Case Study - Ben Gordon

Dairy Support Operation Finds Meeting Targets Easier

The TSi has changed the way Ben Gordon's been farming on the dairy support unit he manages. Describing the TSi's touch screen as 'weather proof, intuitive and simple to use', Ben and his team are monitoring their animals’ performance more accurately and quickly - making meeting targets so much easier.

Ben Gordon
Ben Gordon: Meeting targets is quicker, easier and
            more accurate with the TSi.

Ben Gordon manages a 1100 hectare dairy support unit in Mangakino, just north of Taupo in the North Island of New Zealand. Ben and his team provide support to Wairarapa Moana Incorporated, a 5000 hectare property containing a number of dairy farms milking 9000 cows currently - and growing.

The ‘Sheep and Beef Unit’ sits on 1100 hectares within Wairarapa Moana Inc. The key objectives for Ben and his team are to raise young dairy stock, winter 3000 cows, provide a bull leasing service to the dairy units, produce 1000 tonnes of supplement for use within the group and also remain economically viable whilst finishing lambs and bulls.

“We get them at Christmas time when the calves are four and a half months old,” explains Ben. “We feed them, grow them out, mate them and then they go back into their respective Dairy Unit within the group. We try to give them the best possible start they can have.”

Ben's operation includes several other key activities. For example, he and his team winter as many cows as possible off the Wairarapa Moana dairy units so its farmers can destock over the colder months. “A typical wintering programme will see us supporting 3000 cows on our unit over 6-8 weeks.”

“We also use the summer surplus to produce as much silage and hay as possible. We have just produced 1190 tonnes of pit silage, 511 big square bales of hay, 734 big wrapped bales of lucerne and 73 big wrapped bales of grass."

"This provides winter feed for the stock we’re looking after and any extra feed we can produce above that, we can sell to the other units within the property.”

"We also provide a bull leasing service to the dairy units and local farmers which gives us the ability to destock during our most rapid growth period. It's a significant help in producing the volume of supplements we require per year."             

TSi is intuitive and helps planning

Ben’s been using the TSi system since mid-November 2010 and he says he’s very happy with it – it’s a good system. “I found learning how to use it was fine and I think the software is great. The touch screen makes it simple, it’s weather proof and once you start to use it, it’s quite intuitive and simple to use as well.”

Quote from article: That's where the dollars and cents are ... in the confidence to achieve our objectives.

"The key thing for us with EID scanning and the TSi is that we can now monitor our animals’ performance accurately and quickly - and that makes meeting our targets so much easier. The accurate monitoring means that we know exactly where we are with our animals’ condition and growth and we can plan accordingly.”

Getting more data, more detail - now

“Probably the biggest difference we have now that we have the TSi is that before, we didn’t have the ability to record more detailed information easily."

"Now with the TSi, we can break down the data it scans into more detailed characteristics, right away. It makes sorting, handling and dealing with stock so much easier.”

“Before, because of the large number of animals we’re dealing with, we were only dealing with group averages. Now we can break animals down into groups using any parameters we choose, be it their place of birth, calving date, breed type etc.”

Accuracy and efficiency relates to profits

“Because of the accuracy and because you’ve got the EID reader, that’s where the dollars and cents are for me – it gives me the confidence to achieve our objectives. It’s just that everything you’re doing is nice and accurate with the profile and class of stock.”

“You’re right there, you’re on the job, you can look through the files and check on the info right then, it’s about being more efficient.”

More time with family

Ben also notes that because the TSi system captures all the data he needs and categorises it right away, it’s freed up his evenings once he’s home.

“When you’ve been working all day it’s nice to be able to go home and spend time with the family, rather than spending time on the computer.”