Challenge Dairy Target
Salt licks have also been provided at each end of the feed trough. “The cows seem to like it and it has helped butterfats go up to 4.3% although they have dropped back to 4.1% now,” says Trystan. “It has helped increase dry matter intakes and should improve fertility. “The target is to be selling 9,000 litres of milk per cow by autumn of 2015,” he says.
Housing at night during the summer has allowed them to produce more silage—700 acres were made in three cuts last year while 990 acres were made this year. Having a contracting business which is run with the farm the additional contractor costs were kept down. At a charge of £42 per acre total contact costs would be around £40,000.
They also have the advantage being able to cut the silage at the correct time. On May 4th 220 acres of first cut was made and a further 90 acres on May 15th. “We are grazing the cows on sloping fields and using the flatter fields to grow more silage,” explains Trystan.
“The cows are now drying off in better condition and so are milking better when they calve. We are also making changes to the dry cow ration and feeding more straw. Before they were on silage based diet and getting too fat.”
A straw chopper has been purchased and a feed bin to store the dry cow blend. Straw is currently being chopped by the forage harvester and has been introduced to dry cow diets. When everything is in place dry cow rations will comprise of 5kg chopped straw, 1kg blend plus grass silage. “The new ration should help to increase milk production further and improve cow fertility,” notes Tystan.
Other small investments and improvements are being made on the farms. New tip-over water troughs have been installed in the milking cow housing which should ensure a good supply of clean drinking water.
At Pencelli Farm where dry cows and heifers are managed a new footbath is being installed. “The aim is to improve locomotion and reduce digital dermatitis in the herd,” he adds.