Milk reduction a non-runner for many farmers
Both day and night temperatures are currently high for this time of year. The associated inclement weather has resulted in excellent grass growth rates. However, grass dry matters are falling as low as 11-13pc.
Many farmers are complaining that cows are not happy with current grazing conditions. Faecal passage rates are too high. This can be explained by a combination of the following factors:
Grass dry matters are too low to meet the requirements of cows producing over 18 litres of milk. These cows are currently loosing body condition instead of the normal gain of BCS in preparation for the dry transition period;
The second factor is associated with poor management of stomach worms, rumen fluke and liver fluke. A preventative health management plan needs to be put in place on your farm to minimise the impact of these health ailments. If the BCS of your cows is below target you need to address the reasons for this.
Your first and second lactation cows will be at greater risk of poor BCS. Lameness can also be a major problem where there are poor road surfaces servicing the grazing platform or the herd is forced to walk in excess of 1km to parts of milking platform.
This stage of lactation should offer you an opportunity to optimise the price of milk received from high solids. However this cannot be at the expense of cows loosing BCS. Consider the judicious supplementation with concentrates to establish the required BCS at drying off.
Many farms are currently using the end of season pregnancy scanning event to vaccinate cows against salmonella. Cows identified as not pregnant are not being vaccinated which helps to reduce costs.
The current proposal to offer farmers 14c to reduce milk production on the initial three-month period October-December is exercising the minds of many farmers.