NZ Dairy Farmer

May 1, 2016

Rearing More Productive Heifers

It has been demonstrated that better grown calves and heifers have higher first lactation and lifetime production than less well grown ones.  What is less certain is the extent to which the benefits of early rumen development remain through to and after calving, with heifers reared off farm. This was tested in an on farm [...]
NZ Dairy Farmer
April 1, 2016

Managing Cows During the Dry Period

Last month’s article focussed on feeding cows to achieve calving body condition targets prior to drying off.  This month’s article covers feeding and management during the dry period prior to the transition to calving. Most dry cows are wintered on pasture or crops off the milking platform, with the aim to maintain or gain condition [...]
NZ Dairy Farmer
February 1, 2016

Facial Eczema

This years’ strong El Niño may result in higher facial eczema challenges, if hot dry conditions are followed by warm moist periods, resulting in rapid increases in fungal growth and spore production.  This combined with high grazing pressure, may lead to higher sporidesmin mycotoxin challenges and greater risks of stock contracting facial eczema. Prevention not [...]
NZ Dairy Farmer
January 1, 2016

Maintaining Pregnancy

Local trials have demonstrated early embryonic loss is the major cause of empty cows, being a financial drain on farming businesses, through higher replacement costs and lost production.  The forecast intense El Niño may lead to higher than usual empty rates this year, if farmers do not ensure they provide sufficient high quality feed during [...]
NZ Dairy Farmer
December 1, 2015

Strategies for El Niño

Reduced pasture growth in the East due to lack of moisture with this year’s El Niño conditions, makes it more important to conserve as much of any temporary pasture or crop surpluses.  This will reduce requirements for supplementary feeds, or the need to dry cows off early.  Conversely, wet conditions in the West may result [...]
NZ Dairy Farmer
November 1, 2015

Pasture Mycotoxins Reduce Stock Performance

It is about this time of year that farmers may notice a number of behavioural issues with their stock, along with declines in performance.  Typical symptoms are grouping together particularly under shade, rather than being spread out across a paddock and around water troughs.  Skin can peel in severe cases.  Such behaviour and symptoms are [...]
NZ Dairy Farmer
October 1, 2015

Feeding & Fertility

Many dairy farmers have adopted an aggressive culling policy due to the low milk payment forecasts, to enable better feeding of home grown forages to remaining cows, and to reduce requirements for purchased feeds.  This has reduced the size of their breeding herds, making it more important that remaining cows become, and stay pregnant to [...]
NZ Dairy Farmer
September 1, 2015

Inoculants Help Achieve Maximum Use of Home Grown Forages

It is important to maximise growth, conservation and utilisation of home grown feeds, as farm overhead and running costs attributed to them cannot be avoided.  Repeated dairy industry surveys and competitions (Dairy Business of the Year) have highlighted this as a major driver of farm profitability irrespective of farm system (1-5).  This is even more [...]
NZ Dairy Farmer
August 1, 2015

Nutrition & Feeding Strategies at Low Milk Prices

Farmers are faced with some difficult financial and management decisions during low milk price cycles; one option being to cut costs, particularly inputs.  This may help achieve a short term goal of balancing cash flow, but may adversely affect production and profitability later on. One needs to be careful with cutting inputs that directly affect [...]
NZ Dairy Farmer