With litres from forage on dairy farms in Northern Ireland ranging from 2260 to 4550 (Agrisearch), better forage utilisation is one of the biggest efficiency gains available.
Genetic production alignment, grazing management and better quality silage are the main factors influencing litres from forage. One method of improving forage utilisation is the use of an EU approved silage inoculant such as Provita Advance+. On farm mini-silo tests have shown yield improvements from 0.75 to 2.5 litres per cow per day. At 1 litre per cow per day this would require and extra 2kg of meal to achieve this. Another way of taking advantage of this improvement is, with silage starting quality being equal, cut the level of meal fed by 2kg per day or 300kg per winter and maintain yield at the same level. Read more
Co Armagh milk producer Dean Wright believes in having his silage operation made as scientific a process as possible.
“This approach gives me the best chance of having the greatest amount of control over what is a very complex process. Cutting date, weather and a host of other factors come into play when it comes to determining the quality of the silage that comes out of the pit come feeding time.” Read more
Farmers and contractors across Northern Ireland are confirming that the return to changeable weather conditions has brought first cut silage making to a halt. But it’s not all bad news, as the rain will help bulk out those crops on which fertiliser was spread quite late in the season.
The break in harvesting will also allow farmers and contractors to get slurry out on fields that were cut earlier in May. Read more
Data from the Agrisearch “Grassland performance and its relationship with profitability on 10 Northern Ireland dairy farms” shows milk from forage ranges from 2260 ltr to 4550.
Two of the farms with this highest margin were managed very differently but also very efficiently, one yielding 6000 litres on 1 t of meal and the other yielding 8700 litres on 2.3 t of meal. Both achieved approximately 3500 litres from forage. This should be a realistic aim for dairy farmers in Northern Ireland. Read more
Alastair Doran runs a combined broiler and beef finishing farm on the outskirts of Castlecaufield in South Co Tyrone. The focus of the beef business is the purchase of high quality suckler weanlings – both steers and heifers – which are finished through to beef over a 15-month period.
“I normally finish 200 cattle out of the house from January through until, the end of April,” Alastair explained. Read more
“Research carried out by the Scottish Agricultural College showed that daily liveweight gain increases of up to 0.82 kilos will be achieved by feeding good quality silage with an ME of 12 as opposed to offering poor quality forages at ME of 9.6, cut approx. 3 weeks apart” Provita’s Tommy Armstrong explained.
Detailed analysis carried out by Provita, using mini-silo tests and AFBI prediction equations, has confirmed the added benefit of using the company’s new Advance+ inoculant in growing cattle. Read more
The McCammond family milk 160 cows on the outskirts of Antrim. The dairy business is run in conjunction with a burgeoning pedigree Simmental enterprise: the Maghereagh herd is fast becoming recognised as a source of high quality bulls and breeding females. Last year the McCammonds secured first place in a Simmental heifer class at Ballymena Show. This was followed up by an excellent day out at Clogher Valley.
The family is keen to invest in the best possible genetics across both herds. A case in point is the successful use of sexed semen on dairy heifers and the top cows within the milking group. Read more
The name McAllister is synonymous with the highest standards of pedigree sheep and cattle breeding. It’s a reputation that has been founded on the back of a tremendous commitment to sourcing the best genetics while, at the same time, applying the highest herd and flock management standards. And where young stock are concerned, this commitment kicks in within seconds of birth. Read more
Father and son team Peter and Ciaran Kerr run a successful calf rearing business on the family’s Lurgan farm. The enterprise is focussed on the sourcing of top quality cross bred calves directly from dairy farmers, with whom they have built up a close working relationship. The animals are then sold-on in batches to customers, many of whom are repeat clients. Read more
Diarrhoea (scours) is the most common disease problem in the young unweaned calf. It is estimated that it affects, in varying degrees, over a third of all calves during their rearing period and is responsible for roughly half of all calf deaths (MDC & NADIS).
Calves are born with no protection against scour causing microorganisms. They must therefore receive initial protection via colostrum from their mother, known as passive immunity. After this they must develop their own active immunity.
Many things can negatively affect this process, some of which cannot be controlled. In approximately a quarter of all scours the pathogen cannot be identified and could be resistant. This can result in vaccinations and antibiotics being less effective.
However other things are within the control of the farmer such as hygiene and colostrum intake. Bedding for newborn calves should be dry; kneeling down on the bedding without feeling dampness is a good test for this. Adequate, good quality colostrum is essential for calves to get off to a good start. They should receive at least 2 litres as soon as possible after birth. Additionally colostrum should be tested to ensure it is good quality.
Protection for the newborn calf can be increased by using Provita Protect, an effective proven oral probiotic to control calf scour by 83%. It can also be used to bridge the immunity gap. This gap in the immune system occurs when the passive immunity from colostrum has decreased, and the active immunity from the calf itself has not increased quickly enough, see diagram. Most veterinarians recommend that quality vaccinated colostrum is fed to calves for the first two weeks, however on most dairy farms this does not happen.
Provita also supply probiotics in capsule and paste form which also contain colostrum, egg powder and vitamins. These extra nutrients are useful after birth, from day 1 to day 10 to improve gut condition, digestion and growth rates. Depending on the farmers preferred method of administration, we have a product to meet their needs. For more information FREEPHONE 0800 328 4982 or email firstname.lastname@example.org