LIC | Wise Farming Strategies from FarmWise - Part 4


Wise Farming Strategies from FarmWise - Part 4

Cows

 

Milking frequency

  • Use OAD (Once a Day) or 3in2 as options to:
    • reduce feed demand
    • protect production and BCS targets
    • get the best mating results
    • and staff relief.  
       
  • Be prepared to change milking frequency through the season i.e.
    • OAD milking in spring
    • 2AD through the peak
    • 3in2 from Christmas (or the end of AB)
    • OAD milking in the autumn
       
  • Consider OAD for the first 2-3 weeks of lactation if under pressure with feed, labour or the weather.  If your system and financial indicators allow, consider OAD for the whole season.  
  • Carefully weigh up to ensure cost savings will offset any possible reduction in production if changing completely to OAD for this season.
  • 3in2 milking - use 3in2 anytime from the end of AB (it can complicate AB technicians work over the AB period).  From Christmas time, cows milked 3in2 will produce the same as on 2AD if fed to the same levels.  
  • Consider OAD for the last 30-50 days of lactation.  Using 3in2 and OAD from Christmas onwards ensures that cows will at least have their internal bodyfat reserves in place by dryoff.
  • Milking frequency triggers for 3in2 are if limited cows are leaking in the morning, or cows are doing 1.5 to 1.6kgMS/cow/day. 
  • The Once a Day milking trigger is when the cows are doing less than 1.3kgMS/cow/day.
     

Production

  • Be cow efficient, by aiming to produce over 200 times cow peak MS production per day (2.1 MS/cow peak = 420 MS/cow for the season).
  • Focus on pasture quality and retaining the best cows in the herd to achieve days in milk.  Work out how many MS you need for the season. Then go about planning the cheapest most profitable way of doing it.
     

Culling decisions

  • These must be based on climate, herd test and pregnancy test data – especially in the heifers.  
  • Cull cows that cost you money – especially somatics.  Cows are culled depending on threshold, then one (or two strikes) they are out.
  • Lame cows that don’t clear up or recur – cull.  
  • Cull low producers, especially in the early part of the season.
     

Advisers

  • Talk to them regularly i.e. at least monthly.  
  • Get off the farm to speak to them to give you clarity.  A problem shared is a problem halved.
  • If you, or someone you know is not coping, talk to friends, neighbours and other professionals.
  • Try to get off farm, even for an hour or so, and surround yourself with positive people.
     

Farm Insurance

  • Get 2 or more quotes.
  • Use an Insurance broker if your insurance costs are too high.
  • Regularly inspect houses for deterioration, as insurance only pays for an accident or incident; not fair wear and tear.

 

 

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