Dairy farmer and stud breeder Geoffrey Wilson believes in
treating his cows well and with respect. Photo by Yvonne O'Hara
Geoffrey Wilson is a dairy man through and through. He is a
firm believer in treating his animals well and with respect
''every single day'', particularly as his cows work hard to
provide an income for him.
As part-owner of 120ha West Mains Farm at Maungatua, in
partnership with his parents Philip and Heather Wilson, he
also runs the Telesis Holstein-Friesian stud.
He is also the property's 50-50 sharemilker, milking 300
''The herd has a BW of 190 and a PW of 252,'' Mr Wilson said.
They also have a 65ha run-off, which is used for cropping and
The milk solid target for the past season was 176,000kgMS and
until a few years ago he winter-milked.
The Wilson family is constantly looking at ways to improve
the efficiency, productivity and appearance of the property
and a year ago built two Herd Homes .
''They are excellent for wintering the cows in and we calve
in them as well,'' Mr Wilson said.
''They are also used as a stand-off pad.''
There are two silage bunkers.
''It is not quite ad lib feeding and we feed half grass and
half barley-whole crop mix.
''The cows also go into the paddock for hay and baleage if
it's a nice day.''
By using that system, he can prevent most paddock damage and
''We have noticed a huge drop in silage consumption since we
started using the Herd Homes in May last year. The cows are
happy and content and they utilise 99.9% of what we feed
The Herd Homes sit on top of 1.5m deep bunkers, which hold
''It is amazing how clean and dry the shelters are.
''It has to be better for them when calving and we only lost
one calf stillborn last year.''
Mr Wilson said he had extensive regrassing, refencing and
planting plans for the property.
''I planted 4000 native, gum and poplar trees last year and
planted another 3000 this year. I am a bit of a greenie and I
enjoy doing it, especially when you see the results.
Enhancing the property is part of his five-year plan, and is
making it a better place to work.
''I want to be more proactive, rather than responsive to
issues on the farm to make it more enjoyable for us and
ultimately we will end up with more happy, friendly cows.
''It encourages me to get up in the morning when it is
raining or snowing and sustains me through the hard times and
encourages me to take the next steps.''
In addition to farming and managing the stud, Mr Wilson was
the 2006 Otago Sharemilker of the Year. He won the national
New Zealand Young Rural Achievers' award in 2008, in addition
to several breeding awards.
When not working, he enjoys playing drums, the guitar and
doing adventure sports, including ''skiing in stupid places,
His partner works in Dunedin and he has a Jack Russell called
- by Yvonne O'Hara