Farm Ireland

Wednesday 22 November 2017

'You shouldn't be able to see the long ribs at this time of the year'

Danny and Patrick Cremin
Danny and Patrick Cremin

Brothers Danny and Patrick Cremin (pictured) are milking 206 cows in the parish of Killeedy in West Limerick.

A strong emphasis is placed on body condition scoring (BCS) on this farm and the results are clear to be seen.

Cows were scanned mid-way through the breeding season by means of a milk test and only 24 of the 206 cows were confirmed not-in-calf after 6 weeks of breeding.

A full scan of the entire herd took place last week with only 12 cows (6pc) showing up not in calf. Impressive figures by any standard.

Body condition score is measured regularly on this farm with a specific focus on three key periods; in spring before breeding, mid-summer and finally in Autumn time.

The last BCS took place three weeks ago and at that stage-six cows were identified as being below a body condition score of 2.75.

Many farmers might opt to increase meal feeding to these cows, but only 338kg of meal/cow has been fed on this to date this year and the last time cows received meal was in May so the option chosen was to put these six cows on once a day milking immediately.

It should also be noted that cows are presently milking 16 litres with 5.08pc fat and 4.13pc protein (1.5kg milk solids/cow) and are predicted to deliver 470kg of milk solids to the Co-op this year.

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"The main areas we look at are the short ribs, long ribs and tail pin and you shouldn't be able to see the long ribs at this time of year," Danny said. "One of us will stand at the front of the parlour as cows are ­exiting and will note which cows have the long ribs clearly visible and we will put these cows on once a day straight away.

"You have to put them through the crush to handle the pins".

All cows will have their BCS measured again coming towards the end of October and any cows less than 2.75 at this stage will be dried off and put on a silage only diet until calving.

There is still a lot of last year's silage in the yard and this has a DMD of 72pc.

The 2016 silage is due to be tested in the coming weeks.

The Cremins have a clear plan as to how they manage body condition of their cows and with their production figures and fertility figures, it is clear to see that their plan is working.

Indo Farming