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Dairy Newsletter - February 2024

01 February 2024
Type Newsletter

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In this month's edition:

  • Top five tips for February
    1. Remember the one, two, three colostrum rule – use colostrum from the first milking for the first feed; give it within two hours of birth; and, ensure the calf gets at least three litres. 
    2. Get a good start to spring grazing – aim to feed the cow correctly, limit poaching, and hit the desired residual, in that order.
    3. Keep good calving records – they are essential for your breeding plan. 
    4. Buy yourself time this spring – using a contractor as additional labour is something to consider.
    5. Book your milk recording – managing annual somatic cell count (SCC) relies on a successful dry and early lactation period.
  • Dairy costs and margins 2023
    Teagasc dairy advisory staff met discussion groups in January to examine 2023 costs and margins, and plan 2024.
  • Reduce milking workload
    Once-a-day (OAD) milking in early lactation can help reduce workload during spring calving. Moorepark research shows that initially there is a 20% reduction in yield, but when cows switch back to twice a day (TAD), yields recover quickly.
  • Fertiliser and grazing guidelines
    Cows should be turned out to grass as early as possible in February. The aim is to graze 25-30% of the farm during this month. Target paddocks with the lowest covers of grass. Paddocks with covers of about 700-1,000kg DM/ha are suitable.