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Issue 1 // February 2017

It is a privilege to bring Australian farmers the first edition of the Green to Gold newsletter. The aim of this newsletter is to give farmers an update into what LIC has been focusing on, share stories on local farmers using LIC genetics and provide relevant content to farmers that may help them in their business. This edition covers some great topics. We look at what is takes to grow young stock to their full potential, we profile some of the latest 2017 sires and we also feature a young lady in Western Districts who is achieving top results through keeping things simple on farm. Having taken over the helm of at LIC Australia last August, there has certainly been plenty happening. The first few months in my role has seen myself meet many of our customers in different regions around Australia as well as acquire an understanding of the Australian dairy industry.

Mike Rose Sales and Operations Manager LIC Australia

I have been continually impressed with how farmers have adapted to the current challenges on farm and, in most cases, have gotten back to basics, focusing on using home-grown forage and feeding this to high genetic merit cows.

This same pattern has been occurring in New Zealand, which has seen two years of sustained low milk price. Many cows have been culled and imported feed has been reduced. There has only been a small drop in production but costs have been significantly reduced. (Continued on pg 2).

Having less cows has often resulted in the we have made the hard decision that will better quality cows remaining and these have cannot to continue to offer this service into been the more productive ones. the future.

Hopefully, through these challenging times, the silver lining will be farmers creating a more profitable farming system that is resilient through both good times and bad.

Through improved breeding, over time cows have become more efficient convertors of feed into milk. They also require more feed to cater to the demands of producing more milk and getting back in-calf quickly. To meet these demands farmers then have choices about how to cater to these animals: they can grow more feed on farm, bring in more imported feed or reduce the stocking rate. Hopefully, through these challenging times, the silver lining will be farmers creating a more profitable farming system that is resilient through both good times and bad. In 2017, LIC will be putting greater focus on the genetic range we offer with both the LIC and CRV ranges. We have been complementing our genetic offering with AI and other services in the Gippsland and North Victoria regions;

This was a tough decision to make as we know many farmers valued the service we provided and the quality staff employed. I would personally like to thank the farmers who have been supporting the service we have provided. We will continue to have local LIC District Managers in your region and have begun connecting farmers with other suitable service providers. This is the time of season that the new sire proofs are coming through and there is always a sense of anticipation on a Monday morning after an Animal Evaluation run to see what new graduates are putting their hand up for selection. There looks to be a number of sires that are going to be very well suited to the Australian market. There are a number of good outcross options coming through with strong type traits, carrying the usual characteristics of New Zealand genetics: positive fertility and longevity, calving ease, moderate size and high components. Keep an eye out on for our updated bull teams. Lastly, I would like to wish everyone a happy new year. I am sure we all hope 2017 will see greater prosperity in the dairy industry and farming in general.

2017 NEW ZEALAND STUDY FARM TOUR Interest is currently being sought for farmers interested in a 4 to 5 day Farm Study Tour of New Zealand in June Highlights include: • • •

Visiting high performing grazing and higher input farmers Touring of LIC bull farm and complex Attending the NZ National Agricultural Feildays.

To register your interest, contact LIC: 1800454694 I

KEEP CALM AND FARM ON With her parents over the ditch in New Zealand, Shannon Notter runs the family farm, milking a herd of 480, in Carlisle River, Victoria.

Shannon Notter on her farm in Western Victoria

Starting on 200ha and grazing their young stock off-farm, when the farm next door came up for sale the Notters jumped at the chance of adding an extra 140ha to their platform, which would allow them to raise their heifers at home and have more control over raising well-grown, healthy heifers. The new farm “will eventually make us able to have a fully closed herd, reducing risks of disease, etc,” Shannon says. Previously, heifers and dry cows were grazed about 45 minutes away so having them at home also significantly saves Shannon travel time and costs.

Shannon does not skimp on her fertilizer plan or the use of high performance AI for her replacements. “[The] farm business needs to be sustainable and profitable year-in, yearout, [so I] need a quality herd that [efficiently convert feed]. [I also] need to make the most of the land we have available and aim to grow quality feed.” This is another advantage of the investment in the new farm: “[the] new farm also provides additional homegrown feed, [which] reduces the risk of variations in feed costs from year to year,” Shannon says. Keep Quality Breeding Shannon found that her large-framed Holstein cows looked great in the paddock but were too hard to get in-calf; so, two years ago, made the decision to put LIC Jersey genetics over the whole herd. “It’s hard to look past New Zealand being able to get low empty rates. If I can’t get a low empty rate, I don’t have the ability to start culling for production and improve the herd.” She is aiming to achieve an empty rate of less than 10% from her herd.

It’s hard to look past New Zealand being able to get low empty rates. If I can’t get a low empty rate, I don’t have the ability to start culling for production and improve the herd.

Within a week of acquiring their new purchase, a bridge had already been built over the river, in order for the two farms to run smoothly as one. This is just one example of how Shannon invests back into the business for the good of the farm.

It’s still early days for her refreshed breeding strategy, but Shannon has already seen vast improvement in her herd’s calving. “Calving [was] very easy. [I] only had to pull one or two calves that had legs back, but the Holsteins don’t even know they are calving because the calves are a lot smaller.”

Keep in Control Shannon’s outlook on the farm business is to “control the ‘controllables’,” using the cost of milk solids for each season as the foundation of her budget then planning from there. There are always variables in grain prices, milk prices, climate, etc. - being aware how these affect your bottom line is important, she mentions.

Shannon is breeding for a herd of mediumsized, high-component and fertile crossbred cows. “[I] still have a large number of Holsteins, so [it] will take a few more years to get mating and calving where I want it.” far, combining the best of both breeds has given Shannon nice sized cows that are good foragers and feed converters.

So far, combining the best of both breeds has given Shannon nice sized cows that are good foragers and feed converters.


Keep Cool No Matter the Season Shannon knows farming is an ever-evolving business so, to be and stay successful, she is open to change. She says changing her calving pattern from split-calving to seasonal calving has made a big difference in the challenging season. “Everything is more streamlined and [you] don’t feel like you are chasing your tail. In low payout years [like this one] it means that I can budget more accurately and be aware of costs that can be trimmed.”

Welcome to the CRV update of Green to Gold.

Farming is a long term industry, [you need to have] flexibility in your system to make the most out of a high payout year, and to buffer yourself from low payout years.

Mark Averill Product Manager

I would like to begin with the ADHIS proof run that happened in December. The results were particularly good for CRV, as we now have the number three and number six sires on the daughter proven BPI. This has come on the back of CRV bulls being genotyped under the ADHIS model, with the results coming back favourable. Bouw Rocky, who was used as a genomic sire in Australia, sits at number three. He is a special sire due to featuring in the top three sires for all the three main indexes in Australia.

“Farming is a long term industry, [you need to have] flexibility in your system to make the most out of a high payout year, and to buffer yourself from low payout years.” She invests more back into the business in a high payout season to help improve farm costs and efficiency so, if and when a low payout season comes around, she can continue making a profit.

On the BPI he sits at number three, with a BPI of 314, on TWI he sits at number two, with a TWI of 326, and on HWI he sits at number three, with a HWI of 255. His fertility sits at 113 which is second-equal of all Daughter Proven sires.

Local LIC District Manager, Dawn Waite, says that even though Western Victoria has had a challenging season, Shannon’s stock and farm look great. Shannon estimates production at around 230,000kgMS this season – a solid improvement from last season’s 190,000kgms, and climbing closer to her goal of 250,000kgMS from 500 cows.

Number three on the BPI, Bouw Rocky

Bouw Rocky is now available in both conventional semen and sexed semen, and will be in hot demand this year. Newhouse Skyfall, also used as a genomic bull, sits at number six on the Daughter Proven BPI: BPI – 292; TWI – 250; HWI - 224; Fertility – 112.

Delta G-Force sits at a credible 17th place on the same list: BPI – 279; TWI – 236; HWI – 204; Fertility – 111. G-Force has been put to good use in Australia; with plenty of his daughters now in milk, we are getting feedback that farmers are satisfied by the G-Force cows’ moderate stature and high components. G-Force should continue to have strong interest in 2017. An eary G-Force son, Skyforce, from a Goldwyn cow, is also available in Australia (pre-order only).

Farmers are satisfied by G Force daughters’ stature and components

The genotyping also saw some genomic sires make the grade, so we are now working on which bulls are going to appeal the most to Australian dairy farmers. Two bulls Bouw Finder and Peak Hotline will appeal to the stud breeders. Both of these bulls are already being used to sire sons all around the world and are getting new enquires every day. The Bouw prefix is renowned for breeding sires in the Netherlands, and the Peak breeding programme in the USA is a name that everyone is now following. Flevo Genetics Whatsapp RF is a bull from the Dutch breeding programme that we launched here last autumn.

Whatsapp displays great scores for calving ease and udders

Full details for all the bulls can be viewed online: Australian Jerseys Last October LIC and CRV had the pleasure of sponsoring part of the North Western Jersey Cattle Breeders Club day. Around 40 people, including two of our district managers, Rowan Priest and Sharyn Collins, attended the day, which was held around the Lockington District in North Victoria. A total of four farms were visited, from which a good number of first calving daughters from CRV’s Pannoo Brax were on show. The overall opinion on these cows was positive; they are very capacious cows with very good udders, true to his linear projection.

One of Pannoo Brax’s first calving daughters

He is a calving ease specialist, achieving 112, with high scores for udder (111), also.

We are looking forward to the results of the LTEs, which are due very soon.

Whatsapp has been used to sire sons, resulting in four very good young sires coming through. This will include a full red son, Delta Webmail, as well as Delta Magister, Delta Dairyman and Delta Wisent RF.

The results of the Australian Jersey Programme show Jerseys are punching well above their weight – two bulls are in the top 10BPI Daughter proven and are showing the traits farmers desire.

GET THE MOST OUT OF YOUR GENETICS Joyce Voogt, LIC Reproduction Solutions Manager, explains how growing heifers well delivers real benefits.

While gains have also been made out to 22 months of age, there is still some way to go to meet the 22 month target. See Figure 1.

Dairy heifer performance and survival in the herd is a hot topic internationally, with good reason. Heifers that reach their mature-liveweightbased growth targets have been seen to deliver both productive and reproductive benefits to the dairy farmer, helping to drive the bottom line on-farm6. Recent LIC research backs up previous studies and suggests that for every 1% closer to liveweight breeding value based targets heifers are at 22 months, farmers can expect close to 2 kg milk solids extra in the first and second lactation1, 5. Not only that, heifers that were 20% below their 22 month target had noticeably lower 3 week submission and 6 week in-calf rates.

Figure 1. Mean live-weight of spring born heifers by ‘standard age’ compared to MINDA™ target algorithm

Are the targets realistic? Yes, top performers are achieving target, as can be seen in the purple line in Figure 2 below. On average overall, heifers achieved their live weight target at 6 and 15 months but failed to meet it at 22 months.

It’s no surprise to most dairy farmers that poorly grown heifers generally struggle to survive and thrive in the herd. Historically this has been a problem area for New Zealand farmers4. Good News: The good news is that farmers have taken up the challenge and are starting to make real gains in heifer growth1. In recent years those that are monitoring heifer growth through the first two years of life by weighing heifers and entering the liveweights into MINDA™ have shown significant gains. On average their heifers are now achieving target liveweight at the key milestones of 6 and 15 months.

Figure 2. Percentage deviation from MINDA™ weights guideline for average of age group compared to national median (2014 borns)

So what can farmers do to grow better heifers? • Set the targets. Heifers should weigh the following percentages of expected mature liveweight at the listed ages 2,3 • Weigh them 4-6 weekly to track growth.

• Manage heifers that are falling behind before they are more than 10% below target. New Zealand heifer growers have found that if heifers deviate off their target growth path by more than 10% it is very difficult to catch them up when relying on seasonal grass growth patterns alone. • Make sure they hit puberty and get in calf quickly as yearlings, so they can calve down quickly in the herd. The closer they are to the key milestones of mating at 15 months or calving at 24 months, the closer to the target line they need to be. • 6 months of age – 30% • 15 months of age - 60% ( key target at first mating milestone) • 22 months of age – 90% (key target for first calving milestone at 24 months) How do I calculate mature liveweight? • you can calculate this using sire information ( sire liveweight breeding values) and the dam liveweight information, or • weigh your 5 year old cows of the same genetic mix in mid-lactation to determine expected mature liveweight and remember to correct it to a standardised body condition score of NZ 4.5.

• Once in the herd, manage them carefully so they can compete, get back in calf again quickly and deliver the benefits for

Heifers that reach their mature-liveweight-based growth targets have been seen to deliver both productive and reproductive benefits to the dairy farmer, helping to drive the bottom line on-farm6.

Key point: Get the best out of the genetics you purchase by growing your replacements to their breeding value based target liveweights and set them up for a productive and profitable life. References:

1. Handcock, R.C., Lopdell, T.J., McNaughton, L.R. 2016. More dairy heifers are achieving liveweight targets. Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, 76: 3-7 2. Burke, C., Blackwell, M. and S. Little ed. 2007. The InCalf book for New Zealand dairy farmers. Hamilton, DairyNZ, p.42 3. Bryant, J.R., Holmes, C.W., Lopez-Villalobos, N., McNaughton, L. R., Brookes, I.M., Verkerk, G.A., Pryce, J.E. 2004. Use of breeding values for live weight to calculate individual targets for dairy heifers. Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, 64:118-121 4. McNaughton, L.R., Lopdell, T. 2012. Are dairy heifers achieving liveweight targets?. New Zealand Society of Animal Production, 72:120–122 5. McNaughton, L.R., Lopdell, T. 2013. Effect of heifer liveweight on calving pattern and milk production. Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, 73: 103-107

Research suggests heifers that reach their mature-liveweight-based targets are more productive in driving the bottom line on-farm

6. McNaughton, L.R., Voogt, J. 2013. Youngstock – an investment that lasts a lifetime. Proceedings of South Island Dairy Event 4.3 past-proceedings/




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CONTACT US Office & Administration Mike Rose

Sales & Operations Manager M +61 407 708 677 E

Mark Averill (CRV)

CRV Product Manager M +61 499 900 612 E

Liz McVey

Office Manager P +61 3 9334 2326 E

Western Victoria & South Australia Mike Waite

District Manager CENTRAL & SOUTH AUSTRALIA M +61 428 566 362 E

Dawn Waite

District Manager WESTERN VICTORIA & KING ISLAND M +61 428 144 111 E

Northern Victoria Rowan Priest

District Manager NORTHERN M +61 429 944 169 E

Gippsland Mark Averill

District Manager CENTRAL & SOUTH M +61 499 900 612 E

Mike Rose

District Manager MAFFRA & WEST M +61 407 708 677 E

Tasmania & Other States Mike Waite

District Manager TASMANIA M +61 428 566 362 E

Mike Rose

District Manager NEW SOUTH WALES & QUEENSLAND M +61 407 708 677 E

Dawn Waite

District Manager WESTERN AUSTRALIA M +61 428 144 111 E

Green to Gold - Summer 2017