How to make potential savings to feed reserves this year
On this week’s episode of The Dairy Edge, advisor Adrian O’Callaghan and dairy farmer Diarmuid Hegarty join Emma-Louise Coffey to consider the potential feed saving that can be achieved by identifying problem cows and culling them from the herd early.
Diarmuid explains he is milking 200 cows and running an overall milking platform stocking rate of 2.5 cows/ha that rises to 4-4.5 cows/ha across the mid-season. He had intended on keeping 10-20 extra cows in 2022 but gained discipline to calve and cull the additional cows because of forecasted high costs of production.
Adrian details that costs of production were estimated at €1,840 in January but indications now expect they could rise to €2,400. Of 730 dairy farms that completed the Profit Monitor last year, Adrian said 25-30% are buying in the equivalent of 2 bales/cow or ½ tonne DM. He speculates that for some farms that means a portion of cows are fed totally from bought in supplement.
If you identify 5 problem cows in the herd and cull them now, there is a potential saving of 125 tonne fresh weight of feed (two-fold difference: removing cows grass/silage demand and additional area for silage).
Diarmuid is sticking to his normal silage conservation plan to ensure he has adequate winter feed reserves. He has however gotten his slurry tested and is spreading slurry and chemical fertiliser to complement the soil fertility status.
For more information: Situation and Outlook for Irish Agriculture - April 2022
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