The main dairy herd comprises of approximately 330 cows. Altogether on the property there are 600 cows – which includes dry milkers, heifers and calves. There is a variety of breeds including Holsteins, Aussie Red, Ayrshire, Brown Swiss, Guernsey and Jersey.
The cows are grass fed on the farm using rotational grazing of irrigated land – whereby the cows eat a fresh patch of grass of each day, and do not return to that grass for another 30 to 40 days while their manure breaks down and the grass regenerates.
The cows are kept cool with overhead sprinklers while waiting to be milked – especially on hot days, and all of the animals are closely monitored in extreme weather events.
The cows will be milked for 10 months of the year, and have 2 months off per year.
The calving paddock is next to the main house which allows 24 hours’ surveillance of pregnant cattle, ensuring immediate assistance if necessary.
A calf will stay with its mother until it’s had an adequate intake of colostrum. The calves are then hand raised by Jess Chandler – Mark’s daughter. Her degree in animal science is a valuable tool, not only for the calf rearing, but also on the farm in general.
Bobby calves stay on the farm until they are strong enough to be re-homed. The bobby calves are sold to suitable buyers who demonstrate they have appropriate calf rearing facilities. No bobby calves are sold as veal.