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Dairy Newsletter - March 2024

08 March 2024
Type Newsletter

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In this month's edition:

  • Top five tips for March
    1. Early milk recording – assess the performance of your dry cow regime.
    2. Spread nitrogen (N) – follow up your February application after about four weeks.
    3. Weigh maiden heifers – those not at target weight for breeding will significantly reduce reproductive performance.
    4. Breeding preparation – use calving records to identify cows that had health issues (milk fever, retained afterbirth, ketosis, etc.) during calving.
    5. Pick the dairy and beef bull teams that you are going to use for breeding – you also need to invest as much time into picking the cows that you want to get replacements from.
  • March grazing targets
    The objective now is to increase the proportion of the farm grazed, as most farms are behind on grazing. Aim to keep grass in dairy cows’ diet as much as possible. As long as ground conditions are adequate, grazing can take place day and night. When ground conditions are difficult, practices should be put in place to keep grass in the diet of the cow without causing serious damage to land.
  • Cow numbers for dairy AI
    How many cows do you need to breed to dairy AI to ensure adequate numbers of replacement heifer calves? It depends on the number of heifer replacements required and whether the semen being used is conventional, sexed, or a combination of both. Reducing the number of cows that need to be bred to dairy AI will increase the genetic merit of your replacement heifers but also reduce the number of dairy male calves bred on farm, and increase the number of cows bred to high Dairy Beef Index (DBI) AI bulls.
  • Take control of SCC
    The early lactation period is important for the control of somatic cell count (SCC). Freshly calved cows are the most vulnerable group, as they are dealing with the stress of calving, and other possible issues such as subclinical milk fever. Do not neglect later-calving cows as the season progresses.