SOUTH Australian dairy farmer Mike Green wanted to improve the health and fertility of his herd in 2004, so he turned to Australian Reds.
The move was a resounding success and in March, he’ll show his integrated herd to the world when he hosts delegates from the International Red Dairy Breed Federation conference.
The conference is held every three years and is in Australia for the first time since 2000.
It will run from March 22 to March 29 and includes a two-day forum in Mt Gambier on March 26 and 27.
Mike runs a 167ha irrigated milking farm at Mt Schank with about 300 Aussie Reds, 300 New Zealand Friesians and 50 three-way cross cows with Montbeliardes as the third breed.
He and his family moved from New Zealand in 2001 because of high land prices in the South Island.
The Mt Schank farm came with 600 North American Holsteins.
“The Holsteins didn’t want to get in calf and when they did, you had to pull them,” Mike said.
After a tour of Sweden in 2004, he bought 400 straws of Swedish Red semen for crossbreeding.
In 2008, the Greens bought 300 purebred Australian Reds from John and Monica Williams at Meningie, South Australia.
“We started crossbreeding our original herd to breed out the black and white genetics,” Mike said.
“The good cow families are now pure bred.”
Sire selection is based on smaller stature, fertility, lower milk volume with higher milk components, longevity and disease resistance, with a focus on feet and legs.
The Reds, Friesians and crossbreds run in the same herd.
Based on similar amounts fed, the Reds match the other breeds in milk solid production. The farm’s peak came in 2013-14, achieving close to 700kg of milk solids a cow, though poor springs in recent years have reduced that figure.
The farm has exported Aussie Red heifers to Vietnam, the Philippines and Pakistan.
More than 100 people are expected to attend the conference and tour, with registrations already confirmed from seven countries.
Source: The Weekly Times