Last chance win for young farm manager

Dairy farm manager Richard Ray, of Clydevale, pictured with one of the cows from his Array Holsteins stud, was pleased when one of his two-year-old heifers won the national Holstein Friesian New Zealand Broomfield Senior Youth Heifer competition last year
Dairy farm manager Richard Ray, of Clydevale, pictured with one of the cows from his Array Holsteins stud, was pleased when one of his two-year-old heifers won the national Holstein Friesian New Zealand Broomfield Senior Youth Heifer competition last year and another won it this year. Photo: Yvonne O'Hara
Dairy farm manager Richard Ray, of Clydevale, was delighted when Array Ssire (Supersire) Estephine-ET VG85, a two-year-old heifer, won this year's national 2019 Broomfield Senior Youth Heifer competition.

It was good news as Mr Ray will no longer be eligible for the award next year as the cut off is 30 years of age.

The Holstein Friesian New Zealand award is for the two-year-old heifer with the highest overall points, with points awarded for traits other than production, protein BV (breeding values) and heifer ownership.

''I also won the Broomfield award last year, with a full sister to this year's winner,'' he said.

''It is a very good cow family which has bred on very well for me, and it's great for them to get the recognition as I will no longer be eligible for the Broomfield, so it is good to get a couple of wins right at the end.''

Mr Ray manages the 200ha dairy property for his parents Stephen and Judith Ray, near Clydevale and they also have a 150ha run off.

''We converted this farm in 1999 from a sheep and beef farm.''

They have a 38-bale herringbone milking shed and the cows that remain on the property during winter are housed in Herd Homes, which are also used as feed pads when needed during the season.

They milk 460 pedigree Holsteins with an average production of 530kgMS per cow.

''Last season was very dry and we were a little lower at 520kgMS per cow.

''I want to get up to 600kgMS, but it will take a few years.''

His parents have the Raymac Holstein stud, while he has the Array Holsteins Stud, with his cows forming about 25% of the property's herd.

''My cows are pretty good, all-round animals.

''I look for cows that pass on quality genetics

''I breed for capacity, with good udders, wide sloping rumps for calving ease, high protein and good production.

''I have been breeding for high production animals who will last in the herd for many years.

''Last season the fat production was worth more than the protein for the first time but I don't know how long that is going to last, so I don't intend to change too much.''

He uses AI from bulls selected from LIC, ST Genetics, World Wide Sires, Ambreed and Semex, with about 60% from New Zealand bulls and the rest from either American or Canadian bulls.

''I think it's important to look for genetic diversity in the breed."

His father, who recently retired as a director of the association, picked up the award on his behalf at the annual conference in June.

He has an old cow, Rose, which, at 19, is retired on their run-off, which he showed as a pet calf.

However, he no longer shows animals.

Spotty, another favourite, keeps Rose company and is also retired.

When not working on the farm Mr Ray enjoys playing cricket and indoor bowls.

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