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Management Hints
(Farm organisations job) but make certain you
maximise your price within the farm gate.
Farmer's calving interval, 387 days in Ireland, is costing
the country 132/cow or 13200 per 100 cow farm,
or 160 million for the country. Why have we long
calving intervals?
Herd infertility. On the EBI the fertility target
is 85 and 65 for Holstein Friesians and Jersey
Crosses respectively. What is yours?
Poor submission rates when breeding season
Poor heat detection rates.
Poor conception rates through miss-management.
Poor conception rates due to over-worked,
infertile stock bulls.
The National Cull Cow rate is 22 per cent (target = 16-
18 per cent). Why is it so high?
Cows' not going incalf for various reasons.
Very poor animal health preventative care.
Poorly reared, either too small or too fat,
The target is 18 per cent and for every 1 per cent
over that the loss is 0.18 cents per litre of milk
produced on farm.
This results in the national herd being too young,
only 3.4 lactations old, and results in a loss of
157 per cow in Ireland.
Farmers should aim to produce nearly 72-75 per cent
of the cow's yield during the 6 summer months (April
September). Every extra 454 litres per cow produced
during this period is worth 1.04 cents per litre over all
the milk produced.
The reasons for this loss are; having a low peak
milk yield in April and May (this is the big
driver); having too many late calving cows, poor
grassland management, feeding stemmy grass, and
periodically running short of grass, particularly
after silage cutting.
Tons of grass utilised per hectare is a great measure of
farm profitability.
For every extra ton dry matter (DM) of grass
utilised per hectare farm profit increases by 167/
The target is to utilise 12-14 tons/ha on fairy
farms and we are only at 8-9 tons.
This is one of the two KPI's in dairy farming.
6 Week Calving rate (per cent): This is the other key
KPI. The target is 90 per cent. Every 1 per cent below
target represents a loss of 8.22 per cow in the herd.
Why the loss?
Infertile cow type, poor fertility management in
the lead up to and during the breeding season.
Nationally, we are on 64 per cent which is a loss of
256 million to the country. Imagine!
All these financial gains are achieved with little or no
extra work.
Too many farmers are planning on expansion which
is a big mistake when they could increase farm profit
substantially by improving on the efficiencies listed
More cows will lead to more capital costs, more
borrowings, more headaches and probably less
Simple advice: K.I.S.S principle: Keep It Simple Stupid
This advice leads to reduced decisions; while
complications leads to more costs.
This is a challenging change for most dairy
farmers. How can you do it? Spend time
answering this question.
Cow condition score again now
Check cow BCS now, it is the second most important
in the year, to see if she made progress since the
October check.
In-calf heifers and weanlings need the same visual
As we are now 60 to 70 days to start of calving it is
vital to carefully examine cow body condition so that
you don't have too many thin or fat cows at calving.
It is essential to get the most of our assets and `the
cow' is the most important asset a dairy farmer
Such an examination now verifies the quality of
your silage and feeding programme, and if not
up to scratch you can now do something about it,
which you must!
Thin cows, the target calving down BCS is 3.25 need
your attention: why?
They will calve down thin.
They will milk less, over 450 litres for every 1 BCS
below target and have lower constituents.
They will be thinner at bulling time and
consequently 17-20 per cent more of them will
not go incalf.
If you are 0.5 BCS under target now it means they
are 36kgs underweight. To the 15 Feb there are 75
days, but the last 14 days must be `written off' as
the cow herself will not put on weight.
To put on 36 kgs weight she will have to get
160 kgs meal (12.5 me) or 2.7kgs per day with
70 per cent DMD silage.
Fat cows are a liability, and Vets are preparing for a
difficult spring as most cows up to recently have been
in very good BCS due to all the meal feeding why?
A fat cow has a body score of 3.5 or more.
They will get fatter from now to calving,
They will suffer more calving problems.
At or after calving they will suffer from more
Management Hints