Home' NZ Dairy Farmer : January 2011 Contents 40 The Dairyman JANUARY 2011
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own from the family partnership and it took
time to re-establish their business.
Instead of the show ring, they entered their
animals in the On-Farm competition, which
required no work on their part since the
judges come to the farm. They have had
seven champions or reserve champions in
the national competition since its inception
seven years ago. This year, 664 animals
competed from 106 farms throughout the
"That is what our herd has been all about
in recent years," Alister said.
The Sherriff family's most recent champi-
on, Deloraine Talent Mandy, is a cow other
breeders are quickly becoming acquainted
with because of her conformation and her
production. Mandy won the On-Farm's com-
petitive glamour class -- the five-year-olds in
2010. She was one of three Talent daughters
which took the first three places in that class.
Mandy comes from a deep resume and she
was also the country's finest three-year-old
in the On-Farm competition in 2008.
She is not only classified EX. Just four
generations back in her pedigree is one of
New Zealand's former national production
record holders, Deloraine BA Madge EX
(whose son was sold to Australia for
$18,500). Mandy is from a VG88 Shoremar
Mason x VG88 Councillor x Warden x
Mandy last completed lactation was
12,500 litres, 3.5 per cent 439kg protein, 3.3
per cent 413kg fat (more than 850kg MS).
She was recently crowned Canterbury's third
best protein producing Holstein and its fifth
highest volume cow.
"The On-Farm competition is a fantastic
thing because it gives those who don't show
the chance to compete without any effort,"
Alister said. "It's an easy way of getting our
cows out there. It gives us all a great boost to
do well in it and the first year we won a title
we were elated. It was incredible really."
And while showing has not been a consid-
eration in the past 15 years, the Deloraine
prefix is now starting to re-enter the show
world as 23-year-old James flexes his mus-
cles in the operation. The family recently
invested a New Zealand record price of
$31,000 for an animal (a Shottle grand-
daughter to the 2005 and 2007 International
Dairy Week champion cow Fairvale Jed
Bonnie). They have also sold a milking
heifer for a former New Zealand high price
"We're working to breed good cows that
hopefully will be able to still do well at the
shows," James said.
Alister and Bridget stand firmly behind
James re-enforcing a tight team effort that
includes their daughter, Moya, in a support-
While the cows remain a primary focus
and passion, the rest of the operation is also
finely tuned. Two employees are included in
the mix and the farm's cropping regime
makes it virtually self-sufficient.
Six hectares a year is sown in wheat; bar-
ley is sown in 30ha; maize accounts for 10ha
and lucerne is planted in 12ha.
The herd is fed four kg of barley in the 32-
stand computerised (one-man) rotary dairy,
which is crushed on-farm through the fami-
ly's roller mill.
One nine-span centre pivot irrigates the
home farm and two more pivots are being
This operation's daily workload is
undoubtedly significant, and it has many
irons in the fire but it has now been publicly
acknowledged for staying true to its breed-
ing and farming philosophies. And this herd
is also poised to be centre stage in the show
ring once again.
"The awards are nice because they tell us
that we're heading in the right direction,"
Alister said. "But we don't feel any differ-
ently really. Yes, there is a sense of satisfac-
tion, but we're striving to improve all the
"There is no question that dairy farming is
a hard life, but an interesting one.
"One that we still enjoy and one that
James wants to pursue."
team for many
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