Lyn and Deborah Baggott
Lyn and Deborah Baggott
Farm 235 hectares dairy platform
Herd 880 mixed breed herd – Jersey, Ayrshire, Crossbred and Friesian
Production Average per cow production 480kgms
Farm system Varies between System 3 and 4.
Lyn Baggott has a simple requirement for his 880 cow herd – “I have no breed preference as long as they are performing, pulling their weight. I like cows to produce their liveweight in milk solids, so it’s not a breed thing; it’s the performance of each individual animal.”
Lyn and Deborah 50/50 share-milk on Lyn’s 235 hectare farm at Cust in North Canterbury.
“My parents moved here from Ruawai 20 years ago. The herd, made up of Jersey, Ayrshire, crossbreds and Friesian, was originally all Ayrshire but the move south meant my parents had to build-up cow numbers so they bought Friesians and crossbreds, mainly LIC genetics.
“I changed from LIC because I wasn’t happy with the BW system. We were getting cows with poor udders and feet and lots of lameness.
“When I first bought the herd off my parents I did a simple on-farm exercise where I’d tag the cows in order of BW eg the cow with the highest BW would receive the lowest available herd tag. Within a few years I saw that BW wasn’t reflective of the best performing cows in the herd.
“After three or four lactations low ear tag number cows (high BW) weren’t necessarily the best performing cows in the herd. I felt I was chasing rainbows when selecting on BW. It was always moving and changing. I wanted something better.
“I decided to focus on traits which were important to me ie udders, legs, feet, temperament, fertility and (of course) production. Lameness is an issue on my farm due to walking distance and track surface. I needed robust cows with good conformation which will last multiple lactations.
fAR“Overseas genetics’ firms enabled me to select from the largest sire line-up in the world and since 2016 I’ve predominantly used World Wide Sires.
“One of the drivers for going to World Wide Sires was to improve the strength of the Jerseys. I like the mix of breeds in the herd but the Jerseys were, in comparison to the crossbreds and Friesians, weak and frail. They needed to be able to hold their own in the herd and I wanted genetics which would add stature and strength to the Jerseys.
“As soon as the first Jersey calves hit the ground I could see they were more robust and strong than what I’d had before. They grow on well and more than hold their own with the other breeds.
“Across the herd my heifers come in with good udders which only improve as they move on in the herd. We’re consistently getting nice udders which sit well between their back legs and don’t impede walking.
“I’m getting the animal I want in the herd and am not worried about their BW. I keep good herd records which show the production I achieve and that speaks louder than anything.”
The Mate programme
“Across the herd I want moderately sized cows, with no extremes either small or tall and the flexibility of the World Wide Sires’ Mate programme helps me achieve that.
“I like to nominate each cow and the Mate programme makes it simple to select a range of bulls which will complement or improve each cow.
“I simply select the bulls and the Mate programme provides me with the first, second and third choice so even if I’m not here it’s easy for another member of the team to select the right one.
“The Mate programme makes my life simple.”