DemoDAIRY Aims to Improve Fertility
DemoDAIRY is targeting improved fertility rates as the next plank in its revitalisation program. The demonstration farm at Terang hopes to reduce its empty rate from 28 per cent to below 15 per cent by moving the average calving date forward, and reducing the percentage of cows over 7 year old in the herd.
The farm has already achieved a massive financial turnaround from reducing expenditure after adopting a more suitable stocking rate.
Speaking at a `Focus on Profit – how to cut costs and achieve profits’ workshop on April 2, DemoDAIRY farm management consultant Paul Groves said there was a significant reduction in fertility of the later calvers, a trend observed in most herds.
The age of DemoDAIRY’s herd also presents problems with 48 per cent of cows aged seven and over failing to get into calf. This age group represents about a quarter of the herd.
The farm has already made changes to its fertility program and is already on its way to achieving its goals.
Mr Groves said that since the stocking rate was reduced from almost 300 to about 220, the percentage of cows in calf had improved and there were more in calf early.
“From 75 less cows milking, there are only 10 less in calf. That is a significant percentage improvement,” he said. Mr Groves said the farm aimed to start calving in mid-April. He said that last year in tough conditions, April calvers were the highest producing cows in the herd. “They produce about 100 kg/MS better than the July calvers,” he said. “That’s why I’d like more of those early calvers.”
This year the farm has 21 more cows to calve in April, May and June than last year.
Mr Groves said split calving was not practical on the farm due to labour costs.