Bringing a lifetime of dairying experience to the job

Matt Satherley

CRV Sales Rep, Matt Satherley brings a lifetime of dairy farming experience to the table in order to help other farmers improve their herds

A born-and-bred dairy farmer, Matt Satherley has always been fascinated by herd improvement. So, it’s no surprise he pursued a role in dairy genetics when his 39-year career in farming came to an end.

Based in Hamilton, Matt is CRV’s new sales consultant from the Lower Northland to South Auckland. His job involves plenty of travel, which is not easy for an ex-farmer who enjoyed an active lifestyle. To compensate, Matt has found other ways of staying in shape.

“You’re always physically busy on the farm, so I’ve had to get creative about moving in other ways. The gym is a good option and my wife and I have taken up Ceroc dancing. It’s a great way to exercise without even thinking about it. We’ve even started entering competitions. Who would have thought?

“Getting outdoors also helps. My favourite thing is heading over to Whitianga for a day’s fishing with mates. Not exactly a workout, but it’s a great way to unwind. I love my job at CRV, but as the saying goes, a bad day’s fishing beats a good day at the office.”

In Matt’s experience, most farmers have a clear idea about what they want when it comes to breeding goals. Others are less sure and are looking for advice.

“When we’re in the paddock looking over the cows, I’ll ask, ‘What’s your ideal cow? Which ones are your best?’ That allows us to discuss the various traits that would be good for more of the herd to have.

“I’ll also ask, ‘Which are your worst cows, and what do you think is wrong with them?’ Again, it’s an easy way to have a conversation about the structural challenges we’re both seeing. Maybe some animals have lameness issues, or their legs are too close together.

“Or maybe we focus on which cows are excellent at getting in calf, and which ones tend to come in empty. All these traits – the good and the bad – can be bred in and bred out. It just requires a bit of planning.

“The best place for planning is the kitchen table, over a coffee. It’s more relaxed and by asking the right questions, I can help a farmer design a good breeding plan to get more profitable animals.”

During his extensive farming career, Matt learned the importance of long-term planning.

“I reckon nine out of ten farmers only have short to medium term breeding strategies. The short-term goal is to get cows in calf. The mid-term objectives are about the cow’s structural traits. But if you ask them where they want their herd to be in five years, very few are looking that far ahead. I think that’s a missed opportunity.

“I hope the knowledge and experience I bring to this role can help my farmer customers seize that opportunity and realise the true genetic potential of their herd.”