Winners in the Farmers Weekly/Keenan Blue Chip competition receive their prizes of six months’ use of a Keenan mixer wagon and Nutrans nutrition advice
Lindsay Whitehead, Cumbria
Interested and excited to see how it performs
Lindsay Whitehead’s 175 pedigree Holstein Friesians at Prospect House, Newbiggin, Cumbria, average 9000 litres at 25p/litre, with 3.36% protein and 4.1% butterfat. A mixer wagon feeds a partial mixed ration, the high yielding group receiving maintenance + 25 litres, whilst low yielders get M+17 litres. “I’m feeding in parlour, and I know the Keenan nutritionist will not be happy about this,” says Lindsay. But he is prepared to listen to sound advice. “I entered the competition, as I had heard and read a great deal about the Keenan HI-Fibre ration. I keep my dry cows in two groups, newly dried and those coming up to calving, both fed a “diluted version” of the milking cow ration. I’m really interested in the 5kg of straw input on the Keenan System.” Chop length is seen as critical to success.
Martin McDowell, Stranraer
Lots of people are coming to look at my prize
Martin McDowell, from Stoneykirk, Stranraer, Wigtownshire, already owns a Keenan feeder, and feeds a semi-total mixed ration (TMR) of silage, Vitagold, and molasses to his 95 Holstein Friesians. Yield is averaging 6800 litres with 4.3-4.4% butterfat, and 3.3 milk protein. “I really like my Easi-Feeder, and it has done some sterling work on the farm during the past five years. But I have been along to a few on-farm meetings and have been really impressed with the new Keenan’s ability to chop straw.” He feels chopped straw is the answer to his dry cow ration and is looking forward to nutrition advice from Keenan Rumans’ specialist Eoghan Mullery.
James Powell, Carmarthenshire,
Perfect opportunity to try Keenan dry cow management
The Powell’s farm at Gwarcwm, near Pencader, Carmarthenshire, runs 140 Holstein Friesians, plus 100 followers, and rears all its own replacements. Milk yield is close to 8000 litres, with 4.1% butterfat and 3.3% protein, sold to First Milk at 25p/litre. Cows get a partial mixed ration from an existing mixer wagon, which has been used for five years. High yielders get a little cake in-parlour. “But I have been worrying for some time about our dry cow management, as the dry cows are running with the in-calf heifers, and I really want to change this,” says James. “I could see the sense and logic behind the Keenan Hi-Fibre diet, and winning the use of a Keenan 140 is fantastic!”
Henry and Alan Quick, Cullompton
It’s like a fairy story
“This prize could not have come at a better time”, says Devon dairy farmer, Henry Quick, who farms in partnership with his wife Mary and son Alan at Rull Green, near Cullompton, Devon. The “crippling” milk price forced them out of dairying into beef farming last year, but now the milk price has improved they have opted to return to their “first love” of dairying. Today 40 low yielding Friesians are being milked in a milking bale, while the new 12×24 Alfa Laval parlour is built. The plan is to expand 130 in 2008. “The Wiseman contract will pay us 23-24p/litre and is based on milk quality, and we’re sure that by working with Keenan nutrition, we can get raise our milk price considerably.” Mixing soya meal with home-grown forage could create a “fair ration” without buying in dairy cake, he believes.