Kelly and Wayne Sandford
Location: Waipu, Northland
Farm Size: 130 hectare (effective)
Herd Size: 270 Friesians
Production: 465kgms per cow with a target of 500kgms
Farm System: 4
The Sandford’s Waipu property has been in Wayne’s family for several generations. Wayne took over the farm and the herd around three decades ago and Kelly recalls the Friesian herd was predominantly New Zealand genetics.
“When Wayne and I got married we were very focused on BW, we used the top BW bulls but were becoming concerned at the udders we were getting – they were small and it wasn’t uncommon for heifers to go dry soon after entering the herd.
“Our farm system is System 4. We’re after top production from our cows and the udders we were seeing among replacements was beginning to really compromise our production, so we changed our focus from BW to traits. This meant going to another New Zealand genetics company whose line-up of bulls had good udder traits. Unfortunately the gene pool of straight Friesians was limited and when this resulted in the company encouraging us to crossbreed, we began looking elsewhere.
“Customer service is everything to us and we had also become frustrated at the large turnover of staff. We were continually getting new representatives who didn’t know us, our herd or our farming goals.
“It was then that we met Dyanne (Osborne) on the World Wide Sires’ stand at Fieldays and realised how focused the company was on traits and how they were able to select sires from a database of the best Friesians in the world to suit our farming system.
“Dyanne devoted a lot of time to understanding and achieving what we want out of our herd. She’s fantastic – knowledgeable, friendly and just goes that extra mile to make sure we’re happy.
“Our World Wide Sires’ heifers are moderately sized, have fantastic udders and their temperament is outstanding. They settle really well, consistently out-produce anything we had before and there’s no cup slippage.
“We didn’t have an empty heifer this year. First time calvers come into the herd and get back in calf.
“Last season we did 121,000kgms from 260 cows which is 465kgms per cow. With the production we’re achieving we’re on track to achieve our goal of 500kgms per cow.
“We couldn’t be happier.”