About Red Dane Farming
The company was established in 1974 in Harare South, Zimbabwe by Wolle Kirk.
The original herd was about 100 Friesland-type cows. Wolle found these cattle to be ill suited to the local environment and thus started cross-breeding to find a better suited animal. As he originated from Denmark, he started with the Red Danish dairy breed. This is a medium-sized, red, smooth-skinned dairy animal. Surprisingly these animals were very tolerant and their black hooves could handle the muddy conditions during the rainy season. Their dark pigment meant eye problems and skin cancers were eradicated.
Red Dane dairy cows
Wolle and Birthe Kirk
Holstein dairy cows
Over the next twenty years, as management passed onto the next generation, the Red Dane herd was increased up to 600 milk cows. Through careful selection of genetics and the introduction of other Scandinavian breeds the herd has become one of the highest performing in Zimbabwe. Herd average milk yield is over 8000 litres per 305-day lactation, with high protein yields and exceptional health traits. The new state of the art dairy, completed in July 2013, has complemented the excellent management on the farm, to further improve efficiencies.
As well finding an excellent management system and breed of cow for a traditional intensive dairy, RDF also found the perfect cow for extensive milk production – the TReX – a cross between a Red Dane and Tuli (an indigenous Zimbabwean breed). This cow can survive in the savanna and produce 12 to 15 litres of milk per day for a 250-day lactation.
Our latest achievement is the construction of a 300-cow free stall barn, complete with EASYFIX cubicles and an automatic manure scraping system.
The new state of the art free stall barn.
Ajs and Nathalie Kirk
The new Wolle Kirk herringbone dairy
RDF has a structured management system kept in place by section managers responsible for different departments, such as crop production, feeding, dairy herd management, beef cattle, sheep and pigs and a maintenance and developments department. Other produce on the farm includes tobacco, potatoes, hay, maize, soya, rye grass and beef. Recently we added a sheep and pig section to the family called Kikaboni.
In tandem to the traditional intensive dairy on the farm, RDF is also running an Extensive Bush Dairy, using the TReX breed of cattle, as well as several Intensive Bush Dairies. The intensive dairies use pure-bred cattle and milking machines, and are run on irrigated pastures.
Irrigation on a lucerne pasture
Whether you are an established farmer looking to expand into dairy or to improve your existing dairy, or a potential new dairy farmer, commercial or small-scale, we have many solutions for you.
The Extensive and Intensive Bush Dairies are quick, cost-effective and environmentally-friendly methods to beginning or growing your dairy-farming career. They go hand-in-hand with our calf-rearing solution, the M.A.R.S pen, and Red Dane will be able to provide you with all the equipment you need, as well as assisting you every step of the way.
Contact us to find out how we can grow the African Dairy industry together, today.
The Red Dane Agri Centre
An intensive bush dairy during milking
M.A.R.S pens at sunset
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