7 February 1997

Cow diet ready for a re-tune?

FINE-TUNING the dairy cow diet in January will ensure quota is met by the 220 autumn and winter calvers in the Lincs-based Cranwell Hall herd.

The earlier calvers yields were falling too quickly after peak yield was reached to meet the 8000-litre lactation target, explains Roxholme Estates farm manager Mike Brearley.

The mixed 950ha (2350-acre) farm is stocked with 520 dairy cows, managed in two herds, and youngstock on 300ha (743 acres) of grass and maize.

Assistant manager Piers Badnell claims that although the diet energy density was sufficient and cow condition had not altered since the summer, the crude protein level needed increasing slightly. The contribution from the 22% crude protein grass silage may have been overestimated originally, he suggests.

Potatoes and pressed pulp were dropped from the ration and the brewers grains increased. These changes to take the overall crude protein levels to 19% were made gradually.n

Yield decreases after peak prompted Mike Brearley to fine-tune the ration.


35-litre cow diet

&#8226 15kg grass silage

&#8226 20kg maize silage

&#8226 10kg brewers grains

&#8226 4.5kg caustic wheat

&#8226 2kg soyabean meal

&#8226 2kg molasses

&#8226 0.5kg fishmeal

&#8226 Minerals and vitamins.