Farmer Focus Livestock: Cows are performing well for Adrian Harrison

We are well into February, four months into my six-month winter and cows are performing well, averaging 20.9kg at 5.67% fat and 4.17% protein averaging 186 days in milk.

Cows are on a diet of 5kg blend, 0.5 kg molasses, 0.5kg wheat straw and 100g microsorb, plus 28kg grass silage.

With things going so well, I was beginning to ask the question why we need a nutritionist and management time when bang, the February blues arrive. This time they arrived in the form of upset rumens. Suddenly, 15 cows became sick with scour and went off their milk – yields on these cows dropped 50% overnight and the tank average yield dropped 150 litres a day.

After calling the vet, my brother Chris and I had an evening in sub-zero temperatures emergency drenching cows with a yeast concoction. We cleared out the feeding troughs and decided to clean out all water troughs.

Tip over troughs are a brilliant invention making it easy to provide clean drinking water. They should however carry a warning saying “Please stand to the side while tipping”. I shall say no more other than I can think of better ways to fill your boots.

After adding 100g of acid buff to the diet for every cow, I am pleased to report the cows are now back on track. It appears our perfect diet had too much fizz.

A meeting with our milk buyer was called by our committee to discuss the upward movement of the milk price for cheese. After two hours, company directors said: “We want to help you make more money, we need to work together to get you a better profit margin, how do you suggest we can do this?” The answer is simple, suggested a farmer: no rocket science, simply pay us more.

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