Sponsors have now been working with Challenge Dairy 2015 competition winner Trystan Davies at Plasgwyn Farm near Carmarthen in south Wales. He and his family are very pleased with the progress so far.
Cows have looked better this summer than they have in the past and milk yields have increased by 25%—from an average 22-23 litres per day to 27-28 litres over the summer. “We have kept the cows in at night over the summer and they have been happier— we do not have the ideal ground here for grazing,” says Trystan. “Cows have been inside all the time since the first week of October.”
Milk quality has also been good. In October butterfats averaged 4.36%, protein 3.44%, cell counts 100,000 and Bactoscans 19. Cows calve all year round and milk has been sold to Dairy Crest from September 1st on a formula contract.
Expenditure on concentrates has been increased from £12,000 per month to £18,500 but initial costings are looking positive. “Margins have definitely improved with the new feeding system but we need a year of figures for a proper comparison“ says Trystan’s father Phil. Cows were being fed grass silage plus 3kg of an 18% blend in the feed passage and up to 8.0kg of concentrates in the parlour.
Following advice from local dairy producer and Wynnstay’s Howell Richards, concentrates were cut back in the parlour and the blend increased in the partial mixed ration to 8kg per cow. Protein in the blend has also been increased from 18% to 22%.
“The maximum fed in the parlour is now 5kg per cow of 18% protein concentrate,” explains Trystan. “Those producing 40 litres of milk get 4.0kg, those on 33 litres get 3.0kg and those producing 20kg or less get 2.0kg concentrate.”
At the end of October Trystan felt the cows were not milking as well as they should and were one or two litres below par. This was put down to the fact that there were a lot of stale cows in the herd and third cut grass silage in the ration.
Yields are now back up to 27 litres per day with 70% of the herd in calf and the introduction of first cut silage to the ration.