Milking shorthorns is a little different

DIANE BISHOP
Last updated 06:10 19/03/2014
Milking shorthorn breeders Logan and Nicky Kelly are passionate about the unconventional dairy breed.
DIANE BISHOP/Fairfax NZ
EQUITY MANAGERS: Milking shorthorn breeders Logan and Nicky Kelly are passionate about the unconventional dairy breed.

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Milking shorthorns is "something a little bit different".

And that's why Logan Kelly likes the unconventional dairy breed - he's not one to follow the herd.

He's always been interested in shorthorns.

As a young boy he always took a shorthorn calf to calf club days, and even now, he likes to show the breed off at every opportunity.

He will get that chance when his herd is visited as part of the New Zealand Milking Shorthorn Association's annual conference in Southland later this month.

The Kellys are 50 per cent equity managers in a 330-cow 140 hectare dairy farm at Mataura Island.

Their herd comprises 150 shorthorn cows while the balance are friesian and they will produce about 130,000 kilograms of milk solids this season. In two years they have more than doubled production from 60,000kgMS.

Logan grew up on a Kaitangata dairy farm.

His parents Steven and Sandra Kelly bought their first shorthorn cows in 1987 and Logan soon took an interest in the breed.

"I was given 10 shorthorn calves a year to build up my own herd," Logan said.

Logan worked as a herd manager on his parents dairy farm for 10 years before taking on a role as 50 per cent sharemilker for three years.

The Kellys like the shorthorn because of its hardiness, longevity and ease of calving and they claim their top cows produce up to 600 kilograms of milk solids a season.

"And they're something a bit different," Logan said.

The shorthorn comes in three colours - red, white and roan, but when crossed with the friesian produce a blue calf.

Logan believes promotion is the key to getting the breed recognised and he regularly takes their shorthorns to the Gore, Wyndham and Balclutha A&P Shows.

"We like to make an effort to get our breed out there and show people what we've got," he said.

Their five-year-old cow Burness Empire Phil was named top milking shorthorn at the South Island Milking Shorthorn Championships in Gore last month.

"She's got a really good udder and she's a good type of dairy cow.

"I've got people telling me she's the best looking shorthorn they've seen in 50 years," Logan said.

With the limited shorthorn gene pool in New Zealand, the Kellys are turning to the Australian shorthorn cow, known as the Aussie Red, for a more "blended" cow.

"We are keeping the good shorthorn characteristics.

"We've made huge gains in the last 10 to 15 years on type and confirmation," Logan said.

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The Kellys are in the process of building up their shorthorn herd as they are converting a 350ha neighbouring farm to dairy and will milk 900 cows next season.

They aim to boost their shorthorn herd to 350 cows - about a third of their total cow numbers - but would eventually like to increase this to 60 per cent.

However, they won't get rid of their friesians.

"We need the other breed to benchmark the shorthorns against," Logan said.

Anyone interested in attending the Milking Shorthorn tour should contact Logan or Nicky Kelly - Ph: 03 206 6116

- The Southland Times

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