Dairy farm equity managers Terry and Jacqui Carr, of Clydevale, finalists in the Otago Ballance Farm Envronment Awards earlier this year, continue to meet their strategic goals of maintaining a sustainable business and farming environment. Photo by Yvonne O'Hara
A sustainable business and farming environment as well as
happy staff are key goals for Terry and Jacqui Carr's
strategy for the Argyll Dairy Farm Partnership.
To date, they are pretty much on track with those goals.
Mr and Mrs Carr, who were 2013 Otago Ballance Farm
Environment Awards finalists, and five other investors formed
a partnership to buy a Clydevale sheep, deer and fattening
property, which was then converted to milk 850 cows in
As the business grew, the couple moved from milking to equity
management and employed contract milkers, Chris and Sandra
Campbell, plus five full-time staff.
The property now runs 1230 cows in five herds, which are
milked in two milking sheds.
The partnership bought a neighbouring property, giving it
332ha effectively, and operates an intensive farming system,
which has consistently improved production.
This season's milk solid target was 500,000kg milk solids,
compared with 474,000kg/ms last season and 460,000kg/ms the
season before, Mr Carr said.
They recently added a second cowshed so the cows would not
have so far to walk.
As they are next to the Clutha River, considerable planning
went into the layout of the property's lanes and fencing so
stock could still be milked during flooding.
Production, stock maintenance and animal health were high
priorities, Mr Carr said.
The cows are high-performance and have an average BW of 92
and PW of 107.
''We monitor our stock, particularly our higher-production
''Our priority is feeding the older higher-performing cows,''
Mr Carr said.
''We could put an extra 2kg of feed into the heifers, but the
returns would not be as good as 2kg going into the older cows
that produce more.''
Some of the higher-producing cows wear pedometers to measure
the number of kilometres they walk in a day, and they were
weighed twice a day to monitor condition.
''With cows, they can lose 15% of internal body fat before we
see an external loss,'' he said.
Animal health has improved considerably since the
installation of the new cowshed.
They used to have 40 or 50 cows with foot problems at any one
time but that had dropped to five to 10, he said.
The couple were pleased with their success in this year's
Otago BFE Awards; it was the first time they had entered.
They had won the LIC Dairy Farm Award and the Meridian Energy
Mrs Carr said the awards were a means to measure themselves
against industry standards and to become more aware of any
on-farm improvements that needed to be done.
''The judges gave us a different perspective,'' Mr Carr said.
The couple had made fencing off a buffer zone to prevent
stock access to waterways and flood protection and control
priorities, goals which were recognised by the judges.
They have also focused on riparian planting, which is vital
for bank protection.
Parts of the farm had been prone to flooding several times a
year, but that had not happened for some time, Mr Carr said.
Health and safety and risk management are also key focuses.
The Meridian award recognised their successful focus on
environmental sustainability and energy efficiency, including
using heat-exchange units in the two dairy sheds, while the
new shed has a lightweight fibreglass-composite rotary
platform that requires less power to operate.
''We have made all seven homes on the property as
energy-efficient as possible,'' Mrs Carr said.
''If anything needs fixing, we try to do it straight away.
''We want to look after our staff and keep them happy.''
- Yvonne O'Hara