Home' NZ Dairy Farmer : March 2011 Contents 62 The Dairyman MARCH 2011
WILLEM and Carla van de
Veen are no strangers to
taking on a challenge.
Having emigrated from Holland to
New Zealand in 1990, Willem, an ex-
mounted policeman and armed-
defenders officer, returned to doing
what he’d been brought up with,
dairying. Carla, a real estate agent
and sculptor, rolled up her sleeves
too and the job of building a new life
began. Following 18 months manag-
ing a Waikato unit, the couple bought
their own dairy farm at Te Aroha.
After selling the farm 11 years
later, the couple spent time travelling
around the USA and Canada and
Mexico gathering ideas for their
On their return home, they got down to
building their luxurious lodge from scratch.
It took seven years to build what is now
“Manawa Ridge”, from recycled timbers
and energy-efficient material, such as straw
bales and mud bricks.
In between building stages they returned
to the cows, working as artificial insemina-
tors. They first worked for LIC in the
Southland region, did a short stint in
Australia, and more recently were with the
private New Zealand company, Samen NZ.
“We were offered an opportunity by
Samen to do some of their client herds in the
mid Canterbury region, this suited us better
than Southland as it started earlier and we
could return home to the lodge in time for
the Christmas holiday season,” Carla said.
In the 2010 season the couple inseminat-
ed 17,400 cows in just under seven weeks,
with Willem doing the inseminations and
Carla loading the pistolettes and keeping
“I have been in this industry for some
time now and don’t know if we can speak of
a world record, I certainly have not heard of
anyone doings these numbers in such a short
time frame before,” Samen’s Cees van Baar
“However what is of equal importance to
us, is conception rates and the quality of
work they deliver. After three years working
for us we only received very positive feed-
back from our farmer clients, in fact they do
anything to have them come back again next
“We just enjoy doing it and working with
farmers and their staff is like returning to
your roots. We live an interesting life, from
hosting wonderful guests from all over the
world to rolling up your sleeves and starting
an AB run at 5 am inseminating 500 cows in
a day,” Mr van de Veen said.
One of their farmer clients are Martin and
Linsey Furrer from Longlands Dairy in
Hinds, who milk 1200 cows, half cross-
breeds and the other half Friesians. They
maintain a seasonal farming system
and have in 2010 completed five
weeks AI, all with Samen sires.
“We first used some Samen sires
in 2009 as we like to breed more
production into our herd. We have
started feeding grain as part of the
diet and aim to lift production from
480kg MS to over 500kg MS per
“At first we were reluctant to go
all out with Samen genetics as we
wanted to be assured of calving
ease and issues such as BW. Also,
can they provide a similar high
level of service we received from
our traditional supplier, LIC?
When the cows calved last spring
we had actually a lot less calving trouble
with the Samen product than what we had
with the traditional. We also purchased 40
crossbreed heifers by Samen bulls and they
are out-performing our own animals, the
confirmation of the animals is also very
good and we can see the udders hold out
well with the extra production we get from
them, this is exactly what we try to achieve,”
Mr Furrer said.
The Furrers milk their 1200 cows twice a
day through a 50-bail rotary, so technicians
Willem and Carla had to come in twice a
day to inseminate, once at 6am and again in
The cows were colour-coded to ensure the
right type of bull was used on the cows, a
very practical way of using a selective nom-
inated service, which doesn’t slow down the
technicians at all.
“We were not unhappy with our tradition-
al supplier but Samen has proved to us they
can do an excellent job. As well, we defi-
nitely hope to see Willem and Carla return
next year with the Samen product. We’ve
also visited their lodge and can recommend
it to farmers wanting a relaxing week-end
off the farm,” Mr Furrer said.
Visit www.manawaridge.co .nz and call
Samen on 0800 220 232.
Skilled inseminators enjoy challenge
Loving and living the challenges . . . Willem and Carla van
de Veen. Below: Martin Furer of Longlands Dairy.
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