Earlier this week DairyNZ released a document to all dairy farmers and the media regarding the changes to take place in Breeding Worth (BW) following the Economic Updates in February 2019.
The changes to the BW from February 2019 are largely due to the increased value of fat, and were expected. The Holstein Friesian NZ Board is scheduled to meet with NZAEL Manager Dr Jeremy Bryant on the 9 October 2018 to discuss the upcoming changes and were of the belief that this discussion would take place before any communication was sent out to farmers and that the Board would have the opportunity to give feedback… clearly this has not happened.
However what was not expected were the comments and inferences from DairyNZ/NZAEL that farmers should be “thinking about their breed of choice”, alongside the information that Holstein Friesians on average will drop by $28 BW after the updates. Holstein Friesian NZ does not believe that DairyNZ and NZAEL, as their subsidiary-both industry good bodies, should be making such comments and inferring that farmers change breeds due to this information.
The latest AE run shows that Holstein Friesian bulls have the highest fat BV’s across all dairy breeds in NZ, but nowhere is this mentioned in their communication. We also know that Holstein Friesians excel in many other areas when compared to other dairy breeds; milk solids production, calf value, fertility and conformation to name a few.
Since the May 2018 GDT (Global Dairy Trade) auction, the price of fat has fallen by 25%, and furthermore a lacking of funding/resources is continually given by DairyNZ/NZAEL as the reason that research into areas of the index beneficial to the Holstein Friesian are continually put on the back burner i.e. the liveweight BV.
I want to make it absolutely clear to the membership that it is not the intention of the Holstein Friesian NZ Board to let this descend into a ‘cat fight’ between the breeds, far from it, but as custodians of the Holstein Friesian breed in NZ, we are arguing for a fair and balanced approach, along with proper, scientifically supported NZ indexes. Holstein Friesian farmers in this country are intelligent enough to make up their own mind without anybody telling them what to breed.
The HFNZ Board has written to DairyNZ and NZAEL to voice their concern about their approach. I would like to take this opportunity to encourage members, where possible to also voice their concerns to DairyNZ/NZAEL. After all we as dairy farmers, through our levy, fund the work that is being undertaken and we want that money to work for us all in a fair and equitable way… that’s industry good!