Challenge Dairy Update from Trystan
Since starting Challenge Dairy in April there has been a lot of activity on the farm. As part of the Challenge Dairy prize I have received nutritional advice provided by Wynnstay and this has seen our milk production increase from 22L per cow to 28L, I am now looking to maintain this level of production throughout the winter. Currently the cows are grazing through the day and are in at night. The cows are now having 9 kilos of blend each in the TMR, with the high yielders receiving a maximum of 4 kilos of dairy nuts in the parlour.
Before starting Challenge Dairy we used Holstein Friesian bulls on the cows and Limousin bulls on the heifers. Fertility was good on the farm but I had concerns over accuracy with the bulls, either cows being served toe early post calving or being missed all together, resulting in them going on late into lactation before being served.
When we used bulls we didn’t have any accurate record of serving dates making it hard to determine drying off date. Genus began work on the farm mid-July and since then we have seen a big improvement in fresh cow management. Having Genus on the farm has made me pay a lot more attention to the fertility, in particular heat detection I have learnt a lot about detecting signs of heat and take an active part in helping our AI technician. We hope to see milk yields rise even further as the calving index will improve resulting in more fresh cows in the tank.
As part of the Challenge Dairy prize, Pentagon Associates have now taken over a proportion of our book keeping. Karen from Pentagon visits us once a month to collect invoices and do our VAT. I will be sitting down with Steve from Pentagon later this month to discuss the future of the farm and, as part of this we will be creating a farm business plan.
For updates on the Challenge Dairy competition you can follow Trystan on twitter @cd_dairy