Dairy Newsletter - February 2023
08 February 2023
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In this month's edition:
- Top 5 tips for February
- Get calves off to the best start – start testing colostrum quality on your farm using a Brix refractometer (>22 = quality colostrum).
- Get your grass year into gear – get cows out to grass for at least three hours per day.
- Get on top of somatic cell count (SCC) issues early – doing a California mastitis test (CMT) on freshly calved cows will identify sub-clinical cows.
- Control milk fever – ensure a high-quality dry cow mineral continues to be fed at the recommended rate.
- Evening milking time – start as you mean to go on!
- Early turnout to grass
The value of extra grass in the cow’s diet in spring is very high, as it replaces other more expensive feeds and supports high solids milk. Cows should be turned out to grass as early as possible in February. The aim is to graze about 25-30% of the farm during this month (hit this target about a week later on heavier ground).
- Once-a-day milking to reduce workload
With the calving season underway for spring-calving herds, an increase in workload is inevitable. However, there are practices that can help reduce workload. One of these practices is once-a-day (OAD) milking in early lactation.
- Early nitrogen
The application of early spring nitrogen (N) (fertiliser or slurry) is important to boost grass growth. However, grass growth response to N in early spring is lower than what we get during the summer, so it’s vital that we manage this properly to get the best possible grass growth response.
- Planning for investments in 2023
While many farmers had a profitable year in 2022, they may still require finance from the bank to assist them if they are undertaking any large capital projects in 2023. The advice is to start planning well in advance.
- Health & Safety - Stick to your goals
New year’s resolutions can work. We have waited until the February newsletter to make this point. New year’s resolutions have got a bad name and by now many may have fallen by the wayside. However, the stages of change framework applies and to make important changes to your farming practices and lifestyle, its learning points need to be understood.