News & Advice

Dairy grazing- sometimes you wonder if it’s really worth it!

May 4, 2020 | Dry stock, Grazing youngstock

Ashley O’Driscol, Veterinarian, Anexa Vets Ngaruawahia

Admit it, sometimes you wish you didn’t graze dairy heifers. Or maybe you occasionally consider grazing heifers but don’t want the hassle of dealing with the dairy farmer! (I didn’t say that!)

Dairy grazing works for the grazier because it is reliable monthly income on a sheep/beef farm that is otherwise based on seasonal bills/income with unpredictable Works schedules and store prices.

How about making your life a bit easier? What if expectations were made clear early on? Often, as vets, we hear our graziers complain that the dairy farmer never comes out to check his stock and then complains about them when they come home!

Consider drawing up a contract. Beef and lamb have good resources available around the dairy farmer-grazier relationship, and so does DairyNZ (these are worth looking at). Establish a list of potential problems that need a plan (Who pays for feed in a drought? who pays the vet? Etc).

If you are uncomfortable drawing up a contract, try first discussing the big issues with the dairy farmer. This doesn’t have to happen before the cattle arrive, but it does need to happen before there is a problem. If you want any guidance or want to run some ideas by your vet, feel free to call your local Anexa vet to discuss!

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