NZ Dairy Autumn 2021

70 | nz dairy DAIRY PEOPLE » Kieran & Olivia Clough Fast-tracked dairy Photos: Kieran and Olivia’s cousin, Raya, hitches a ride on Donald the bull. Donald gets a friendly scratch from Kieran. Karen Phelps Y oung Taranaki based farmers Kieran and Ol- ivia Clough have just taken on their first 50:50 sharemilking position. And as they finish their first season they have already achieved a new farm production record, increasing milk solids by 24%. Located five minutes from Eltham, the Cloughs are milking a herd of 255 predominantly Friesian cows on the 92ha effective/101ha total farm through a 20 aside herringbone shed. The farm’s previous production record was 93,000 kgMS but the Cloughs are on target to achieve 117,000 kgMS and without buying in any supplement. They have done this by a careful focus on pasture management. Kieran doesn’t do pasture walks but instead uses his expertise to interpret weather conditions and soil temperature to make good decisions. By adjusting rotation length he has managed to minimise stalks and seed heads to ensure the grass is as palatable as possible so cows are encouraged to eat everything in the paddocks. They make supplement on farm where possible and also pay a neighbour per bale to grow sup- plement on a 5ha block next door. In addition they use the block to pay per head for winter grazing. It works out cheaper than having to lease the block year round and is an arrangement that works well for both parties, says Kieran. The correct feeding has helped the herd to peak better this season at 2.4 kgMS per day compared with 1.9 kgMS the season before. Kieran has achieved a lot in his career so far. At 21 he was managing his parents’ farm and a year later took on a lower order sharemilking position on the unit. He and Olivia now own their own 41ha effective run off and also own 100 cows they lease back to his parents after he completed 11 seasons on their farm. He eased the transition to a new farm manager and staff by employing the right people on behalf of his parents before he left. Olivia is new to farming. Previously she worked in town in an administration role and this year is her first year full time on the farm and she has taken to it enthusiastically milking, rearing calves and doing the farm bookwork. Kieran says that she is simply loving it. “She said she’d never work in town again,” he says with a laugh. The Cloughs are enjoying not employing staff and the freedom this has given them to adjust their operation to be flexible to suit their needs. “We have changed the milking times and if we’re out we don’t feel like we have to rush back to the farm by a certain time. It’s been really good,” says Kieran who notes they have also been generally tidying up the farm, including fixing fences and gates, to make day-to-day management easier. The Cloughs purchased the mature herd that was already on the farm and are focused on maximising its potential. Pregnancy tests revealed a 15% empty rate – something Kieran is not used to – and so he will focus on nutrition, particularly energy require- ments during mating, consider using interventions as required and cull out the problematic animals. Somatic cell counts have been another chal- lenge. Although they are lower this season that the previous one they have still averaged just below 200,000. Kieran would like to see this figure halve. Kieran admits his fast tracked dairy career hasn’t been easy but with calculated risk taking, hard work and sacrifice the couple are on target to purchase their own farm in the next few years. This is good timing as their first child is on the way, due in August, so the next generation is about to be born into this successful farming family. Dairy Effluent Specialists www.taranakief 06 756 6054 021 111 5143 54 Matai Street, Inglewood 4330 EFFLUENT SYSTEMS At Lloyd Gernhoefer agricultural contracting, we o er you a wide range of Agricultural services. Call Lloyd now for your 2020 season requirements. 027 446 0443 19a King Edward St, Eltham o Electrical Contractor Rural, Residential & Commercial For ALL your electrical requirements Call Phil: 027 444 2226 or 06 765 7868 Email: Proud Service Provider to Kieran Clough PB ELECTRICAL FarmSupplies CONSTRUCTION 06 764 7004 25a North Street, Eltham 06 764 7003 143 Bridge Street, Eltham 06 764 7004 25a North Street, Eltham