Production focus from Jersey genetics

South Taranaki jersey breeders Chris and Rachel Wilson are starting to see some good results from their focus on production, and has this year placed in fi ve out of six age groups at the Taranaki Purebred Jersey Breed Society production awards.

Chris and Rachel are running the Camaro Jersey stud established by Chris’ parents Pat and May many years ago. The couple bought the herd and the farm in 1995 after Chris had lower order sharemilked on the property for six years. Pat and May have stayed on the farm and at 73 years old, Chris says Pat just about works as hard as he does. Chris and Rachel have built the herd to 255 cows, half of them pedigree jersey cows. “It takes many generations to build up a full pedigree herd, and this is still in progress for us but we are well on the way,” Chris says. “For us it’s not all just about the pedigree cow
the biggest thing is production so we can pay our bills. “That’s what we really focus on, the pedigree side of it is just an interest. It’s something we enjoy doing, it’s a challenge, and we’re getting good results from it.” Chris and Rachel have chosen to breed their own bulls. “We select the semen which is suitable to put over our herd to offer good quality pedigree bloodlines. We select on size and stature, and production is the most important because we’ve got a mortgage and we’ve got bills to pay.”

Chris has been brought up with jerseys and says they are suitable for his land and fit into his life. Camaro stud is situated at Manaia, in a coastal
environment four kilometres from the sea. In spring salt spray comes in off the sea with the south westerly wind and burns the grass. And summers
can be harsh as well. “In dry summers, we have to feed quite a lot of
supplement,” Chris says. “In the summer when it’s dry, we can feed over half the cows’ diet in supplement. A lot of that is maize which is grown on farm.” The in-shed feeding system is used pretty much all year round with a formulated feed fed from the start.

Article from page 15 in the Spring 2018 NZ Dairy Magazine.