Martins see benefits in red

A PASSION for dairying and a love of the Aussie Red breed has helped Korumburra sharefarmers Dave and Amanda Martin produce a championship winning cow.
In the recent Australian Red Dairy Breed on Farm Challenge, the Martins’ cow Glenroy Waratah was crowned overall champion, beating 200 other entries.
Glenroy Waratah was also named best cow in the three year old class, after winning the two year old class in 2017.
“We enter 12 in it every year and we place every year, but Waratah was our first, first,” Amanda said.
The win is bittersweet for Dave and Amanda, and their daughter Courtney who have now made the hard decision to move away from dairying.
They will be leaving the farm in October and will look to sell their milking herd prior to departure.
Amanda said it was a hard decision to make, because for them, dairying was their livelihood as well as a lifestyle.
“We are proud of what we have done, but we have loved it too. Dairying is like that,” she said.
“We always said we wanted to get out of dairying before we stopped enjoying it.”
Dave said the couple have “gone out on a bang”.
“We won champion cow and accomplished everything we wanted,” he said.
Amanda and Dave are looking forward to the “next chapter”.
“John and Norrie allowed us freedom. John was always one to give people a go and we landed on our feet with this farm,” Amanda said.
“We had their support as well as others, good cows and we had the enjoyment of it. That was the key, you have got to enjoy it.”
After making the move from managing to sharefarming around eight years ago, for the Martins, Aussie Reds were the breed they wanted to focus on.
After moving to the Korumburra farm of John and Norrie (dec) Little, they purchased some cows from John and Deb Hales, as well as an AI tank full of straws and “that is where it all started”.
“There was a lot of history behind all the cows and we just continued on where he (John) left off,” Dave said.
“As a sharefarmer, your cows are your biggest asset, so you want to make them as good as you possibly can.
“There is more value in your cows that anything else on the farm.”
The Martins milk up to 220 cows and last year, produced just on 9000 litres per head for Fonterra.
This year, the Martins had an empty rate of just six percent, compared to the district average, which sits at around 20 percent.
Out of 44 heifers this year, just two were empty and those two were Friesians.
“We need all the cows to calve at the same time. We don’t want empty ones, they just cost you money,” Dave said.
Their seasonal calving herd is dried off towards the end of May.
Dave said as well as having exceptional fertility, Aussie Reds are long lived, and are rarely plagued by mastitis or lameness.
“We maybe treat two or three cows a year for mastitis and we had to treat one cow for lameness last year,” he said.
“We barley get any footsore reds and this is not a flat farm, they do a lot of walking.”
Aussie Reds are not quite as big as Friesians and Dave said they tend to carry their weight better.
“They milk well, their temperament is good and their production is no different to a black and white cow,” he said.
The Martins use a lot of Norwegian red cow genetics when selecting bulls, with a focus on health traits.
“Production comes into it, but not as much as health. If you have good health, fertility, longevity and production will come,” he said.
Glenroy Waratah’s mother milked until she was 16 years old.
“That is what you want. We want to breed cows that are going to stick around for a long time,” Dave said.
“The genetics we have got coming through in our cows now are just getting better and better.”
Amanda said the year they started sharefarming in Korumburra, it was with a young herd.
“In our first year here, we broke in 110 heifers. In our first two seasons, we had so many heifers,” she said.
To get the best out of their cows, Amanda said they strongly believe in the “you only get out what you put in” approach.
“We put that much in to our young stock. They cost us a fortune, but if you look after them they will pump out the litres for you,” she said.
“Look after them well when they are younger and they will repay you when they come into the shed.”

Good red: Korumburra sharefarmer Amanda Martin, with husband Dave, loves all of the cows on her farm and knows all of them by name.

Short URL: http://thestar.com.au/?p=24681

Posted by on Apr 10 2018. Filed under Rural News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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