A lifelong love for breeding the best cows

Morrinsville dairy farmer Shayne Caird says he never really grew up with Calf Club.

But in addition to a love for showing Holstein Friesian cattle that never wavered, Shayne also developed a passion for herding that became evident in her fourth year of 50/50 milking.

Milking 215 cows over 72ha with partner Scott Duncan, Shayne says around 80% of Shaydoc Ltd’s herd is Holstein Friesian, with an average production of 424 kgDM/cow.

With a philosophy of focusing on breeding strong cow families to achieve consistency, Shayne already has several high performing cows in her herd, including Shaydoc Cinderdoor Daana VG86, born in 2018.

KH Cinderdoor’s daughter, Daana won the title of Maughlin Storm – New Zealand Champion Two Year Old Cow at the 2021 HFNZ-Semex NZ Ltd farm competition and was also the heifer with which Shayne won the first tied at the 2021 Broomfield Senior Young Heifer Competition, scoring 93 points overall.

She also placed first in the Dairy All Breeds Heifer Two-Year-Old Milk category at the 2020 Stratford A&P Show, as well as third in the Holstein Friesian Two-Year-Old Milk category.

“Daana did it all last season,” Shayne said.

Shayne also found success in the 2020 HFNZ De Laval All NZ Photo Contest – All NZ Heifer Calf: Shaydoc Twizzle Tamika placed third and Shaydoc VLY Wylani S2F placed fifth.

Shayne was born and raised in Morrinsville, from a long line of dairy farmers. The pedigree of his parents, the Holstein Friesian stud – Dandy View Farm Ltd – was the basis of his love for the breed.

As dairy farmers, Shayne’s family moved around quite a bit; it was when he met champion Holstein Friesian Sue Pembridge of Uhuru Holsteins that he became “addicted to the show”.

One of Shayne’s Calf Club calves, SRC Dandy-View Magley Daffy, did particularly well. A descendant of SRA Dandy-View Donna, born in the 1980s, Daffy placed first in the 2001 Youth Paraders Photo Contest and has won numerous junior championships. She also averaged 500kgDM+ over five lactations.

Shayne attended the University of Lincoln and studied a bachelor’s degree in commerce and agriculture, and after graduation, the call of the farm returned.

“I went to a sale and bought two cows without telling mum and dad – until I had to call them to ask for their NAIT number,” he laughs.

“I bought a few cows every year, and when I had 15 cows, I went milking.”

Shayne returned to Morrinsville this season to milk 215 cows. The farm’s pasture-based system is supplemented with corn and silage from pasture made on the farm, and meal feeding in the barn.

Large animals in sight

When it comes to breeding, Shayne Caird’s target is larger animals to help compensate for shallow milking pits.

“I want a big Canadian-style cow with a spacious udder,” says Shayne. “All the foreign genetics we use are Canadian and American.

“We also aim for corrective matings: we select bulls that will perform well in the herd and correct any faults that may exist.”

Shayne AB for 5.5 weeks, before ending up with DNA profiled bulls. Calving begins July 5 for heifers and July 12 for cows; Shayne is looking to push calving back to July 2 in order to have more lactation days. It has a replacement rate of 22% – equivalent to about 50 calves – and the surplus is sold on the local market.

Shayne is pleased with the progress of his breeding program. He purchased some Stookey Elm Park Blackrose offspring and “touched” the Tahora and Lesdale cow families.

“We will continue to breed high conformation and good and productive cows,” says Shayne. “You have to keep the job enjoyable enough to want to get out of bed in the morning.”

He says after herd testing in May 2021, he couldn’t be happier with how the cows performed last season.

“They broke barriers that I didn’t think I could get to so quickly as a herd owner,” he says.

Penistone Lin Rival EX2 was Shayne’s first 10,000 liter cow, with 666 kgDM, and Daana was the best of the two-year-olds, producing 7,712L and 600 kgDM.

Shayne says her goal is to move into a bigger milking job of around 300 cows and buy a house and land. He has worked hard to advance rapidly in the industry, now laying the foundation for a successful future.

“The idea is that later I can relax a bit and enjoy what I’ve worked so hard for. I keep it simple but I do the basics well.

“Scott is more involved with the farm now, but so far I’ve done most of the work myself.

“When I make decisions, I listen and talk to older breeders like Duncan Pipe, who has been an important mentor in my life. They have experience that you can’t recreate.”