NZ Dairy Farmer

March 6, 2017

Silage Inoculants for Maize & Whole Crop Silages

Last month’s article considered principles and techniques for making high quality maize and whole crop silages, including the use of appropriate inoculants. The preference until fairly recently was to rely on homofermentative lactic acid producing bacterial inoculants, due to lactic being a strong acid so aiding rapid fermentation thus lower dry matter losses than untreated [...]
NZ Dairy Farmer
February 1, 2017

Ensiling Maize & Whole Crop Cereals

Silage making is about preserving as much high quality forage as possible, especially when grown on one’s own farm, as it is a major contributor to farm profitability. This starts with harvesting the crop at its optimum quality and yield, retaining as much of it as possible, and feeding it out efficiently by minimising losses [...]
NZ Dairy Farmer
January 1, 2017

Managing Heat Stress

Heat stress occurs when cows are unable to control their body temperature at high temperatures, which leads to reduced feed intake, rumination, rumen function, milk yield and milk fat and protein levels, and increased respiration rate and risk of acidosis. The higher the relative humidity (RH) the lower the temperature at which heat stress occurs, [...]
NZ Dairy Farmer
December 1, 2016

Holding Yields at Peak

There is an opportunity with increasing dairy prices to maximise returns by maintaining milk yields as high as economically possible after peak, with diets based around home grown feeds (pasture, other forages, crops). Maintaining intakes of feeds with high Metabolisable Energy (ME) levels are key to sustaining milk yields and body condition, which may be [...]
NZ Dairy Farmer
November 1, 2016

Making & Feeding Quality Forage – Return on Investment

It is important to include fixed (land, interest) and variable (seed, fertiliser, sprays) costs in growing and harvesting pasture or crops to properly evaluate cost benefits of using inoculants when preserving forages. Effective lactic acid producing inoculants have been demonstrated, in controlled trials, to reduce dry matter losses by 5->10%, under good ensiling conditions.  Inoculant [...]
NZ Dairy Farmer
October 1, 2016

Making & Feeding Quality Forage – Tools

Last month’s article covered some key aspects of the ensiling process.  This month will consider some tools to assist in ensuring the best possible preservation.  Two of the key principles mentioned last month were, achieving the fastest fermentation to preserve as much forage as possible, and achieving anaerobic conditions by preventing oxygen leaking into the [...]
NZ Dairy Farmer
September 1, 2016

Making & Feeding Quality Forage – Principles

Maximising growth and utilisation of high quality home grown forages is a key component in driving dairy farm profitability, particularly with low milk prices.  This includes both grazed and conserved pastures and crops, as dairy farmers will need to feed both to match forage supply with herd requirements. This is the first in a series [...]
NZ Dairy Farmer
August 1, 2016

Early Lactation

Previous articles have emphasised the importance of good feeding and management during the transition period around calving, so early lactation management should build on a good transition foundation.  Early lactation is a stressful time for dairy cows, as they recover from calving, rapidly increase milk production while losing body condition, and prepare for the next [...]
NZ Dairy Farmer
July 1, 2016

Calf Rearing

Numerous trials have demonstrated the importance of good calf rearing practices on increasing 1st lactation and lifetime milk production, thus profitability.  Early rumen development, gut health and integrity, and avoiding a weaning check are key factors influencing calf growth. Highly degradable starch based feeds promote development of the rumen and its papillae.  Recent trials have [...]
NZ Dairy Farmer
June 1, 2016

Benefits of Good Transition

The risks of disease and metabolic issues are greatest during the transition period (3-4 weeks either side of calving), which is dominated by a series of adaptations as cows move from pregnancy to lactation.  As much as 80% of all health issues related to this period. Establishing successful lactations requires an integrated transition management and [...]
NZ Dairy Farmer