Buisness News JUNE 2018 www.irishfarmersmonthly.com Farm Focus: A consistent diet delivers results “Success is neither magical nor mysterious. Success is the natural consequence of consistently applying basic fundamentals.” Jim Rohn ‘Consistency’ is a word we use a lot at InTouch. Based on research, we realised that if we could achieve consistency in how farmers operated their mixer wagons, then we could achieve a consistent diet. This, in turn, would mean the same intake every day, and what was most important for the farmer: an improved production level due to better rumen health. While farms focus on achieving greater peak yield, sometimes the greatest gains can be made from achieving consistent production levels. This can become very evident if we look at our Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF) milk recording or co-op performance reports over the summer months. Fluctuating solids percentages and yield dropping by more than 2 per cent per week is very common. One such report from an 80-cow herd showed a drop from 26L to 22L over a month, which is seen as normal on a lot of farms but, based on the 2 per cent drop per week, these cows should be producing 23.7L minimum. While weather and grass are two very variable conditions on most farms, we often resign ourselves to the fact that this production drop is the only possible outcome and something we must accept. The above drop is costing over €1,300 for that 80-cow herd per month. This should not be acceptable, and it can be rectified if caught early. There are simple steps that can be followed, which are outlined below. 1. Measure dry matter intake (DMI) Measure the amount of grass that is available in the paddock when you ‘set it up’ for grazing. This is a very simple process compared to grass budgeting, which, unfortunately, is not completed on all farms. Is your allocation su cient? Or, something that is often overlooked, are your paddocks large enough for increased numbers now? Knowing this information will allow proper supplementation and avoid high substitution e ects. Weigh what is in a ‘pull’ in the parlour for concentrate. As equipment gets older and concentrate form changes, this may no longer be 2 pounds, for example. Measure how much forage the cows are getting and eating, as well as the dry matter of it, which can be identified simply by squeezing it in your hand. Base your cow DMI on requirements that take into consideration not only the average yield, but also the top cows in your herd. 2. Be flexible and willing to adjust Being able to react to DMI changes caused by weather, poor growth, stocking rate and production by bringing in supplement or bu er feeding (and knowing when to exclude it) is key. Knowing how much grass is ahead of the cows will allow you to control grass by adjusting stocking rate, removing surplus paddocks and therefore staying in control of the quality and grass residual in the paddocks. Measurement and monitoring are essential to achieving consistent results all summer. This measurement takes time, but probably less time than we take to correct the issues we create in its absence, like silaging, topping, etc., something we know well, as we have been working with farmers for over 30 years. Berthoud knapsack sprayer Irish Wire Products Limerick has announced that the Vermorel Pro Confort, one of Berthoud’s flagship products, is available through its network of agri and builders merchants. Some of the product features include: reservoir capacity of L with visible liquid level; ergonomic back frame; reversible left/right pump lever, adjustable in all positions; pressure relief valve, adjustable - bars; and multi-purpose adjustable nozzle holder. An unusual sight in Dublin city centre on April . The tractor that rocked the city On April 21, visitors to Dublin city centre were stopped in their tracks by the sight of a tractor with a giant Tigger strapped to its front. Sixty-two volunteers participating in ‘TractorOnTour 2018’, led by Jill Barrett from Celbridge, raised €8,500 in a massive bucket collection and tractor drive on the New Holland T7.230 for Laura Lynn Children’s Hospice. Donations are still coming in and Jill hopes to present at least €10,000 to the hospice after the final tally.   Laura Lynn Children’s Hospice provides palliative care and support for children with life-limiting conditions and their families. Corporate sponsors for TractorOnTour 2018 included New Holland, the Temple Bar Hotel and Horizon Digital Print, with every cent raised going directly to Laura Lynn Children’s Hospice. To donate: Children’s Hospice Tractor Run A/C Ulster Bank BIC ULSBIE2D IBAN IE24ULSB98544910100262 10