When Jared Whittfield says he lives on the family farm - he really means it. He lives there with his wife Francine and their five children ranging from 13 years down to 18 months. The 250 ha farm is situated in Moutoa (midway between Shannon and Foxton) where he milks just over 1000 Friesian cows producing around 500,000 kg MS annually.
Maize silage provides a secure and cost-effective winter feed supply helping Hayden and Alecia Lawrence and son Fletcher (1) to produce more than 500 kgMS/cow on a "fairly challenging" property 7 km south of Eltham in Taranaki.
Maize forms the basis of a simple but highly productive and profitable farm system for Taranaki farmers Mark and Viv Henderson. The Hendersons, and their four daughters Emma (17), Louise (16), Stephanie (12) and Sarah (8), milk 300 cows on 85 ha (eff.) near Lepperton. Their Dairy Base EFS* was $2,638/ha in 05/06 and $2,266/ha in the 2006/07 season.
Cricket and dairying are joint passions for Taranaki farmer Alistar Jordan. Alistar played 1st class cricket for Central Districts from 1968-1980, represented New Zealand in the 1973 tour to Australia and has been coach for the Taranaki cricket team for the past six years.
A feed pad has been a fantastic investment for Wairarapa farmers David and Janine Swansson. The Swanssons, along with children Sara (7), Jordan (5) and Anna (1) milk 230 crossbred cows on 86 ha (eff.) near Pahiatua. Farm contour varies from flat to rolling, annual rainfall is around 2 metres and the winters can be very cold.
Peter and Nancy Russell have completed a second season on their 130 hectare (eff.) farm located under the Tararua Wind Farm at Ballance in the Wairarapa. Last year their 370 Friesian-Jersey cross cow herd produced 101,500 kgMS (274 kgMS/cow and 781 kgMS/ha). By mid March, production for the 06/07 season was running 50% higher than the prior year with the previous farm record being broken by the end of February. Despite an unusually dry summer, final production will be around 150,000 kgMS.
Maize silage helps Taranaki farmers Phillip and Maree Gudopp achieve desired lactation length and cow condition targets. The Gudopps milk 750 crossbred cows on 243 hectares situated 4 km east of Eltham. Production for the last three years has averaged 1,100 kgMS/ha with per cow production ranging from 330 to 355 kgMS.
A desire to feed cows properly all year round regardless of climatic conditions and pasture growth rates has motivated Wanganui farmers Dean and Andrea Lithgow to build a farm system that incorporates significant inputs of maize silage. Along with their two pre-schoolers Casey (4) and Stafford (1), Dean and Andrea part-own and manage a family trust farm on the rolling hills of Westmere, north of Wanganui.
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