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Meal time – the best time of the day

Located on the outskirts of Christchurch, Perry and Jackie McConnachie lease their farm from The Isaac Conservation and Wildlife Trust. It’s their fourth season on-farm and with only 160 cows on the property, there’s a big focus on optimum production.

The herd are all brought in. The McConnachies don’t breed replacements, instead using beef bulls and focusing on getting cows in calf early for more days in milk before selling the calves to the beef calf rearing market.

Perry started feeding NRM Dairy Meal 3 seasons ago after meeting with NRM Nutrition Specialist Megan Hardy. In their first season of feeding, Perry and Jackie were producing 480kgMS per cow, with a target of getting to 550. With some changes on farm and targeted nutrition and advice from Megan, they’ve managed to supersede the 550MS goal and are on target to do 600MS this season.

Environmental impact is important for Perry and Jackie as they’re on a farm close to the city. Access to water is limited, making them focus on pasture quality. They don’t use straight urea and are working on cutting out synthetic fertilisers, employing controlled effluent spreading and only targeting paddocks that require it.

Condition of the cows, their health and having happy animals is a top priority. With a low stocking rate of 2.5 cows per/ha, the focus is on feeding their cows well, having spent the past 4 years re-grassing the whole farm.

The farm has an in-shed feeding system, giving the comfort of being able to feed their cows no matter the weather. The aim is to keep in-shed meals to 2kgs of NRM Dairy Meal per cow, per day with the option to increase that if pasture is short.

NRM Dairy Meal delivers all the vitamins, trace elements, magnesium, calcium and salt required, with NRM able to customise the meal during the season when extra is required.

Jackie and Perry find the knowledge and support their Nutrition Specialist gives them is incredibly valuable.

They’ve learnt a lot from Megan over the past 3 years from her on-farm visits and they’re always able to contact her to discuss any issues they have.

Before NRM, Perry and Jackie had tried other feed companies but were frustrated to find that not all the cows would eat the meal. When they changed to NRM the product was fresh and the cows loved it.

“They now march to the shed each day to get milked and really love their meal,” Perry says.

The McConnachies trust the quality of the feed and that reflects in the cow’s production.

“Megan is always working ahead, planning what’s needed and suggesting changes to tweak our low-cost system to get the best out of our cows.

“We trust the technical advice from Megan and see huge value in what she can add on-farm, so it’s not only a quality product but quality advice to go with it,” Jackie says.

For further information, contact your Farmlands Technical Field Officer or the friendly team at your local Farmlands store.