Can you reduce your labour input during the upcoming calving season?
Labour researchers Marion Beecher and Conor Hogan join Emma-Louise Coffey on this week’s Dairy Edge podcast to discuss work practices and technologies that are proven to reduce labour input and improve work efficiency during the busy months on seasonal calving dairy farms.
Firstly, Marion quantified the time worked from the month of February to June when 57% of the labour input occurs during these months (40% of the calendar year).
Marion explains that farmers have indicated a preference for more free time off farm, an easier and enjoyable workload and more attractive farm to hired labour!
Conor gives an insight into a study of 82 dairy farmers, with 137 cows and an average labour input of 18.2 hours per cow from February to June.
Breaking down the labour input in the early months of the year, Conor explains that farmers spend 30% of their time milking, 14% on calf care, 13% on grassland and cow care.
Of the efficiency practices and technologies Conor identified, they save on average 0.6 hours per cow. The biggest savings come from one operator in the parlour after calving (save 3 h/cow), automatic cluster removers (save 2.5 h/cow) and for calves, contract rearing pre-weaning and selling surplus non-replacements early (save 1.5 h/cow).
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The Dairy Edge is a co-production with LastCastMedia.com