Switching to milking once a day (OAD) for half the lactation has not been directly justified in reduced costs, but it has improved lifestyle and increased free time for French producer Erwan le Roux.
However, he said OAD had led to improvements in milk fat to protein ratio – 4.2% fat and 3.6% protein – which helped boost milk price.
“Cow fertility is also better, which means fewer culls and more days in milk.
Although milk yields are lower, concentrate rates are lower, which reduces costs.”
Mr le Roux and his wife, Laurence, bought a 70ha farm in Brittany four years ago, where they established an 85-cow crossbred herd on a low-cost grazing system.
“Milking takes two hours at peak production in May and three-quarters of an hour at the minimum.
By milking OAD in our first year, we had time to improve fencing and install cow tracks ourselves.
Last year, we built our own house and this year we want to do more to improve farm structure,” he said.