NZ Dairying Calendar

June – September
October – December
January – March
April – May

Milking Parlour in South Canterbury New Zealand


June – September

This is when the new season begins. The cows are wintered outside and off the farm. They get break fed brassica crops, silage and straw. When the cows get close to calving they will be trucked home where they are monitored closely and helped if necessary. Calf pens and feeding equipment needs to be checked and cleaned ready for a busy spring. Calving is the busiest time in the dairy farming calendar. In NZ we block calve which means the entire herd has been dried off from the previous season and they are now all going to calve over the next 8 – 10 weeks. During this time there are many jobs to be done. This ranges from shifting fences, collecting fresh calves from the paddock, teaching calves to drink from a milk feeder and milking the cows. This is only a few of many tasks, just remember it only lasts up to 10 weeks and the cows health is the most important thing on the farm at this time. This is just a time to put your head down and work towards the light at the end of the tunnel.


October – December

This is when the milk production really hits a high and the cows start to produce well. Milking’s will fall into a regular routine with morning cups on at around 5:30am and afternoon cups on around 3:00pm. Calves are still being fed at this time with the older ones starting to be weaned and drenched. This is also a very important time for the cows with mating and getting them back into calf for next season. The cows health and well-being is most important, a healthy cow will cycle well. There will be a need to note down ear-tag numbers of cows on heat and to pull them from the herd at milking time ready for the A.I technician. The grass growth is also full steam ahead and will require measuring with a rising plate meter to determine if there will be a surplus that can be made into fine chop silage or balege. Brassica crops for winter grazing are planted with a direct drill or convention cultivation methods. If you are working in the Canterbury area then there will most likely be some sort of irrigation to deal with.


January – March

After a new year’s somewhere hot it’s back to routine. This is an opptunity to catch up on those jobs that got put to the side in the busy times. Also the herd will be pregnancy tested to help decide on what replacements will be needed for next year and what the herd size will be. This would also be a time to go away if you wanted to organise a long break. Maybe take 2 weeks off and meet up with some mates and travel around New Zealand. There are usally some awesome festivals and concerts to take in somewhere along your travels.


April – May

Autumn is a nice time of year in New Zealand with the night starting to draw in. The cow’s production will start to fall slowly and it is important to adjust their feed to suit. As the season draws to a close the cows will all be dried off for the winter. Plans will be made for next seasons spring this may mean sorting out calf sheds etc. Once the cows are dried off they will be fed winter crop, grass silage and straw either on or off the farm. Both options normally require you to shift break fences and feed out silage and straw. This can also be a good time to get some holidays booked and see the sights.