Last month I touched on how sustainable farming practices are becoming a priority in modern farming. The big question was HOW do we develop these practices? Why don’t we ask the cows? The Animal Centred Approach essentially takes the most important aspect of farming, the animal, and brings its needs to the forefront of decision making. The aim of the game is to make the animal’s body more efficient in how it functions, be that growth for meat, milk production or reproduction.
Another season, another series of newspaper articles opining the dwindling reproductive efficiency of the national dairy herd. It’s a problem, a real problem. There are not really any insightful and learned generalisations that can be uttered on this topic, only that every farm is different. Virtually every herd can do with improving reproductive performance. System 1 to system 5, high producing cows to lower producing cows, once a day herds or robotic milking herds – it can
What will dairy farming look like in another 10 years? One strategy to answer this question is to chart the current pressures on the industry and extend those trends. Environmentally, nitrate leaching, phosphate and effluent runoff will be increasingly regulated. Antibiotic resistance issues will reach tipping point and as such antibiotic use in production animals will be curtailed. And, animal welfare regulation will fundamentally change our management systems. Anticipating
I had coffee with a bloke the other day who was a former dairy company director and a director of several corporate dairy farms. I tugged on his coat about the acceptance of production diseases. He called it “balance sheet farming”. Rampant pay outs and easy credit meant that in the board room you didn’t really have to worry about the cows themselves. But things have changed. Historically, corporates never survived the down turns. Whereas, the family farm just pulled the bel
Whole herd dry cow therapy is still very commonly used to prevent high SCC and clinical mastitis at drying off, however with growing concern over antibiotic resistance, is it time to reconsider our options? Last year The Centre for Disease Dynamics, Economics and Policy released a report on the current state of the worlds antibiotics*. This report looks at antibiotic use and resistance in humans and animals around the globe. The good news is that compared to other countries a
The Risks of Brassicas Consistent among the alarming lab results we receive from testing stock feeds are the high sulphur levels in brassica crops, notably kale and swedes. Mixed pasture levels are generally between 0.3 and 0.4%. Some limitation in animal appetite and feed palatability is expected at this content and there is a significant contribution to copper antagonism. But, for the most part, the impact on stock performance isn’t immediately discernable. However, above 0
Here’s one simple step to reduce straining, collapse or death at calving or lambing. Don’t graze springing cows or spread out ewes on too high potassium pastures. Heard it before? But how do you know and what level is high anyway? Grazing any pasture with potassium levels over 3.0% dramatically increases your risk of metabolic disease. This is not just downer cows or dead sheep but extends to difficult births, slow suckling (low colostrum intake), reduced milk production and
Mineral Systems and LIC Reproduction Solutions recently teamed up to provide farmers with insight into their reproductive data and offered potential solutions to any reproductive challenges they may be facing. A series of workshops run in Taranaki and Canterbury targeted farmers looking for answers to their reproductive problems. These sessions were kindly hosted by local farmers and provided an opportunity for attendees to gain visibility into their herd’s reproductive perf