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Diversification display for visiting New Zealand farmers.

A NORTHUMBERLAND dairy farm has been teaching a group of New Zealand farme rs about its diversification techniques during the delegation's six-week global study tour. The 33-strong group visited Morwick Farm, near Acklington, which has an award-winning herd of 200 pedigree Holsteins and Ayrshires cows.

The farm, owned by the Howie family, opened an ice cream parlour and coffee shop in 2003. The parlour now produces 18 flavours of ice cream using the full-cream fresh milk from the farm's herd.

Michael Howie introduced the group to the herd and explained the systems used at Morwick.

He said: "We have a different climate to New Zealand and our herds have to be housed indoors for five or six months over the winter period.

This increases our overhead costs compared to being able to graze cows outdoors all year.

"Feeding, nutrition and farm management systems are different between each country, but we all have to look to ways to add value to our dairy products."

Phil Dolin, who milks 1,000 Holstein Friesian cows near Christchurch, said: "The standard of animal in the Morwick herd is fantastic and it's easy to see why the herd has produced so many show-winning animals.

"The feeding and diet side is very different to our New Zealand pasture-based systems and the group are very interested in the nutritional systems employed within UK herds."

In addition to the UK, the group has also visited Canada, the US and Ireland during its study tour.

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WORLD TOUR Michael Howie, left, with part of the group of 33 fact-finding farmers from New Zealand at Morwick Farm
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jul 9, 2010
Words:268
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