Dairy farms in the Murray Dairy region have fed more conserved and/or purchased fodder as a result of drought and reduced water allocations. Field days were held at two farms where a substantial investment in a drylot was made to support the move away from maintaing perennial pasture over the summer months.
Minimising wastage is critical when feeding a mixed ration and the feedpads developed on these two farms had reduced wastage to just 6 to 13% (including refusals).
The shade sheds have reduced the impact of heat stress on both farms cutting the expected drop in milk production in half. As the cows remainin in the shade for most of the day and are close to the dairy (with sprinklers on the yard), dry matter intake remains steady.
However, management of manure and the drylot surface is critical and requires daily attention. “If you do not want to maintain pens on a daily basis, do not build a drylot.”
Apart from the opportunity to quiz both farm families about their management decisions, those attending the two field days got to hear from Dr. Steve Little (Dairy Australia Grains2Milk program) about the latest information on feed conversion efficiency, options for minimising heat stress and the latest from similar production systems in the US.
Visitors to the Acocks farm also got to hear from Greg Toomey (Landmark Agronomist) about the logic driving the cropping program which supports the dairy operation.
Blighty and Rochester