Despite having the equal best Jersey herd and second best Holstein herd in Australia according to the latest Australian Breeding Values, Katunga dairy farmer Daryl Hoey remains a humble man.
Having maintained the title of best Jersey herd for more than a decade, he places the reason behind his success on a considered and consistent effort.
Milking more than 300 cows on his 150ha property, which comprises 60 per cent Jerseys and 20 per cent of each Holsteins and Australian Reds, Mr Hoey said the accolades had taken years of work.
‘‘I’ve just spent many years obviously using the right bulls,’’ he said.
‘‘I pretty much only use bulls based off the Australian system and I’ve always placed a lot of emphasis on protein, production overall and fertility. They’ve probably been the priority, and then udders after that.’’
Mr Hoey places a strong emphasis on fertility and said considering the issues that had occurred across the Australian dairy cow population in past decades, it was always a key factor in his selections.
‘‘It’s just something I think we can do better at. We’ve spent probably 15 years not placing enough emphasis on it and ended up with definitely a fertility issue across the whole population, and it’s a slow process to fix it,’’ he said.
‘‘I think fertility is a big driver in profitability. I still want my cows to calve every 12 months. We don’t always achieve it, but that’s the goal.
‘‘So by trying to place my emphasis on fertility, hopefully (I can) try and fix a lot of the problems that have happened across Australia in the last 20 years.’’
While Mr Hoey places great considerations into the genetics in the herd, he maintains that it’s about improving the overall herd and ensuring it will ultimately suit Australian conditions and deliver quality production.
‘‘It’s still the milk cheque that pays the bills,’’ he said.