This week we have an update from the Awakeri monitor farm. Matt mentioned that they have moved to 3 & 2 milkings with everyone able to take some more time off, this resulted in a small drop in production to 1.50 KgMS/cow/day. All the maize on farm has been harvested and the crop went well, they will be opening up the stack soon. It’s getting dry on farm with the lack of moisture and high temperatures, the higher country is beginning to burn off. Matt is happy with the condition of the herd and the plan is to stop feeding maize as it gets dry and feed baleage, keep the silage for Winter and the maize for the Spring.
The monitor farms will be body condition scoring (BCS) cows over the next few weeks. Across the Bay some herds are already undertaking flexible milking strategies, with the Galatea and Pongakawa monitor farms using flexible milking.
There are many reasons and benefits for farms to move to flexible milking which we’ll look into next week. One driver for changing your milking schedules can be manging BCS. Cows that are milked OAD are less likely to milk “off their back” than cows milked twice-a-day. When well fed, they will put more weight on during lactation. Groups of cows that are particularly vulnerable to not reaching BCS targets, such as first calvers and early calving cows, are ideal candidates for part-season OAD milking.
The key is to go on OAD early enough to have an impact on BCS, as milking OAD for a couple of weeks or a month before drying-off has little impact. The reduction in daily milksolids production can largely be made up by milking on for longer, as cows do not have to be dried-off as early due to BCS. OAD milking may not be an option where the herd already has a high SCC, as it will increase when starting OAD and may lead to grades.
Also, don’t forget to monitor liveweight gain and BCS in heifers coming through as replacement stock, well grown replacements compete better when they are introduced into the dairy herd post-calving.
More information can be found at the link below and you can always consult your vet or rural advisor for more information.
23 Feb 2024
43 kgs DM/day
2100 kgs DM/ha
% in milk
Crude Protein Level