Young cow on top dairy list

By Geoff Adams

Berrigan dairy farmer Graeme Spunner liked the sound of a young cow doing 15,000 litres in her second lactation; and once he saw her in the paddock, knew he had to have her.

This month the young cow joined a select list which had delivered more than 20,000 litres in one lactation.

She was bred by Mr Spunner's friends and master breeders Russell and Kerry Eagle of Finley, and Mr Spunner is quick to point out he can't take credit for the genetics.

But he does know a good cow when he sees one and the Spunners know how to feed them.

“I went through Russell's catalogue and picked this one out. I went to the farm several days before the sale, and when I saw her I said to myself: ‘That's one hell of a cow.'”

A few days and $4400 later, Eagle Ridge Bradnick Legume has made her home on the 500 ha dairy farm at Berrigan with about 300 other Holsteins in the herd.

In her third lactation she produced 21,598 litres in a 294-day lactation. In that time she accounted for 536 kg of fat and 633 kg of protein.

This places her third on the Holstein Australia list recording cows which have produced more than 20,000 litres.

The Spunners also have a second cow on the list, Sharett Park Natalia Lulu, who produced 21,229 litres in 305 days.

The Spunners have a number of high-performing cows in the commercial herd and put it down to feeding them right.

They take advice from Lancefield nutritionist, Daniel Huggins from the Dairy Business Centre and feed a tailored mix in the bails, using cow ID technology; and they measure the outputs through a program developed by Easy Dairy.

“We can tell exactly what they are doing and if they are sick or need attention,” Heather Spunner said.

They don't bother with summer pastures, but feed the herd from a mixer wagon on a sacrifice paddock.

The Spunners also purchased Bradnick Legume's daughter from the Eagle Ridge dispersal sale in Echuca in July, because they don't know how many heifers the cow will give them.

They will also be keeping the last bull to be born to Bradnick Legume because of his excellent genetic background.