Breeding Worth (BW) has been the currency for dairy genetics in New Zealand but times are changing. and more and more farmers are looking at the currency which counts – in the bank.
Hank Lina, General Manager of World Wide Sires New Zealand, says the new era of dairying, with volatile dairy payouts and an increased focus on the environment, is leading many farmers to take a critical look at the size and production of their herds.
“BW is a great ranking tool but, as farmers know, it doesn’t always translate to milk. We are finding more and more farmers are coming to World Wide Sires wanting genetics which are high producing, fertile and which last for years in the herd.
“We’re finding our genetics perform across all farming systems. I was recently talking to a System 2/3 client in Canterbury who changed to World Wide Sires some years back and is now averaging over 500 kg ms per cow across his herd. That’s the sort of improvement we are seeing as farmers take up a genetic offering which gives them options to grow their incomes, not the size of their herds.
“In 2017 alone sales increased by 43% and we are getting steady and increasing growth in enquiry from new clients, all wanting the same things – cows that milk and get in calf, from a company which provides personal service, on-farm.
“We do all of those things. I’ve had to take on additional field staff as a result of the increased demand but this, fortunately, isn’t a problem as the phone is ringing with experienced people wanting to come and work for us.”
Hank Lina said service, or lack of it, is a factor to World Wide Sires’ growing customer base.
“We have representatives all over New Zealand and provide on-farm sales and service. It’s what most farmers want. They don’t want to talk to someone they don’t know or trust on the phone – relationships and trust are built by investing the time to get to know farmers, their business and lifestyle objectives and then helping them achieve that. It’s something we’ve always done, and will continue to do.”
Hank Lina conceded that like most genetics companies in the 1990s, World Wide Sires’ genetics erred in favour of size, production and conformation at the cost of fertility.
“We learned from that experience. Our 30,000 farmer shareholders told us in no uncertain terms that they wanted medium sized cows which get in calf every year, and which produce high milk solids. And we’ve done that, thanks to the largest database of elite dairy sires in the world.
“The sires on offer in New Zealand have been specifically selected for the traits wanted by Kiwi farmers – moderately sized, well conformed cows, which are fertile and are high producers. Most if not all sires also have outcross bloodlines, which makes mating time so much easier to manage.”