Lyncrest breeders are breaking new ground in the Southland

Lyncrest stud owners Dylan Lynch and his fiancee Natasha Maybee and their children Reuben and Jackson with cow Lyncrest King Royal Bridie in Invercargill. Photo / Supply

The multi-generational Holstein Friesian breed has made itself at home in the Southland.

Fourth-generation dairy farmer Dylan Lynch and his fiancee Natasha Maybee run Lyncrest in Invercargill.

The stud was founded in 1950 by Lynch’s great-grandfather, World War II soldier James Lynch, in a rehab block in the Thames Valley.

In time, his grandparents, Michael and Moya Lynch, took over the farm and took the breeding to the next level.

Many Lyncrest bulls have been entered and proven in the parent teams of LIC and CRV.

Lynch grew up in the Waikato and farmed straight away, except for about 18 months working for a local contractor after school.

“A lot of my friends went to an OE, but I wanted to stay in New Zealand and continue hunting and the outdoor lifestyle.”

“I came down to the South Island hoping to stay a year or so, but seven years later I’m still here, with no plans to leave.”

Mayie grew up on a sheep and beef farm at Milton Beach, south of Dunedin.

“I dragged him into dairying, but he’s well and truly into it now.”

The couple operated Rivendell Farm for Owen and Cathy Copinga.

It’s a great place to learn, Lynch said.

They then went to contract milking for the first time last season before milking on a farm owned by Winnie van Rossum.

Wanting to continue his grandparents’ business with the Lyncrest stud, but unwilling to return to the harsh dry summers of the Waikato, Lynch decided to move his breeding cows from the Thames Valley to the village of Invercargill, 1,500km away.

The Invercargill farm consisted of 84 hectares of plains and the couple milked 285 cows.

All the cows calved in the stalls, and the dairy cows were brought in at night.

“We really try to take care of our cows in the spring and keep them out of the harsh weather,” Lynch said.

“In terms of production, we are doing over 550kgDM/cow and are on track to do 600kgDM/cow or 2000kgDM/ha.”

The farming system was pasture-based, but they kept the cows fully fed, which meant nutritional supplements.

Their head cows produced about 850 kg of milk solids.

“Last season we made a strategic change to reduce the stock by 15 cows, resulting in a yield of about 20kg MS per cow.

“It is not profitable to keep more cows with the increase in feed and fertilizer costs.”

Mating is for 10 weeks, including seven weeks of artificial insemination for sex change over the next 25 days for bulls to finish.

The 2021-22 season was the first season in which the pair used sexed sperm in the top 10 percent of the herd; Premature heat cows and the best cows in the herd received a straw-sex sperm in the first three weeks of mating, Lynch said.

“We will work hard on sexed sperm as we know this mating has been successful in the herd.

“It is likely that two-thirds of the herd will receive sexed sperm this year.”

They replace 100 every year.

They were “super fussy” at the udder points because of the crop they pushed through the cows during breeding.

“We focus on components rather than volume, selecting bulls with good components and at least average milk volume.”

This season, a large part of the herd was in calf for Meander Shot Alibi-ET S3F.

There were currently 21 breeding animals in the herd, and two-thirds were of foreign genetics; Eight or nine of those were driven by Plain-Knoll King Royal-ET, Lynch said.

“I don’t think there is a cow I don’t like from King Royal.

“The best Royal King heifers produce what a mature cow can do.”

There was one 10-year-old cow in the herd that excelled in production and type — Lyncrest Fever Bridie EX — with excellent fat components of 5.23 percent and 4.26 percent protein, Lynch said.

Bridie produced 842kg MS last season, lactation finished in February.

The Holstein Friesian breed was ideal for a production-oriented business.

“When you want to produce great milk, you can’t go past a Holstein Friesian.”

Lynch said the couple was focused on reducing debt so they could enter a larger herd and farm in the next year or two, and would like to remain in Van Rossum’s farm portfolio.

“We love his farming philosophy. He’s not BW driven [breeding worth]but rather production per cow.

“He’s more interested in liveweight theory: if a cow is 600kg, we want it to weigh 600kg MS.

“Our best cows are about 1.45 times their live weight.”

Lyncrest stud farm facts

Owner: Winnie van Rossum
Shared by: Dylan Lynch and Natasha Maybee
Location: Invercargill
Farm area: 84 ha
Cows: 285 cows, 40 registered Holstein Friesian
Production: 600kgMS/cow
Stud name: Lyncrest

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