Ayrshire's quiet temperament a winning trait

JILL GALLOWAY
Last updated 12:48 17/06/2014
A mob of ayrshire cows.
Fairfax NZ

RED AND WHITE: A mob of ayrshire cows. Devotees like their longevity, quiet temperament, foraging ability and milk production. Photo: Fairfax N

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Ayrshire dairy cows can hold their own against other dairy breeds, say people at the National Ayrshire Conference, held in Palmerston North last week.

About 80 people from Northland to Southland gathered for the Manrapa (Manawatu and Wairarapa) run conference.

One of the organisers, Margaret Graham said people liked the ayrshire breed, because they were quiet, long-lived, a moderate size and produced well.

They are less popular than the jerseys and holstein-friesians.

But some people had a few in their herd, Graham said.

She, like many others, runs ayrshires with jerseys.

Graham and her husband have 180 cows near Woodville.

The conference people had a walk around Mike and Suzy Booth's Thorndon Park farm, near Longburn. They have 750 cows, with half the herd jersey and the other half ayrshire.

Mike Booth said the temperament of ayrshires, even when they first calved, was great.

"We have students from Massey University working on the farm.

"They start and they know nothing of the breed - but when they work with them, they have a change of attitude and like them."

He said the cows were run at a stocking rate of 3.4 to the hectare, and they were in the business to produce.

"If the ayrshires couldn't compete - then they'd be gone. But they do."

A recent sale of ayrshires was a success, Graham said.

"There was a top price of $15,000 for a cow and the average for cows was $5566. All 17 cows, calves and heifers sold."

The average price for in-calf heifers was $6014 and one-year old calves, $3528.

The next annual conference will be in Southland next year.

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- Waikato Times

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