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Zero bobby calves for New Zealand dairy farming couple

Every year nearly two million bobby calves are killed in New Zealand but none will be on one dairy farm in the Waimate district.

Ryan and Billie Moffat milk 460 cows on their 145-hectare irrigated property and credits the versatility of their Holstein Friesian cattle for this feat.

“Our business doesn’t produce any bobby calves,” Billie Moffat said.

“We’ve always had a strong market for our surplus heifer and beef calves. That’s a huge benefit of farming Holstein Friesians.”

The couple bought the farm off Ryan’s parents Mike and Chris Moffat in 2019, after buying their herd four years’ earlier.

Six years ago, the Moffat’s started using semen from Samen’s overseas genetics over their herd.

“We were quite a high BW (breeding worth) herd, with a big focus on BW. We used a lot of LIC genetics, then switched to using CRV Ambreed sires,” Ryan Moffat said.

“But the genetic pool was getting too tight, and we wanted to breed a higher-producing, medium-sized Holstein Friesian cow.

“There’s limited demand for bull calves out of crossbred and Jersey cows.”

The couple is in their second season doing all artificial insemination (AI).

The Moffat’s have 313 registered pedigree Holstein Friesians, including young stock, and are keen to grow the number.

“We stopped registering our cows through the pedigree system when we were developing the farm,” he said.

“It’s something we got back into this year. We’ve been using Holstein Friesian sires, so a lot of animals were eligible for registration.”

Production on the property was 262,000 kilograms of milksolids (kgMS) in 2018-19, and they have set a target of 550 kgMS per cow production.

The Moffat’s trade under the name Deltop Dairy Limited. They featured heavily in the 2018-19 production results for registered Holstein Friesian cows.

They were the top producing protein herd in the Canterbury/Westland ward, with an average of 312 kg/cow (3.6%). They ranked 9th highest in the country.

The Moffat’s were second highest in their ward for fat, with an average of 337kg/cow (3.9%).


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