Many farmers, on wet land and in northern areas will be
starting the last rotation between 25th and 30th September.
But most will not be doing so until 5 to 13th October.
This year, I am recommending that we plan to start the last
rotation a few days later than usual and house animals 5-7
days later than usual, so as to save on silage.
The starting date for the last rotation has implications for
the 2nd last rotation in September:
The fi rst paddocks being grazed will be the fi rst paddocks
grazed next spring. Therefore, they need to
be dry with low-ish covers and possibly near the yard.
Remember every 1kgDM/ha of grass left on paddocks in early
November will result in 1.6 kg DM/ha available in springtime.
Manipulate cow condition now
In the autumn-winter period there are two key BCS'ing times
and they are early October and mid-December.
For 2018, do it now in late September, because it leaves you
with more options.
1. Thin cows can be dried off now freeing up more grass for
milkers and these thin cows will require no extra meal to
2. Cows must calve down in BCS of 3.25.
3. Each BCS is 40-50kgs in liveweight.
4. To put on 25kg (0.5BCS) of weight will require 113kgs meal.
5. While dry, on normal quality silage, a cow will only gain
1/4 BCS (12kgs) in 30 days; and she will gain no BCS in last
month of pregnancy.
The target cow condition now is 2.7 or greater.
1. You must identify cows that are thinner than that now and
plan some course of action for them.
2. If you wait, they will calve down thin and not milk well next
year or go incalf.
Your options for these thin cows are to:
1. Feed meals now, at 3-5 kgs per day of a low protein/high
energy ration and keep milking.
2. Or dry off 12-16 weeks before expected calving date.
3. Or put on OAD milking from early September.
Prevention: Animal health!
Salmonella abortions at 7-9 months is the one disease that
could put you out of business
1. To prevent abortions, vaccinate now, early September, but
follow instructions if doing it for the fi rst time.
2. The chances are in-calf heifers are being done for the fi rst
time and need two injections, 3 weeks apart, the second one
before mid-September. This is very important because the
animal has no protection for two weeks after the second
injection. So, she could abort.
Weanling replacement heifers should be done for Leptospirosis
Dose for hoose in weanlings if coughing.
If calves have stomach worms (sticky dung around tail head)
they must be dosed.
Lameness is becoming a very costly issue on farms. Some of
the preventable solutions need not cost much: patience when
driving the cows, removing water from the roadway, reducing
the amount of time cows spend on yards, reducing the amount
of times the backing gate move, feeding the correct meal type,
etc. Footbath every week and make sure there is adequate fi bre
in the diet.
Get a dung sample analysed (cost 50) to confi rm presence of
fl uke before dosing.
Mastitis is next to infertility as the reason for culling cows.
Change liners after 2000 milkings, continue teat dipping at 15-
20mls/cow/milking, and cull chronic cows now.
Replacement heifer targets
In-calf heifers should be 73 per cent of mature cow weight
now or 380 and 403kgs for 520 and 550 mature cow herd,
respectively. While the equivalent weanlings should be 172
and 183kgs. Animals less than these target weights should get
preferential treatment and possibly 1-2kgs meal/day. But don't
over-feed weanlings at this time.
Heifers on contract should now be carefully checked for target
Castrate makes now
Uncastrated weanlings are not a good idea on dairy farms: risk
of bulling strong weanling heifers.
You should get the vet to vasectomise 2-4 males for using to
identify bulling cows next year a great idea. Need one per 50
To improve bio-security on farms, some farmers are keeping a
few of their own bull calves (EBI 200+) to mop up late bulling
cows... not a bad idea!
Opportunities for cattle farmers
Because of the fodder crisis and the uncertainty of reasonable
profi t margins for `cattle wintering farmers' it might be worth
their while talking to dairy farmers, and vice-versa, to see if any
of the following options fi t:
1. Feeding dry cows in the cattle farmers' yard/s.
2. Contract rearing weanlings or in-calf heifers from now until
for maize and
For further information:
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