John Stanley farms 336ha
(830 acres) in Leics,
including 90ha (220 acres)
of grass and 24ha
(60 acres) of maize.
Home-grown wheat is also
fed. His 140-cow herd has
a rolling average yield of
11,000 litres on
DECEMBERS milk recording figures revealed a daily average of 39 litres/cow, our highest monthly figure ever. We are now feeding up to two-thirds of forage as maize silage and its obvious that to produce high volumes of milk, a high level of maize is essential.
On average, cows have been eating 12kg grass silage, 32kg maize silage and 14kg concentrate in the mixed ration. This equates to a total of 56kg fresh weight or 25kg dry matter.
In theory, the more dry matter consumed, the more milk produced. But the problem with high dry matter silage is increased spoilage in the clamp. Based on experience, a maize silage dry matter of 30% and grass silage dry matter of about 25% is about right.
Problems with our parlour during January highlighted the importance of good maintenance. The pulsation unit malfunctioned and this was not picked up for several milkings over a weekend.
It resulted in nine cases of mastitis with 400 litres of milk being dumped for seven days. The total cost, including treatment, was approaching £1000.
The parlour is now having a complete overhaul to boost vacuum reserve and reposition the automatic cluster removers. Mechanical problems, as well as dirt and bugs, can so easily cause mastitis.
In the last few months, I have had quite a bit of feedback on my thoughts of converting my straw yards back to cubicles. It seems the reliability of scrapers and problems of straw or sand in slurry should be considered.
The proposed new nitrate legislation will also influence my decision. At least my straw and solid manure can be stored easily, safely and cheaply compared with slurry. Perhaps I shall stick with straw yards for now.
It is estimated that quota costs us 3-5p/litre depending on who you believe. Shouldnt we abandon quotas and spend half of the savings on promoting milk?
Lets push up consumption and be able to grow to meet the extra demand. Standing still is killing the industry. *