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BREEDER’S FORUM
Q
What emphasis do you put on grass
Q
Should herd averages be
in your feeding regime; do you see important and is increased
it as a reliable crop? milk output the ultimate
goal for your business?
Alistair: Grazed grass is too variable for our fresh calved
cows. However, I do think it is important to give them access
Alistair: Litres sold affect the milk cheque more
to a loafi ng area. We aim to take two cuts of silage off our
than compositional quality. However, achieving 4%
grassland by the end of June and prefer a young leafy grass
butterfat and 3.3% protein indicates good rumen
at 25-30% DM. This makes the milking cow ration a lot more
health which should result in good cow health and
controllable. Later in the year we aim to make our own hay
longevity.
as cows are fed 1 kg/cow/day to maintain rumen health – this We also may wish to change milk contracts in the
also helps milk quality. future, so having a healthy herd of long life cows
Nick: We cut about 3500 tonnes of hybrid ryegrasses for
capable of high yields and high milk quality is why
silage, which generally makes up 30% of the forage content
we breed Holstein cows.
of our TMR. On our farm it is a very reliable crop, very
Nick: Making a profi t in a sustainable manner is
consistent and will make an excellent product if the weather
the goal for our business. We have a dairy unit
works with you! We can rely on two main cuts with a third
which is our production platform with 750 cow
if there is enough rain. We have found having too much
places. The goal today is to try and maximise the
reliance on grazing grass has been diffi cult to manage and
total output from this platform, daily, weekly,
far too inconsistent.
monthly, yearly sales averages all help us to
monitor the business performance. Individual cow
Richard: Grass is our most important feed, either grazed
herd averages are less relevant although help to
or as silage. In our area grass growth and quantity are
indicate individuals that are performing in the
guaranteed. Often the biggest problem is getting to it! system.
William: Grass plays an important role in the feeding of our Richard: On our farm, both have had a role to play
cows, as West Wales is an excellent grass growing area. It can but have never been at the expense of profi tability.
be relied on to grow for at least eight months of the year,
William: Being on limited acreage, individual
although it has to be well managed and balanced to get
yields have always been a focus to maximise output
optimal utilisation and cow performance.
and to cover costs rather increasing herd size.
36 THE JOURNAL JUNE 2009
e3-09 Breeders Forum.indd 4 27/05/2009 11:48:53
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