Four generations of Treders totalling 105 years milking shorthorns and 17 years of intensive dairying of shorthorns just around the road at the Moore property made these two farms in the Mangamaire district south of Pahiatua obvious choices for farmers attending the National Milking Shorthorn Conference.

The New Zealand Milking Shorthorn Association's conference hosted by its Central Region was on April 8-11. The association has about 80 members scattered widely throughout New Zealand.

Shorthorns were the breed introduced by Samuel Marsden to New Zealand in 1814 and it grew to be the most popular dairy cow in New Zealand until the era of artificial insemination brought in strong competition. Today shorthorns make up just 3 per cent of NZ dairy cows but its breeders are a very passionate lot.

Jason and Mike Treder milk 180 cows, two-thirds of them shorthorns and the balance jerseys on 120 hectares of rolling limestone country straddling the watershed between the Mangatainoka and Mangahao river catchments.

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There have always been shorthorns on the property because they are a tough animal capable of withstanding rougher terrain. They also provide good beef. The farm is moderately intensively farmed and in the last five years the two brothers have improved the genetics to a point where the farm has been featured in magazines.

They are always looking for better management strategies and plan to milk only once a day next season to reduce power costs and stress on the cows walking up to 3.6km (round trip) from the back of the farm each milking.

Recently they purchased another 300 acres adjacent to the farm but are unable to milk on it despite having a suitable landscape because of Horizon's One Plan restrictions in the Mangatainoka catchment. The land will run beef and dry cows instead.

Just around the corner is the farm of Alan and Sue Moore. Alan has always farmed the
feature in shorthorn conference visit

Visitors inspect the highly productive Moore shorthorns.Tararua running the family farm at Hukunui before moving on to the current property in 2002. With runoffs it totals 323ha, 140ha of which is used to milk 470 shorthorns and friesians.

Comprising some excellent river flats and sheltering hills the property is intensively farmed with much use of supplementary feed mostly grown on the property, a large herd home which is 10 per cent warmer in winter, a 50 bale rotary shed. It averages 430kg milk solids per cow and is one of the top producing shorthorn herds in New Zealand.

On Monday, April 8 after a visit to Clive Boyden's Museum just north of Woodville, the members of the NZ Milking Shorthorn Association came to both farms, keen to learn new techniques and study the genetics.

Later in the week there was an auction of some stock from these and other farms and opportunities to cash in on the good work the Treders and Moores demonstrated.

Other activities in the three day programme included a visit to Dennis Morgan's Herd Barn near Mangatainoka, a viewing of robotic milkers near Bunnythorpe, visits to other farms, two dinners at the Distinction Coachman Hotel with guest speakers from Dairy NZ including Ben Allomes and concluding with awards night at the Bunnythorpe Hotel.