A Word About Our Cows

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Posted in Cows
on September 10, 2013
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We often get asked about our cows. What kind are they? How do we breed them? How many do we have? How much milk do they produce?

Well…. The Pines has been a predominately Holstein herd since the 1950’s when Kels’ Grandfather decided to move on from using the Illawarra Shorthorns and mixed breed cattle that had previously featured in The Pines milking herd. He gained interest in the Holstein breed due to their larger frames, higher quality & quantity of milk, and their ability to adapt to environmental conditions.

'The Holstein breed originated in the Rhine Delta region of north-western Europe and developed into the distinctive black and white dairy breed in the North Holland and West Friesian regions of the Netherlands.

In 1886, one bull and six female animals arrived at Epping north of Melbourne from the Netherlands via New Zealand. In 1892, the foundation herd expanded to other parts of Victoria and the south coast of NSW’.
 
Excerpt taken from www.holstein.com.au

 

Photos: Top - Champion Cow at Sydney Show 1914.  Bottom - The Pines Rudolph Joanne, 1st place at International Dairy Week. 2yo Class

Garry took over the breeding programme in the 1970’s and the herd rose in numbers to approximately 120 cows. We had previously been limited to breeding our cows with whichever bulls we had bred ourselves or ones that were accessible in the local area. Then, due to the advances in Artificial Insemination and breeding technology, we were able to access the best bloodlines from around the world; mainly from the highly sought after Holsteins in Canada and America.


Garry successfully bred and showed a number of animals at Sydney Royal Show and International Dairy Week – winning classes and gaining a reputation for breeding excellent cows from excellent bloodlines. Two of the founding Holstein cows purchased by Kels’ Grandfather – Roslyn and Joanna – still have progeny being milked by us today!

Our cows are predominately pasture fed, supplemented on good quality lucerne hay and natural grains like lupins and wheat. By feeding our cows on different pastures we allow for a natural fluctuation in taste and quantity – In summer, with the increased sunshine and flourishing of fast growing kikuyu, we get lots of lighter, crisper milk; while in winter the cows produce slightly less milk that has a fuller, creamer finish due to the heavier, slower growing rye grasses and clover.

We have always believed that maintaining optimal herd health and wellbeing should be our highest priority. With healthy cows we get high quality and nutritious milk. The combination of our breeding programme and natural farming philosophies has allowed us to achieve just that……happy cows producing excellent milk!!

Over the last 20 years we have slowly down sized the herd and are currently only milking 28 cows. The are each know by name, with the herd currently containing ‘Dream’, ‘Pearl’, ‘Sherry’, ‘Patricia’ and ‘Fay’, - to name a few. We milk them twice a day – early in the morning and late in the afternoon - with each cow producing, on average, 30L of milk a day.

Right, so there’s a little insight into our cows. There is far more detail I could and will go into, but for now….

‘Till next time……