at youth camp

Riley Taylor's leadership skills and ability to surmount challenges has seen him presented with the top award at the 2024 World Wide Sires national all dairy breeds youth camp.

The figures tell the story

The challenge for Kiwi farmers to reduce herd size while maintaining or building production is generating an increase in demand for overseas genetics, says World Wide Sires.

Research ‘overdue but welcome’

The ‘Resilient Dairy’ research launched by LIC at National Fieldays in June is an “overdue but welcome initiative” because New Zealand is lagging in dairy genetics, says genetics company World Wide Sires.


Viability of farming questioned

People are starting to question the viability of sheep and beef farming as profitability in that sector falls to one of its all-time lows, according to Federated Farmers board member and Gisborne sheep and beef farm, Toby Williams.

Zespri's net profit down $60m

Kiwifruit exporter and marketer Zespri has reported a $60 million drop in net profit, mainly driven by reduced licence revenue from lower pricing per hectare than 2022/23.

UAE FTA welcome news

The dairy and red meat sectors have welcomed news that New Zealand will begin formal negotiations for a free trade agreement (FTA) with the United Arab Emirates (UAE).


Canada's flagrant dishonesty

Deeply cynical and completely illogical. That's how Kimberly Crewther, the executive director of DCANZ is describing the Canadian government's flagrant…

Regional leader award

Eastern Bay of Plenty farmer Rebecca O’Brien was named the 2024 Dairy Women’s Network (DWN) Regional Leader of the Year.

Machinery & Products

Tractor, harvester IT comes of age

Over the last halfdecade, digital technology has appeared to be the “must-have” for tractor and machinery companies, who believe that…

» Latest Print Issues Online

Milking It

Substitute for cow's milk?

OPINION: Scientists claim to have found a new way to make a substitute for cow's milk that could have a…

Breathalyser for cows

OPINION: The Irish have come up with a novel way to measure cow belching, which is said to account for…

» Connect with Dairy News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter