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More Dairy farmers considering once-a-day milking
July 3, 2017

More dairy farmers are thinking about once-a-day milking (OAD) despite a small cut in milk production, because it gives them more time to work on the farm or spend with family.

About 70 farmers went to an OAD discussion group and seminar in Palmerston  North on Monday to learn about feeding, cow types and milk yields, mastitis and calf growth.

DairyNZ regional manager James Muwunganirwa said the good turnout showed the interest in OAD. Among the visitors were two people from Argentina, who were seeking more information about OAD milking in New Zealand, as well as farmers attending from Taumaranui.

“The day is all about catching up and talking to others about how they are coping. At the same time, they can see how Massey University Number One dairy farm, which is milking OAD is going.”

He said OAD milkers mixed together and they were no longer being seen as “alternative'” by the majority of farmers milking twice each day.

“It is not just about OAD, but making those systems profitable as well. And most of the discussion was around that.”

Muwunganairwa said people needed to chose cows that coped with OAD and produced milk, rather than going for just one breed.

In the past most people thought jerseys were more able to cope, but friesian jersey cross bred cows could also be milked OAD too, he said.

He said the individual cow was more important than the breed.

“With OAD, mostly it around the added capacity. She needs strong [udder] ligaments.”

Nicholas Lopez-Villalobos from Massey University’s Institute of Vet, Animal and Biomedical Sciences, checked cow breeds as they went from twice-a-day milking to OAD at the Number One dairy farm.

He said the crossbred of friesian and jersey bloodlines were in milk longer, produced more milk solids than either the jersey or friesian breed, but the somatic cell count, while lower than the friesian, was slightly higher than the straight jersey.

Farmers at the OAD seminor met with muddy conditions underfoot when visiting the Massey farm to check out its cow and feed condition.

Muwunganirwa said the season had so far has been wet with cold weather, which farmers had not wanted or expected after the wet summer.

“We have had some fine days and that has helped, but pasture growth is slower than expected this winter. And because of the wet and mud, cows are not able to utilise all feed and they are treading it in to pasture.”

He said cow condition was a concern.

“Because there isn’t the feed, many people have lighter cows than they would like.  Cows haven’t been getting enough feed to meet their energy requirements.”

Cows are in-calf and due to start calving on July 20 so farmers needed to look after them well, he said.

Muwunganirwa said the general mood among dairy farmers seemed to be positive.

“After suffering several hard years, they are feeling better.  It is on the back of the forecast milk payout price and customers are paying more..They are in as good space.”

He said this is the time dairy farmers and staff were not milking and needed to re-group.

“They re-charge the batteries and if they can get some time off the farm we encourage it.  Some people are off on holiday, which is pleasing to hear.”

 

Source: NZFarmer.co.nz


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