18 months on and following a successful 12 months, the Challenge Dairy initiative has come to an end. The initiative proved a huge success and the family have decided to continue to use the services of all those involved, as part of their tool kit for success.
To celebrate the success of Challenge Dairy, we held an open day last month and invited members of the Wynnstay Next Generation group to come and learn from the improvements made at Plasgwyn. Genus, Pentagon Associates and Huw McConochie for Wynnstay, all presented the benefits of using each of the company’s services and how they had been able to influence the performance at Plasgwyn. Euryn Jones of HSBC gave a talk on the challenges facing the dairy industry and how banks decide to lend money to farmers. All in all the message was clear, by working together as a team on farm, we can provide farmers with the necessary tool kit to push the business forward and become more efficient and ultimately more profitable.
Challenge Dairy & Changes at Plasgwyn
Plasgwyn has gone through major changes in a short space of time, the cows are giving 41% more milk overall, going from 22L to 26/27L virtually overnight just through changes to the feeding, but when the results of RMS kicked in, cows increased a further 2-3L of milk. To achieve their goal of 9,000L from twice a day milking Trystan will continue to implement the transition diet using the newly purchased ‘Rota Grind’ machine to introduce a consistent sample of chopped straw into the diet. Improvements can already be seen in the fresh heifers where they are easily reaching 29/30L.
Plans for the short term include extending the cubicle shed so there is room for a total of 320 milking, this is necessary to accommodate the increase in heifers entering the herd. The expansion will allow Trystan to have a heifer group to avoid social unrest among the milking herd.
Having acquired the services of Pentagon Associates throughout the year and seeing the benefits of benchmarking, Trystan has now joined the ‘Next Generation’ benchmarking group, formed as part of the Wynnstay Next Generation club.
Two key areas highlighted by Pentagon Associates for Trystan were the loss in cull cow value and the cost of vet and med. It was identified that Plasgwyn were holding on to cows for too long, and therefore losing out on the value of that animal as a barren. The vet and med cost was put down to cows needing caesareans and the occasional wash out after calving, since implementing the transition diet this cost has already come down and, through culling sooner and the value of cull cows has increased by £100.
Trystan and his family have been so pleased by the changes made to the farm that they have decided to continue to implement the services of all of the companies involved and, as fertility improvements continue to be made and the transition diet continues, the goal of achieving 9,000L from twice a day milking is not such a distant goal.
Written by Rebecca Richards – Calf Specialist