7 June 2002

THREE INTO TWO RAISES EFFICIENCY

RATIONALISATION of Leverhulme Farms dairy herds has resulted in two units carrying 300 Holsteins and 180 Guernseys producing 3.4m litres.

"We were running three herds so weve concentrated Holsteins on one site following a parlour extension and a new slurry store. But breed balance has changed slightly: We have increased the Guernsey herd by about 60 cows," says Mark Tripney.

The herds are fed a mixed ration with additional concentrate feeding in the parlour. "Its the best way to get a good dose of high energy feed into them."

Last year Alkalage was included in early winter diets. Its success in achieving higher intakes of structural fibre will see three times more made this year.

"The diet comprises up to 80% maize silage. Weve achieved 20t/acre in the past, but budget for 15t-plus."

Average yield of black-and- whites is 7800kg and heading towards an 8000kg target.

"But we dont manage the Guernseys as black-and-whites – it doesnt work, although they can cope with more than many people give them credit for. Last year we increased ration maize content and were feeding more maize than the usual 50:50 maize/grass combination, says Mr Tripney.

The Guernseys average just below 6000kg and the herd has included the highest yielding Guernsey cow in the UK. Some cows are yielding 10,000kg. &#42