Home' Central Canterbury News : April 24th 2013 Contents 10 April, 2013
CENTRAL SOUTH ISLAND FARMER
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Once-a-day milking improves herd
It would take a big mind shift for most dairy
farmers to consider milking once-a-day right
through the season. Jill Galloway went to a
seminar that looked at that option.
LIFE CHANGING: Scott Ridsdale, former DairyNZ regional manager, is now farm manager working on Christine Finnigan's
farm in Glen Oroua.
CHRISTINE FINNIGAN says
milking her cows only once each
day means she and her worker
Scott Ridsdale, have more family
It also means the cows are in
good condition despite the
About 50 farmers and a handful
of stock agents went to the field
day at her Glen Oroua farm.
They wanted to know about cow
health, how milking worked in
spring when cows were calving
and the time taken for milking.
Finnigan changed to once-a-
day milking four years ago. It was
a leap of faith.
If you have a good herd it
performs well and will do
whatever you want. I believe in
BW [breeding worth].''
She says twice-a-day milking is
hard on people and stock.
When I was milking twice a
day I had three staff at calving,
but one year one had a car
accident, another year one had
There never seemed to be three
It is challenging on you and
your family when you get busy.
There is no work-life balance.''
She said her biggest issue when
she changed over was she had too
many cows and finding the
balance the farm would sustain
took a year.
Finnigan said she would go to
once-a-day in Autumn.
She said her biggest issue when
she changed over was having too
many cows to feed well. She now
In year one she did 70,000
kilograms of milksolids, then
76,000, 78,500 and was on track
for 80,000 kilograms of milk solids
before the drought. It's now
Finnigan and Ridsdale will dry
off cows now.
She says animal health is better
when it comes to milking once-a-
Infertility is about half what it
was on twice-a-day.
The empty rate is now about 4
And cows take AI [artificial
insemination] better than they
Lameness is not an issue -- I
think we've had maybe had five
lame cows to deal with this
Finnigan says she doesn't use
CIDRs or inductions -- nothing to
get cows in calf, or calving earlier
leaving them to their own devices.
But she says they do check cows
that have just calved to make sure
they don't suffer from milk fever
or any metabolic issues as waiting
24 hours before getting cows in is
But they milk, even in spring,
only once every 24 hours.
Finnigan says on once-a-day
milking cows still drop weight,
about a condition score, after
Her cows are a cross between
jersey and friesian and there are
about 225 cows.
She culls on udder conformation
and milk health.
As of two weeks ago they
registered a condition score of 4.2.
The cows had put on more weight
since then said Finnigan.
She aims for condition score 5
before calving, allowing for a 4
once they're calved and are
Finnigan says although milking
once-a-day, the cows still come in
early in the morning.
It means we're not wasting
time milking in the afternoon. We
finish around 3 or 4pm and I like
that. It works for all of us.''
-- Fairfax NZ
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