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TAS Country : March 3rd 2011
12 Friday, Mar Farm Feature Linsand Holstein stud NEW PASTURES: Lisa, Li From embryo to full-grown winner SHOW-STOPPERS: A pair of the Thompsons' show team cows. BIG DEMAND: A small herd of the embryo transfer heifers. land THIS Karolin MacGregor BUSY TIMES: Sandra and Lisa Thompson doing th DAIRYING is not just about producing milk, to the Thompson family. The family's love of breeding and showing top quality cows has evolved over the past 26 years into what is becoming a thriving business. Lindsay and Sandra Thompson started dairying as sharefarmers at Ringarooma and later moved to a farm near Longford. ''I've always been keen on breeding the cows, I love that side of it,'' Mr Thompson said. Together with their three children --- Lisa, Tracey and Cameron --- the family moved to a new and bigger property at Bracknell seven years ago where they now run their Linsand Holstein stud. Lisa moved back to the farm from Victoria to work full time a couple of years ago. She said the 294ha property, which had been a dairy conversion, had most of the infrastructure they needed and, more importantly, the extra space. Since moving to Bracknell, the Thompsons have adjusted some of the paddock sizes to enable easier management and improved some pastures. The Thompsons run a dry land operation and milk in a 30-aside herringbone dairy. The family milk about 220 cows and operate under a year-round system. About half the herd is spring calving and the other half calves in autumn. After a number of years supplying National Foods the family decided to change over to Fonterra in 2009 and it is a decision they do not regret. Mr Thompson said the support and feedback they received from Fonterra was excellent. While milk producing is the family's bread and butter, a long-time focus on breeding top quality cows is also now starting to pay off. Lisa said, while showing had always been a hobby for the family, their decision to start taking cattle to some of the country's most prestigious shows had seen it start to develop into an important part of their business. Mr Thompson said over the past 26 years they had focused on breeding big-framed, long-lasting cows with exceptional conformation and outstanding udders. ''When you're milking 365 days a year, you want to be standing in the shed every day and looking at good cows,'' he said. ''We get a buzz out of breeding cows and breeding good cows that will last a long time.'' Mr Thompson said, while they aimed to breed well-conformed and cows with good type for the show ring, they must perform in the dairy. ''It's what they do in the dairy that pays the bills, so if they don't milk well, they have to go,'' he said. Lisa said a major focus of their farm management was on cow health and feeding their herd to get the most production possible. Rather than increase numbers, Lisa said they preferred to feed their cows for improved performance and production. To help increase efficiency in their feeding program the family are currently building a large 80m long feed pad. Mr Thompson said they hoped the pad would cut down the amount of feed wasted and give the cows somewhere dry to stand when conditions were wet in winter and spring. Since moving to the property, the Thompson's have also expanded their calf shed near the dairy and five years ago installed an automatic calf feeder.
February 24th 2011
March 10th 2011