Archive Article: 1997/09/19
Archive Article: 1997/09/19
US EXPERTISE IN BUCKS…
US TECHNOLOGY is helping to fine-tune dairy cow rationing and improve performance for Bucks dairy producer David Wright.
Better feeding management, coupled with higher genetic merit cattle, has seen average milk yields at his 152ha (375-acre) Glebe Farm, Waddesdon, Aylesbury, increase by 2500 litres to 8600 litres in three years.
"Fifty percent of the extra milk is due to genetics and 50% to improved feeding," says Mr Wright, who farms in partnership with his father Colin.
High merit cattle from Genuss MOET herd, Northumberland now make up 40% of the 150-cow herd and mainly US sires are used to breed replacements. "We have the genetics and must feed to maximise that potential," explains David Wright. "As such weve been seeking to ration the cows more precisely, paying more attention to their energy needs, and thats why weve been able to increase yields."
Key to the improved nutrition is consultant Ivor Bending, who uses the Cornell Net Carbo-hydrate and Protein system from the States to fine-tune cow diets and avoid wasting protein.
"We leave the detailed rationing to Ivor, but we have found the Cornell programme is better matched to whats happening in the cow than the MP system, and the diet it produces is working well." Thats reflected in performance which, for the 12 months to June, shows 8620 litres – 2399 of that from forage – at 4.06% fat and 3.33% protein, off 2.6t of concentrate a cow. That gives a margin over all purchased feed and forage of £3474/ha (£1406/acre), and 20.36p/litre.
Cows are TMR fed and managed in three groups of high, medium and low yielders in winter.
The ration for the high group (freshweight) to support 41 litres is 24kg maize silage, 10kg grass silage, 3kg caustic wheat, 2.3kg rolled wheat, 1.2kg maize meal, and 1.5kg caustic treated straw. The is fed in addition to 10.5kg of pre-mix which comprises 2.5kg whole cotton seed, 2.3kg soya, 2kg citrus pulp, 1kg rape, 1.5kg, molasses, 0.3kg fishmeal, 0.3kg Soypass, 0.3kg minerals, and 0.12kg Megalac. That secures an overall DM intake of 27kg, at 17.4% crude protein, 11.77 ME.
Mr Wright sees little point in feeding more than two forages provided both are of high quality – the grass silage is 73 D-value, starch of the maize 29, with the ME of both 11.5.
Precision feeding during lactatation is also matched in the dry period. Mr Wright likes to dry off at condition score 3.5, and calve cows at that condition.
"Weve got to have cows calving in positive energy balance – once theyve calved its difficult to keep the weight on their backs".
Fresh calvers at Glebe Farm now get 2kg of maize meal for a week after calving – fed alongside the high yielders ration. *
David Wright is using the Cornell system to fine-tune diets for his 8600-litre herd.