Improved Fertility

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.

Profit Result

Profitability over Production Works for DemoDAIRY

A focus on profitability and cost control rather than high production has helped DemoDAIRY to reverse its financial situation.

The Terang farm has reduced its stocking rates and implemented strict cost controls to achieve savings of more than $530,000 this year.

It has turned substantial losses of the past two financial years into  profit of about $60,000 due to big savings in feed costs, herd costs, repairs and maintenance, and labour costs.

The farm is now sharing its experiences with the dairy industry.

DemoDAIRY farm management consultant Paul Groves told a `Focus on Profit – how to cut costs and achieve profits’ workshop on April 2 that “margin is king”.

“You can cope with good and bad years provided you have that margin,” he said.

Mr Groves said the first step in achieving profit was looking at costs and making sure they are under control.

He said that on the DemoDAIRY farm, costs were brought under control by reducing the stocking rate by about 75 cows to 220 cows, from 2.5 to 1.9 cows per hectare.

The farm was achieving more milk solids per hectare than profitable farms, 1248 kg of milk solids per hectare compared to more profitable farms producing 775, but production costs were prohibitive.

“For this farm it all came to adopting a reasonable stocking rate and reviewing costs, particularly feed costs,” Mr Groves said.

“Before you listen to a sales rep saying you will get more production by adding this product, ask does it make me more margin,” he said.

Read more ...

First Half Profit

DemoDAIRY focus on cost control has driven first half profit After 6 months of the 2013/14 financial year, DemoDAIRY is on track to make a cash surplus for the full year.

DemoDAIRY focus on cost control has driven first half profit

After 6 months of the 2013/14 financial year, DemoDAIRY is on track to make a cash surplus for the full year. This is in contrast to the last 2-3 financial years when the highly stocked, higher feed input system could not deliver profitable returns.

This is the first full year the farm has been run with a lower stocking rate with a focus on farm profitability. The farm has milked 220 cows from 123 ha, down from 300 cows in previous years. The lowered stocking rate has allowed costs in all areas to be reduced.

In the 6 months from July to December, the farm has recorded a cash surplus of $96,144. An impressive turn around assisted by the increased milk price but mainly achieved through reductions in farm operating spending. For the full financial year the cash surplus is now budgeted to be $60,000.

Read more ...