The Farmer Behind The 2022 Cover Photo
Jenny Buckley and Dave van den Beuken have been 50/50 Sharemilkers in Cambridge for 15 years. They farm 720 cows on two farms with a split calving system.
“We do all Autumn on one farm and all Spring on the other. We’re going to do 2/3rds in Autumn and 1/3rd in Spring because Spring calving is harder,” she jokes, “Autumn calving is so easy”.
Jenny is the winner of Samen NZ’s 2022 catalogue cover competition. Speaking about her hobbies, she said, “I have loads of hobbies, but photography has been a lifelong interest”.
She adds, “I take loads of photos of the cows with their babies. In Autumn you have time but not in Spring. It’s always wet and horrible. In Autumn, you’re not traipsing around in wet weather gear, and the calves aren’t being born in wet weather. It’s awesome for photos.”
She’s found the perfect inspiration on their farm. “You’ve got this massive area with so many different types of wildlife, and of course gorgeous cows and young stock. Plus, there’s beautiful scenery, which provides me with the challenge of capturing that unique shot.”
Jenny and Dave started to cross their herd a few years ago when their Jerseys were getting a bit small for their liking. “The first crosses are amazing, but where do you go from there? That’s the big question,” Jenny said.
At the time, they were using Friesians and Jerseys and had concerns over calving ease with new breeds, but their Samen NZ representative reassured them. “We didn’t have any problems with the few we used to start with, so I was happy to use all Samen NZ genetics from there on in,” she said.
Jenny and Dave have specific goals for their herd. “Our farm’s not really designed for big cows. It’s clay soil, and we don’t want big feet. We’ve always liked the Jerseys, but the way the NZ Jersey genetics was going, we didn’t like that direction,” Jenny said.
She adds, “with Samen NZ and their genetics, I like what I see in the catalogues and what I see in the paddock now. The calves and the yearlings, I can’t wait to milk them”.
“I love the way Samen NZ operates, the structure of it all. You don’t feel like a number,” she said. “If it wasn’t for Victor, our Sales Representative, there’s no way I would’ve changed. It didn’t take long to decide as he’s pretty convincing.”
“We haven’t had any problems, it’s been really spot on, and Victor knows his bulls, and he knows what we want. This last order for this Autumn and Spring, I just threw the book at him and said, ‘you know what I want to achieve, so what bulls should I get?'”
They’ve decided to go back to Jersey but using different genetics than before. “In the winter, they’re so much kinder on the soils, and in the summer, they’re more heat tolerant and we love their temperament
s,” Jenny said.
Jenny commented on how fortunate she and Dave are to have a farm owner with the same vision for the herd and who is supportive of their breeding goals. “I want to breed an old-style Jersey like we used to get. Strong and capacious – that’s what I want. Of course, fertile and healthy, but a nice, strong-looking Jersey that I’m proud of. That’s something this country has been lacking for a very long time, I think.”