A trial of sexed semen three years ago ignited one Tasmanian dairy farming family's passion for breeding and laid a foundation for the business's future.
Stuart and Kylie Nailer milk 215 cows at Ringarooma, in Tasmania’s north-east, with their children – Sophie, 14, Kaiden, 13, McKenzie, 11 and Oaklea, 8. They moved from Queensland six years ago, initially buying the farm in partnership with Stuart’s parents.
Since 2014 the herd has recorded a 425% rise in Balanced Performance Index (BPI), a measure of the traits that contribute to profitable dairy businesses. It now sits at about $105.
The sexed semen result provided a boost for the family in what was otherwise a tough year with farmgate milk price cut and drought.
“That year we did the experiment with the sexed semen, it was a really good result,” Stuart said.“We had 25 heifers and got 60% in calf. We were stoked.”From this joining, the couple decided to focus on breeding Holsteins rather than the Jersey-Holstein and three-way way cross which they had been breeding. Stuart and Kylie both believe there’s more opportunity for gains with Holsteins and have made the most of tools such as genomics and corrective mating in recent years.
They ramped-up their use of sexed semen across both heifers and cows and this coming year plan to sell no bobby calves. Instead, they will use sexed semen to breed replacements and an Angus mop-up to provide calves for the local F1-market.
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