Jason Turner is a third generation Waikato dairy farmer. As a team, Jason and his wife Rowan milk 410 crossbreed cows and raise the calves. They adopt a 20% replacement model, Herd-test 6 times a year and wean the calves strictly on live-weight.

With a herd BW of 82 but a PW of 121, the Turners milk production has increased by 12% from 1.24 to 1.39kgMS/day. “We’ve been raising our calves on the Queen of Calves Programme since 2006. I raised a few beefies to start with, and was impressed,” says Jason. “I started because of the economics of the programme with less milk out of the vat.” But Rowan used Queen of Calves for an entirely different reason. “A lot of the calves had rotavirus, it’s amazing, the way they bounce back after rotavirus,” she says. Here’s a snapshot of the Turner’s production figures for the year ended 2011, when their two year old animals had been raised on the Queen of Calves Programme:

2 year olds out produced 5 year olds by 1.7%
2 year olds out produced 6 year olds by 3.6%
3 year olds out did 5 year olds by 14%
3 year old out did the 6 year olds by 16.5%

In 2011, the Turners two year old cows produced 35% more daily milk-solids than the Waikato average. This, on a farm where production had historically been on par with the region.

“ Farmers don’t like change. If their calf system works, it’s fine, leave it as is. For us, it’s all about productivity. Look at the cost of production, we’ve gone from 121,000kg/MS to 144,000 on the same number of cows.”
Jason Turner

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