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V O LU M E 9 N O 6 SE PTE MBE R 2011

IN THIS ISSUE

F E RT IL IT Y

MANAGEMENT

INVESTMENT

Better heat detection results in lower calving intervals

Once is enough on one Welsh dairy unit

How to ensure expansion plans pay

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C O NTENT

F E A T U R E S

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Cow Talk Overalls off: Singer and performer Avoncroft Breeding Information/ Thompsons Nutritional News Veterinary practice: Milk fever NMR Dairy Management News Business update: Milk price Shows, events and contacts

R e p orts 12 Welsh herd is milked just once a day 32 How are Wellington boots made? B reedin g

16 Topspeed Kodak is slowly getting up to top speed 54 August bull proofs C O L U M N

14 Roger Evans M ana g ement 20 Better detection sends calving intervals tumbling 50 Autumn grass decisions

Rhys Williams “Once-a-day milking is not for higher yielding herds” 12

Editor Rachael Porter It’s showtime!

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eptember brings the annual Dairy Event and Livestock Show and we have a taster of the new products and services that are set to make their debut at the two-day exhibition. Our special, which starts on page 23, also offers a few pointers on how to make an investment in expansion pay and should provide some useful background – and food for thought – for those heading to the DELS for research purposes. Autumn re-seeding is the topic tackled on page 50. There’s also some advice on how to best manage your grassland now to make sure it’s raring to go next spring. The 2010 DELS is where two producers, who are featured on page 20, decided to invest in a NMR heat detection tool. We pay them a visit and find out how calving intervals have improved one year on. It’s been six months since North Wales-based producer Rhys Williams decided to switch to milking his low-input-low-output herd just once a day. He’s pleased with the results so far and expects yields to return to their former level in just two more years. Read his story on page 12 to find out more and to see if you could drive some of the labour cost out of your business. Music festival season is almost over, but it’s been one to remember for the producer featured in this issue’s ‘Overalls off’ column on page 11. And Roger Evans tells us how he solved his ‘deer’ problem on page 14, and why goose may well be on the menu in the Evans’ household very soon.

Main article Feeding

Special Dairy Event

Gold Cup Finalists line up

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Good transition cow management is critical in order to reduce metabolic problems

Includes a preview of the Dairy Event and Livestock Show in Birmingham

More than 500 herds qualified for the Gold Cup. Here are the six finalists

COW MAN AG E ME N T

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C O W

TA L K

New guide to feed efficiency A practical guide from Keenan will help producers to understand the importance of feed efficiency in their herds and provide guidelines on how to improve feed use and margins. “Feed is still the major cost on dairy farms yet there is a phenomenal range in the efficiency of feed use,” explains Keenan’s Mark Voss. “Improving feed efficiency, which is the kilogrammes

of milk produced per kg DM consumed, can have a significant impact on margins but as yet few producers are using it as a way to measure the performance of their herds, probably because it is a new concept.” The definitive guide to feed efficiency in dairy herds, which is available free of charge to all producers, sets out to clarify what feed efficiency is all about. It explains what feed efficiency means and how it can be used to improve performance and margins. And it illustrates the factors that affect feed efficiency such as cow health, genetics, cow environment, ration formulation and feed presentation. It also provides practical pointers to help producers gain some cheap and cost-effective quick wins, as well as developing longer term strategies. “Our studies repeatedly show that the most efficient herds are delivering more than £1 per cow per day in additional margin which provides a welcome boost to cash flow. “This guide provides best practice advice on improving feed efficiency to realise additional gains,” adds Mr Voss.

Protected fats are essential The early lactation dairy cow simply cannot be sustained by energy from rumen-fermented feedstuffs alone and, according to KW nutritionist Mark Scott, a failure by many dairy units to supply additional energy in the form of rumen-protected fats is holding back yields, reducing fertility and undermining cow welfare. “Regardless of the dry cow feeding system used, early lactation energy demand accelerates far more rapidly than appetite,” he says. “Even modest postcalving yields will quickly outstrip the ability of the rumen to supply energy, typically requiring between 200g and 500g/cow/day of a rumen protected fat to prevent the excessive body condition loss that’s so damaging to cow performance. “Negative energy balance can’t be completely avoided, but it can – and should – be minimised. Even without the welfare implications, the payback in terms of milk yield, fertility and cow longevity more than outweighs the cost.” Research has shown conception rates of below 30% for cows that lose more than 1.0 body condition score during early lactation. The study monitored 6,396 early lactation Holstein cows on four commercial dairy farms over a four-year period.

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C OWM ANAGEMENT

SEPTEMBER

Refurbish and save Upgrading parlour feeders can significantly reduce feed wastage in the parlour, according to parlour specialists Vaccar. So it has launched the Flow Feed in-parlour feeder, which can be retrofitted to any parlour type. “Accurate robust parlour feeders are essential if best use is to be made of expensive concentrates,” says Vaccar’s Simon Larner. “Wear and tear over many years can reduce the accuracy of feed dispensation, but this can be quickly and easily overcome by replacing the feed hoppers and taking advantage of advances in design and materials used.” The new hopper is constructed from durable polyethylene so is resistant to corrosion. Delivered ready assembled, it can be quickly fitted to any make or configuration of parlour. The hopper is available with a pre-drilled lid to receive an auger feed and it is supplied in a range of colours. “Tired and worn out feeders result in inaccurate feed dispensing leading to problems such as too much feed being dispensed and feed going to the wrong cows,” says Mr Larner. “Producers often comment that cows head butt the feeder to get more feed.”

Feed pusher launched A smaller, more compact and financially more attractive feed pusher – the Lely Juno 100 – will be launched at the Dairy Event and Livestock Show. It’s ideally suited to houses with smaller feed passages and helps to ensure that feed is constantly available, while at the same time saving time and

labour costs. And in September producers can save money on the feed pusher because there’s a discount of £400 per Lely Juno. For more information, you can contact your local Lely centre and ask for the new introductory offer. Or visit the company stand at the show.

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M A I N

A RT I C L E

Attention to detail and early interve ntio

Balance rations to k It is imperative that producers allow for mediocre silage quality when formulating rations. Poor forage quality will, if unchecked, have a detrimental effect on early lactation cows, and could result in an excessive negative energy balance in some milkers to an increased state of NEB.

text Allison Matthews

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ood transition cow management is critical in order to reduce metabolic problems, which can have a direct impact on future performance, according to Pfizer Animal Health’s vet William Sherrard. “Prompt intervention is key and will pay dividends in the long term,” he says. To minimise the negative energy balance (NEB) it is essential to optimise the dry matter intake (DMI) of early lactation cows to reduce the energy balance deficit. A wide number of issues need to be addressed when considering feed intake as it can be affected by the interaction of diet characteristics such as dry matter content, the physiological state of the animal and environmental conditions. In light of this, a holistic approach needs to be considered within the manageable constraints of an individual unit. “Is a fresh-cow group feasible, for example,” says Mr Sherrard. The direct and indirect impact of NEB can be, to name just a few, reduced milk yields, poor milk quality, or a loss in condition. But what reasonable and timely measures can be taken to ensure that the negative remains Stephen Agnew: “Increase positive? fermentable energy”

Rumen health

For units with poor forage quality it is likely that rations will have to be formulated to increase fermentable energy (FME), allowing for increased fibre digestion. “This is important because slow rumen turnover, resulting from low levels of FME, will exacerbate the poor energy status of early lactation cows,” adds Thompsons’ ruminant specialist Stephen Agnew. Reduced rumen health (leading to displaced abomasums and acidosis) and oxidative stress, which culminates in poor liver function, are all physiological indicators of a nutritional

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c VCOWMANA o EETEE w m aLnT a jgG an eEMENT mueari n t s1September /E 2P T2E0M0 B9 E R 22000191

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erve ntion prevents long-term problems

o keep cows on track upset. “As a result of NEB, the cow will mobilise her own body fat reserves to meet energy requirements. Because fatty acids are readily oxidised in the liver, the supply of non-esterified fatty acids (NEFA) from the mobilisation of body fat reserves is likely to further suppress feed intake in the transition period,” says Mr Agnew “This may deepen the state of NEB, increasing the incidence of metabolic disease such as ketosis. “Fat dry cows have a depressed DMI during the final two weeks before calving, triggering fat mobilisation and the likelihood of disease issues after calving,” says Mr Sherrard. “Aim to calve cows in body condition score 3 by assessing them in late lactation and altering feeding levels at this stage. Maintain a steady body condition score during the dry period and minimise loss of condition in the first 30 days in milk. “Also beware of feeding close-up dry cows high energy grass silage or keeping them at lush pasture as this upsets their mineral balance and increases the risk of milk fever,” adds Mr Sherrard. In early lactation it is important to supply high levels of ‘glucogenic nutrients’. These nutrients are oxidised in the liver from blood glucose, which drives milk yield. If glucogenic requirements are met, then the NEB deficit can be reduced.

Energy balance Recent research has demonstrated that a glucogenic diet in early lactation improves energy balance while decreasing body fat mobilisation, leading to reduced liver stress. The digestibility of starch has a significant impact on the availability of glucogenic nutrients. Starch sources with lower ruminal digestibility and increased post ruminal digestibility can yield the greatest glucogenic nutrients,” says Mr Agnew. A glucogenic diet can also help to trigger the onset of oestrus William Sherrard: in early lactation, due to “Glucogenic nutrients are vital” increase in dietary starch. So it is essential that fresh cow diets are formulated to maximise the available glucogenic nutrients. Another study found that dairy cows losing more than one unit of BCS during the first 30 days of lactation ovulated 20 days later than cows losing less than 0.5 units, and that conception rate decreases by 10% per 0.5 unit BCS loss. “Producers should be monitoring cow performance during the critical first 10 days of lactation. Milk fever, retained foetal membranes, metritis and left displaced abomasums should be an uncommon occurrence.” l

COWMANAGEMENT c o w m a n a g e m e n t SEPTEMBER s e p t e m b e r 22 00 10 19

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O V E R A L L s

Name: Location: Herd size: Hobby:

O F F

Richard Lewis Llanfyllin, near Powys, Wales 200 Singing and performing

Richard Lewis: “It was all very glamorous – completely different to working on the farm”

Crowd-pulling crooner text Rachael Porter

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ove over Tom Jones – it’s time for fellow Welshman Richard Lewis to take centre stage and wow the crowds. And wow them the dairy producer did at Glastonbury Festival back in June. “It was an amazing experience,” says the winner of the 2011 nation-wide ‘Tractor Factor’ competition. Richard is used to performing on stage – he’s been singing since he was very young and taking part in competitions since he was 10 years old. But ‘Plough on’, his parody version of Rhianna’s ‘S&M’, which he performs with his friend Llion Vaughan under the stage names of DJ Wooly and Will.I.Lamb, saw the pair catapulted into the limelight and onto the line up of stars booked to play one of the UK’s most popular music festivals. It’s a far cry from the 18-year-old’s day job, helping to manage his family’s 200-cow dairy herd, based at Green Hall Farm, Llanfyllin, near Powys. And Richard says he’s loving every minute of it. “It was my idea to enter the competition – I thought it would be a laugh,” he says. “We made a video, with help from my friend Gus Harris, and more than 130,000 people have watched it on YouTube. But I never thought we’d end up at Glastonbury. It was all very glamorous and a complete contrast to life on the farm.” He doubts there will be more concert bookings, although the pair performed at the Royal Welsh Show this summer. “It’s not a career or a long-term crowd puller. We only have one pop song. We just get up there, make fools of ourselves and have fun,” he adds. So, there’s no record deal as yet but the singing is set to continue because Richard is a member of two local choirs – Aelwyd Penllys and the Llanfyllin YFC. “I’ll always sing – I’d miss it if I didn’t. And there are plenty more competitions to be entered with the choir. “There was one at the Royal Welsh Show in 2010 – a version of ‘Stars in their eyes’ – and we performed Take That’s ‘Re-light my fire’.” Richard, who’s off to study at Reading University in the autumn, says that he’ll also continue to sing solo even if, for now, it’s just when he’s driving the tractor. “I sing along to the radio and that’s when I start twisting the lyrics of pop hits.” So there could be a second hit then? “I doubt it, but you never know.” If you’ve yet to see Richard And Llion perform ‘Plough on’, visit www.youtube.com/watch?v=H8NWfahBgAk

COW MAN AG E ME N T

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H E R D

R E P O RT

Further streamlining reduces costs without compromising long-term yields

Once is enough Rhys Williams A scholarship and a switch to once-a-day milking has helped to fine tune one large extensively managed herd in North Wales

Herd size: Average yield: Unit size: Milk from forage:

We visit a large low-input-low-output herd, seven years after it began milking, to check on expansion and management progress and to find out why it’s being milked just once a day.

Tudweiliog

text Rachael Porter

1,000 3,200 litres 320ha 97% of total yield

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ow cost just got even lower for the herd based at Cefn Amwlch, Tudweiliog in North Wales. CowManagement first visited the large dairy unit, which is run using New Zealand-style management, back in 2005, just six months after David Wynne Finch and Rhys Williams began milking what was then an 830-cow Jersey herd. Today’s herd is not only bigger – numbering 1,000 head – but it’s also black-and-white and there’s been a switch to once-a-day milking.

Trehane Trust to find out more about ‘wealth creation in equity dairy farm partnerships’. This is something close to his heart, since he now has a 50% stake in the dairy business, built up from a 7% stake in 2005. “I’m passionate about dairying and I’m proof that, with enthusiasm, commitment and drive, you can start with nothing and end up as a partner in large dairy business.” Building a sustainable business is something else that Rhys believes in emphatically and that’s why once-a-day milking caught his eye. “It’s something I’ve been looking into for the past three years. There are a handful of UK producers who have made the switch. They all run low-input-low-output New Zealand-style systems and the majority

Cross breeding

are doing it for lifestyle reasons. But that’s not my driver.” While travelling he saw several herds that had dropped a milking: “And it was working well for them. I had some time while I was travelling to think about it and how it might work on our unit.” He took the plunge on his return and, as the herd calved down in February and March, one of the milkings was dropped. As a result, the lifestyle of the unit’s three regular milkers has changed. But for Rhys it’s about driving more cost out of the business and running it as efficiently and sustainably as possible. “And because we’re already a lowyielding herd compared to more conventional UK units, it doesn’t mean less milk. Yields will ‘develop’ on once-a-

Once-a-day: morning milking at Tudweiliog

A move to milking New Zealand Friesian Jersey crosses was made to develop a more efficient cow to produce milk from grass, explains business partner and herd manager Rhys. “We decided to introduce some New Zealand Friesian bloodlines as the breed that’s been bred to suit our system and management style perfectly.” He adds that yields are slightly higher from the crosses – around 4,000 litres on twice-a-day milking – and feet, legs, fertility and other ‘longevity’ traits are also improved. “The first cross was New Zealand Friesian semen on our Danish Jerseys and now we use Kiwi cross sires on the herd.” The herd is still block calved in February and everything is dried off by December and over wintered on kale and silage,” explains Rhys, who recently returned from a 12-week study tour, that took him to New Zealand. Rhys won a Trehane Award – one of the Nuffield Farming scholarships – and was sponsored by the

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day milking and get back to where they were in just three years. That’s the ‘adjustment’ time scale and we’re well on track to achieve that already.

Reduced costs Yields have dropped for the short-term, to 3,200 litres with 5.9% butterfat and 4.1% protein, but Rhys says that the herd is well placed to take that hit at the moment. And there are reduced costs and other benefits to help counter it. Next year the herd should see yields increase by between 10 and 12% and by year three it should be back to between 90 and 95% of what it produced on twicea-day milking. Besides the obvious pluses of reduced labour costs – and electricity, water and dairy chemical usage – another benefit is the increase in milk solids. This is good news for Rhys’ herd because he’s not on a ‘white water’ contract. His milk is processed into cheese. “But once-a-day milking is not for higher yielding herds or those that are paid for milk yield alone and not solids,” says Rhys. “And higher yielding herds don’t see the same level of ‘adjustment’ – yield would just be lost and not regained.” Other benefits that have emerged from once-a-day milking include improved udder and teat condition, better fertility and reduced lameness. “We’re not seeing much in the way of body condition score change and that’s helping fertility. Already we’ve seen an improvement in

conception to first service rates. They were at around 60% and now they’re closer to 70%,” explains Rhys. “Signs of heat are stronger because we’re not ‘pushing’ the cows too hard. Cows only walk to the parlour once a day, so hoof condition is better too. We’ve a lower culling rate and, the cherry on the top, is possibly more young stock to sell as we don’t need so many replacements.” Udder health and milk hygiene have remained the same, with the herd’s average somatic cell count standing at 150,000 cells/ml – earning them a 0.5ppl bonus – and a Bactoscan of between 25 and 45.

70-bale outdoor rotary The herd is milked every morning through a Waikato 70-bale outdoor rotary. Milking starts at 5.45am and it takes three hours for three men to milk and just 30 minutes to wash down. “There’s no hard and fast rule about what time of day you should milk, but most of the units I’ve seen do it in the morning. It suits me because the rest of the day is then free to tackle other tasks.” The herd is still run in two groups of 500 cows because 1,000 cows is ‘too big a mob’, according to Rhys. The unit spans 300ha of a mixture of sand and loamy clay land. There are 78 paddocks with an average size of 4.2ha.

Study awards The Trehane Trust offers awards each year, through participation in the Nuffield Farming Scholarship programme, to individuals who want to study and research a particular aspect of the dairy industry. The remit is broad. Applicants are invited to study areas from milk production to processing and product development. It covers all related areas. Available to those aged 22 to 45, application forms can be downloaded from the Nuffield website www. nuffieldscholar.org. Closing date this year is November 15, 2011.

Just 150kgDM per head of extra feed is now fed in a 10-month milking period – back in 2010 this was closer to 1,000kg. Fine tuning like this, and management and breed changes, are all continuing to take cost out of the system, without impacting on long-term production, and ensuring that business continues to make a profit both now and in the future. “That’s exactly what David and I set the unit up to do and that’s what it’s doing and will continue to do.” l

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Award-winning columnist and Shropshire-based dairy producer Roger Evans tames a heifer with his ‘carrotand-stick’ approach, but has more radical plans for the unwelcome geese on his farm.

Bucking bronco T

here have been no recent sightings of the deer that may or may not have been undermining my paddock grazing system, but the cows are still getting out and one heifer still looks to be the likely culprit. But I’m not short of advice from readers of CowManagement on what to do about it. ‘Train it as a calf’ was one good idea, except it’s two years too late. ‘Shoot it’ would solve the problem, but seems a bit drastic and we are always short of heifers anyway. Therewww’s plenty of advice in between and I decide to make a necklace of some stiff plain wire and I put the heifer in the crush and fix it around her neck. I make the necklace so that there is about a foot of wire hanging down near her brisket and to that I fix the eye bolt out of a gate. And I let her out and she goes berserk. Before I found out how to watch films on sky I used to trawl the channels and would sometimes watch that professional bull riding. She came out of the crush bucking and diving just like one of them, bawling all the time. She then disappeared down the track bucking and bawling into the distance. The other cows watched her go and thought it was very interesting. When she came back to be milked at night she had worked the necklace around so that the bit that was supposed to hang down was now over her head and the eye bolt was hanging down about a foot in front of her nose, in just the place where you would dangle a carrot in front of a donkey. You could see that she wasn’t best pleased about this and it had a profound effect on her. She carried her head carefully as she followed the bolt about. Daunted is a good word, she was daunted. Next day and the necklace was gone and I’ve never found it, but the heifer was still daunted and she’s been daunted ever since. Daunted enough not to have broken out over the electric fence and, as no other cows have broken out either, it seems I was on the right track. So my hard working grazing herd are doing just that. They race off in the evening to a fresh paddock and they go out purposely in the morning to clear and tidy the grass. So everything is working well. The only problem was that we were running out of grass. Just an inch of rain fell in July, during three hot days, and the grass seemed to melt away. Advice from a ‘proper grazer’ was to slow the rotation down and top the cows up with the surplus grass we made into silage in May. So we are doing that except that and it’s an interesting phenomenon that my cows still go down the fields and work hard at grazing less grass. Yet the 14 cows that I had to buy this year (I would have preferred to buy heifers but they were too expensive) are the same 14 cows that come home for silage long before the rest and stand bawling at the gate. Sort of proves a point, doesn’t it? We’ve had some heavy showers this weekend and there’s a nice bite of clover coming in one field. But there’s also about 200 Canada geese on there every morning. Well, just for as long as it takes me to find my gun.

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Topspeed Kodak, the highest red-and-white bull for longevity, is slowly getting up to top speed

Topspeed Kodak ( K e v i n x V G 8 7 St a d e l x VG 85 Ronald) Production proof: 139 daughters in 119 herds (source: Interbull/DairyCo breeding+, August 2011) Kg M % fat % prot. Kg fat Kg prot. PIN PLI +134 +0.14 +0.10 +16.3 +12.2 £30 £146 Longevity: SCC: Calving ease: Temperament: Milking speed: Type Merit:

+724 days (exceptional) –11 (very good) 111 (very easy) 103 (average) 101 (average) +0.5

N

o, he wasn’t at top speed immediately. As far as that is concerned Topspeed Kodak doesn’t live up to his name. The son of Kevin had his first breeding success in January 2010, but to begin with he was over shadowed by his contemporaries such as Delta Fidelity and Van de Peul Kylian. Kodak got up steam only slowly. Little by little his figures improved. With his 189 NVI and 106 Final Score, Kodak certainly performs at the top of the red-and-white range. On one breeding value the son of Kevin even steals a march on his red-and-white peers. With +724 days, Kodak is the bull with the highest longevity, which means that his daughters will remain in the herd for almost a year longer than daughters of bulls that score zero days for longevity.

Remarkable parallel The life of Kodak shows a remarkable parallel with that of his mother, Topspeed Jantje 135 (sire Stadel). She didn’t attract attention to begin with. “I was curious about her Noorder Dustin heifer Jantje

Long live Kodak He was behind his contemporaries Fidelity and Kylian, but in the meantime Topspeed Kodak has established himself at the top after making amazing progress. Being a son of Kevin ensures him attention for his longevity breeding value. Kodak is the first redand-white sire in his family presides with sires such as Tops Monitor Legend and Newhouse Ronald over an original family tree. text Inge van Drie

150,” says CRV breeding technician Henk Verheij. “The figures looked good and a Dustin daughter with the red factor would be very interesting for breeding. Sadly she didn’t appear to have the red factor.” For Henk that was still the reason to involve Jantje 135 as a bull dam. The black-and-white Stadel daughter was meanwhile in Jan Wigboldus’s herd. He bought her as a maiden heifer. Jantje 135 VG 87 as a maiden heifer produced 8,503kg of milk at 5.57% butterfat and 3.71% protein in 373 days. “She was one of the higher indexing red-and-white factor cows,” says Henk. “She was a strong cow, with enough width and a first-rate udder. And with descendants Ronald, Cobalt and Tops successively in the family tree she had an original pedigree.” So CRV bred her with Power son Kevin. From the same insemination full-brother Topspeed Jacco was born, who with 129 NVI and 105 Final Score is an AI bull with KI Samen.

Kodak’s daughters mature beautifully Twice the Dutch producer Gerrit Hofmeijer has put together a group of Kodak’s daughters. “The second time it struck me that the Kodaks had matured beautifully. They have more length and depth.” He describes the Kodak daughters as rather unremarkable, sturdy cows. “They are certainly not little baby cows.

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They have well developed fore quarters and well-balanced udders. With a teat length of 106 you would expect long teats, but that has never struck us. I’m positive about the use of the legs. They are not the most striking cows, but look at the milk records and go through the points and suddenly you appreciate them.”

SEP T E M B E R

Jantje did not herself see the success of her sons. Unfortunately in her third lactation, Jan had to sell the Stadel daughter who had completed a lifetime total of 24,009kg of milk at 5.30% butterfat and 3.65% protein. “She had injured her front right teat. For 18 months I milked her by hand after each milking. Jantje was a very easy to manage, nice cow to work with, but then it was over.”

Family first What struck Jan about the cow family behind Kodak was the good fertility. “It was not so obvious with his mother because we had inseminated her a number of times, but in her offspring you almost always find cows that are in calf at the first attempt.” Take for example ancestor Jantje 73. The Tops daughter calved seven times in total. In her first calving she was 25 months old, at the last she was seven years and eleven months. Her Marquis daughter Jantje 77 VG85 in eight lactations produced an impressive 68,000kg of milk with 4.65% butterfat and 3.42% protein. Via Cobalt daughter Jantje 98 – who made four full lactations – the grandmother of Kodak, Jantje 119 VG85 comes into the picture. This Ronald daughter calved five times and completed a lifetime production of 40,610kg of milk with 5.05% butterfat and 3.57% protein. So Kodak comes from a black-and-white family. Indeed, mother Jantje 135 had the red factor via her father Stadel, but Kodak and his brother Jacco are the first red and whites in the family. “That there is

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Stadel daughter Topspeed Jantje 135 VG87, dam of Topspeed Kodak and his full-brother Topspeed Jacco

bones and an excellent head. I like that kind of cow; I liked to see her during presentation,” says Tonny Koekoek. The person in charge of breeding at CRV would have liked to use her for the blackand-white breeding programme, but unluckily her sons were not included. “Dustin Jantje could have looked more robust, but she was a typical milk cow, long ribbed and deep. Her udder was perfect. I see that too in her offspring – their udders are a picture,” says owner Gerbert Oonk. Offspring from the Dustin daughter include two maiden heifers, a Lawn Boy and a Roumare, and a twice-calved Janos daughter. Little by little they have scored VG85 points and they produce above the herd average. “The Jantjes are not striking as calves. We usually have strong calves, round 50kg to 55 kg in weight on the farm. The Jantjes are 10kg lighter at birth, but they go on growing. They really are late-maturing animals.” Lawn Boy daughter Jantje 10 is now in calf with Delta Emerald. “If a polled bull calf is born, it will most probably go to CRV,” says Gerbert.

Hard-working daughters

Dustin daughter Jantje 150 VG89, half sister to Kodak, completed a lifetime production of 61,035kg of milk with 4.36% butterfat and 3.44% protein

red-and-white blood in the family is actually an accident,” Jan confesses. “The inseminator had accidentally chosen the wrong straw.” Meanwhile Dustin daughter Jantje 150 wasn’t standing still. The oldest daughter of Jantje 135 turned out to be a fine cow

scoring VG89 at three years old. At the Dutch NRM show in 2006 she led the daughter group of father Dustin and in the individual testing she achieved a fourth place in the section. “Jantje 150 was a well-proportioned cow of about 1.5 metres. She looked good with strong

Topspeed Jantje 135 (Stadel)

Jantje 150 (Dustin) Jantje 10 (Lawn Boy)

Topspeed Kodak (Kevin)

Topspeed Jacco (Kevin)

Topspeed Java (Redgold)

There is also interest for breeding in Topspeed Java, a red-and-white half sister of Kodak. The VG87 Redgold daughter completed a good third lactation, after 305 days, of 14,336kg of milk with 4.41% butter fat and 3.64% protein. “She was genomically tested and from the polled bull Mighty P we have meanwhile had five embryo calves,” says owner Arie Pluim. Arie says Java is a pleasant animal to work with and Jan uses the same description for Kodak’s mother Jantje 135. She was a very easy going cow, well behaved. Jan recognises that in the breeding values of Kodak. “Certainly for the secondary characteristics I look back to the mother. I think that Kodak sires hard working daughters that fit perfectly on modern, large dairy units. “I find it notable, for example, that his daughters score highly for calving ease, as well as him being a very easy calving sire. He is an exception in that.” Gerbert in any case places a lot of trust in Kodak. “Actually all our young stock are on the unit that belongs to the breeder of the Jantjes, who no longer milks cows. “And with him as with us the Jantjes have a special place. So we now inseminate all our heifers with Kodak.” l

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25-08-2011 23-08-2010 10:24:17 13:18:22


PLAY DARTS AND WIN A FREE PAIR OF BEKINA BOOTS

Visit the CowManagement stand (Hall 19, BM-211) and take your chance to win a pair of Bekina Steplite X Wellingtons (worth £40)

AND THERE IS MORE…. Visitors who take out a two-year subscription (£60) to CowManagement get a pair of Bekina Steplite X Wellingtons for free! Made of polyurethane, these Wellingtons will keep your feet warm this winter. They’re long lasting and safe, slipresistant boots – perfect for long working days on your unit. With a CowManagement subscription and your Bekina Steplite X Wellingtons you will always be two steps ahead!

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H E A LT H

Neighbouring producers pioneer heat detection system and see calving intervals drop

Better detection sends CI tumbling Two Leicestershire-based dairy producers bought Silent Herdsman at the 2010 Dairy Event and Livestock Show. A year on, we pay them a visit to find out if their research and subsequent investments have paid off. text Karen Wright

“Y

es,” says Steve Brown from Burton Overy. “I’ve knocked 30 days off my calving interval in nine months and it’s now running at 393 days.” Not that Steve considered his ‘old’ calving interval of 428 days out of line for his high yielding Holstein herd. “But I realised that heats were getting harder to spot and the trend was going the wrong way. “We were also finding it hard to pick up heats in heifers, even with tail markers, and as a result they were calving between two and a half and three years old. This needed pulling back towards two years.” A traditional family-owned dairy unit, Steve runs the Highcroft herd with his father and a relief milker. The 100 head of stock includes the milking herd and followers that are managed on a traditional summer grazing/winter housing system, making best use of the 54ha farm. Wheat is grown on 20ha, some of which is used in the cow rations. Selling milk for Stilton cheese production, through Tuxford and Tebbitt, Steve has opted for a production contract. This means that he is paid a bonus for increasing yields that kicks in if production is higher in the corresponding month of the previous year. “Average yield is now just under 10,000kg at 4.24% fat and 3.25% protein,” says Steve. “We get this by feeding through out-of-parlour feeders – up to 20kg a cow a day – and making sure forage intakes are maintained.”

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Even when cows are out at grass Steve makes sure they have buffer feed and keeps them in the yard for an hour after each of the twice-a-day milkings. This also suits the Silent Herdsman heat detector. Calving is year round on this farm and as soon as a cow calves Steve puts one of the 30 collars on her, with its robust processor. It takes just two or three days to calibrate to the cow’s normal movement pattern then any changes from her standard routine are picked up and transmitted wirelessly, through the antennae, to the touch-screen PC monitor in the dairy.

scan is used more for picking up irregularities,” adds Steve. “This year the Silent Herdsman has worked fantastically on the heifers. There have been no false positives and we’ve put plenty of cows and heifers out for the AI technician that we never saw bulling and he said they were all well on heat.”

Robust cows Just five miles down the road at Great Glen, Bruce Peberdy has an equally successful story to tell about Silent Herdsman. Also with Park Vets, Bruce’s InterHerd results show that in the 12 months to May 2011 Bruce achieved a calving to conception rate of 105 days and his calving interval is 389 days – down from 406 days in the previous 12 months. Bruce runs an all-grass farm of 57ha with 30ha of grass keep away from the main farm used for beef crosses and heifers. He runs the herd on his own so his main objective is to breed and manage a herd with minimum hassle. “Trouble-free cows are a must here,” says Bruce. “I’ve recently introduced

10-minute updates “The antenna relays information from cows to the monitor every 10 minutes, so there’s lots of opportunity for details to be downloaded each day even when the cows are grazing as they’re within range of the antenna for about two hours twice a day,” adds Steve. “And every time I walk past the PC I touch the screen for an update – it becomes something you do automatically. And to make events even more obvious, the screen flashes in red if the system has picked up a cow on heat.” Working with vet Wendy Bottrill of Park Vets in Leicester, fertility results are recorded on InterHerd. The trends are encouraging with a significant drop in calving interval and calving to conception rate. in the past 12 months. Wendy scans cows once a month and there are far fewer negatives. “The

Silent Herdsman collars go on cows post calving

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some Swedish Red cows and Montbelliard genetics into the herd as they’re robust and suit our system. They should increase herd longevity too.” The herd is currently yielding 8,178kg of milk at 3.95% fat and 3.22% protein on a traditional low-input system. Cows are out at grass from April – the heavy land is generally good for growing grass. Buffer feeding big bale grass silage starts in September with concentrates fed to yield in the parlour at a rate of 0.26kg/ cow/day. Brewers’ grains, at a rate of 15kg/cow/day, are fed after morning milking year round. Bruce also sells milk through Milk Link for Stilton manufacture, and he is on a seasonality contract. “To maximise milk price calving starts in September through to spring and I aim to get the heifers calving down from September to November,” he adds.

Heifer condition To achieve this – and to make the most of his investment in the sexed semen that he uses on his heifers – Bruce puts a lot of effort into getting the heifers in the right condition for serving and does

Steve Brown: ”Fertility trends are encouraging”

Bruce Peberdy: “This fertility system saves time and generates great results”

his best to make sure they’re served at the right time. “The Silent Herdsman collars went on later than I’d hoped in November 2010 but they worked really well and soon started picking up heats. From the PD results I am confident that the system does a good job and it gives me a bit more time to make sure the heifers are in tiptop shape.” “I bought 75 collars so had enough to put one on each cow as she calved. I look to serve the cows 55 days post calving. And the system picked up cows easily – it really makes life easier and

less time consuming yet it’s generating great results.” The layout of Bruce’s yards means that one antenna can pick up readings from collars on the heifers too. “For me the real benefit of Silent Herdsman so far has been with the heifers. You never check heifers like you check cows – maybe twice a day when they’re being fed – and even then they just look at you and show no signs of any bulling activity. Now all I do is pop to the PC, touch the screen and ‘hey presto’, I can see heifers that are bulling and need serving. It couldn’t be much easier.” l

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DAIRY EVENT & LIVESTOCK SHOW

Investment plan: expanding your herd could be more cost effective than you think. Page 24 What’s new? We preview some of the products and services set to make their debut. Page 26

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D A I RY

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S H O W

The figures can stack up if you take a pence-per-litre approach

Make your investment pay Herd expansion requires considerable investment, but plan it right and it may be more affordable than you think. Here’s some useful information to arm yourself with if you’re planning an expansion research trip to this year’s Dairy Event. text Rachael Porter

B

etter milk prices are persuading more producers to expand their herds, but they should consider carefully what that investment will cost and what it will add to the business. So says Promar’s senior

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dairy adviser Paul Henman. “Current low interest rates mean that borrowing £250,000 over a 20-year period from the Agricultural Mortgage Corporation (AMC) could cost as little as 1.5ppl for a 150-cow herd producing 7,800 litres of

SEPTEMBER

milk a cow a year,” he says. “That sort of sum would make a big difference to an expanding herd. And we can demonstrate that, with good planning, the gains required to make a return on this investment are readily achievable.” His colleague Tim Archer says that a business must be 100% sure that the end results of an expansion will be beneficial. These benefits are often seen in three key areas. There’s the achievement of the strategic objectives of those involved in the business. For example, allowing sons or daughters to take over from father, allowing him to retire. And then there’s the improved financial

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Andrew Connah

Paul Henman

Tim Archer

performance of the business in terms of profit, cash flow and net-worth growth. Finally there’s improved work and time balance, resulting in less physical work and more time for management and attention to detail. That said, the benefits of an expansion will be specific to each business. “You need to plan for the unit you want in 10 to 15 years time with room for future expansion,” says Mr Henman. “Take account of what future legislation requirements might be and also plan to build in flexibility. For instance, can cubicles be converted to straw yards or vice versa?”

data there’s not a huge difference in the depreciation or reinvestment levels between the top 25% by profit and the others. The difference is in how the capital has been spent, with the top quarter investing in the ‘must haves’ rather than the ‘nice to haves’. Besides the cows, Mr Henman breaks an expansion investment down into three key areas: accommodation, feed storage and parlours. The average cubicle cost is £1,000 a cow. A straw yard on its own will be cheaper, but the floor area will be bigger, on-going bedding costs higher and extra straw storage will be needed. As for feed storage, more cows mean more silage. An intensive summer-based system may require 8 tonnes/cow/year, while a long winter feeding and extended buffer feeding system may need 12 tonnes/cow/year. Costs are likely to be in the region of £30 to £35/tonne for an open pit and £40 to £45/tonne for a roofed pit. There is a huge variation in parlour costs depending on what systems are installed. Producers need to keep one equation in mind when investing in a parlour – cows milked per man hour and not cows milked per hour. The needs of the cow should be at the heart of any investment, he argues. “The better the environment and the

more comfortable the cow the more productive and healthy she will be. A good environment will also make it a more satisfying place for staff to work. As well as carefully planning what you are investing in, you also need to plan how you are going to finance that investment, stresses the Agricultural Mortgage Corporation’s Andrew Connah. “We are urging producers to consider their investments on a pence-per-litre basis and look at the return on investment they should be getting. To help in that process, we have calculated that borrowing £250,000 over 20 years would cost just 1.5ppl for a 150-cow herd producing 7,800 litres of milk a cow a year.”

Planning permission There are other more immediate issues that also need to be factored in. All but the simplest expansion will probably need planning permission and the more complex the investment the longer that process will take. The logistics of continuing to milk while expanding are also important. “You cannot build a new parlour on a pit full of silage, and you cannot build a new silage pit on your old parlour while you are still milking,” says Mr Henman. Mr Archer urges producers to generate a ‘capital shopping list’, prioritising investments in order of importance and effectiveness. “In Promar’s Farm Business Account

Interest rates He adds that the AMC has had a substantial number of recent enquiries from dairy producers investing in their business and says that current low interest rates mean that it is a good time to be borrowing on either a variable or a fixed-rate basis. “An AMC loan gives you the opportunity to switch from a variable rate to a fixed rate one. And another scheme means that borrowers can apply for a 0.8% reduction in interest payments, although there is a limited time for which they can do that.” l

Example return on investment from an expansion Assume

Comments

• 100 cows increased to 150 cows • Annual production increase from 780,000 litres to 1,170,000 litres • Associated increase in replacement heifer numbers and forage area • Associated increase in overhead costs (such as labour, electricity, water and fuel) • Funded by £250,000 20-year fixed-rate loan costing £17,625/year (equivalent of 1.5ppl) • £250,000 spent on 50 extra cows plus fully-prioritised capital items.

Difference between profit gain and cashflow improvement: this is due to repaying loan capital, plus extra income tax on higher profits. Difference between profit gain and net worth gain: this is due to extra income tax on higher profits.

Producers will primarily feel the cash benefit as they run their businesses on a day-to-day basis, rather than the extra profit or net worth gain. Expansion plans should not be purely based on additional profit, but also changes to cash flows and net worth gain.

Table 1: Return on investment from expansion (source: Promar)

benefit of expansion rate of return on £250,000 investment

profit

cash-flow

net worth gain

+£20,300 8.1%

+£3,700 1.5%

+£16,200 6.5%

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D A I RY

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Just some of the ‘must-see’ products and services being launched at this year’s show

Get with the programme Health and fertility are important issues for producers, playing a key role in herd and business success. And they’re set to be major features once again at the Dairy Event and Livestock Show. We highlight some of the ‘not-to-be-missed’ features and new products that are set to make their debut at the NEC in Birmingham. text Rachael Porter

Farm Health Planning ‘partnerships’ It’s all about team work in this year’s Farm Health Planning (FHP) seminars. Milk fever, fertility, lameness, Johne’s disease, mastitis and BVD will all be put under the spotlight by the Cattle Health and Welfare Group. Presentations will be made by producer:vet partnerships and discussions will be chaired by British Cattle Veterinary Association members. The seminars will be staged in an open area with visitor seating, enclosed by glass panels and located in the Animal Health Zone. A dairy producer will introduce each seminar and, with his vet, explain how they are working together to solve a particular challenge. Visitors will be encouraged to participate in the sessions by using voting keypads. “We’re taking a completely new approach to the FHP seminars, which are returning to the event for the fourth consecutive year,” explains FHP co-ordinator Brian Lindsay.

“Each will examine one of the challenging health issues experienced by virtually every dairy or beef herd, and how they have been addressed by individual producers working in partnership with their vet. “The opportunity to hear first hand

from both producers and their vets about how they are meeting these challenges head on, using a team approach to implement strategies for the farm’s unique circumstances will, I am sure, provide plenty of valuable food for thought.”

Table 1: The Farm Health Planning seminars (Stand AH-167)

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speakers vet

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A cool, calm and co-ordinated approach to milk fever Richard Cooper Dairy cow fertility, more important now than ever before Jon Mouncey, Westpoint Veterinary Group Lameness, no more lame excuses; use what’s available to get it right John Reader Johne’s, reaping the benefits of effective control Dick Sibley and Peter Orpin Mastitis, the holistic approach to targeted management James Breen BVD – testing times Paul Burr MRCVS

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farmer Ollie and Ed Partridge Tim Gue, Huddlestone Farmers Neil Baker Rob Clapp Bob Mitchell, Drumdreel Farm

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Adding value to activity monitors Genus ABS is launching an insemination service specifically tailored for producers who use activity monitors to aid heat detection. AI Plus provides a complimentary breeding service to producers looking to maximise pregnancy production in herds with activity monitors. “While activity monitors are an aid to heat detection, they can have significant drawbacks,” says Genus’ Richard Williams. “Activity monitors use changes in a cow’s behaviour as an indicator of heat. However, research shows that activity monitors often incorrectly flag cows for service leading to missed opportunities to breed and to cows being bred which are not in heat, often because they are already pregnant. Both represent a financial loss.”

Under the AI Plus service, the producer calls a Genus ABS technician when the activity monitor identifies cows may be due for service. The technician visits the farm and, using individual animal examination, will decide if cows should be bred or not. Decisions not to breed will ensure that cows that showed increased activity but are not actually in heat are not served. Semen is only thawed once cows have been identified as genuinely due for service. “This service will maximise the benefit of producers’ investment in activity monitors by ensuring that only cows due for service are actually served. And by using a skilled technician it will be possible to ensure higher conception rates, which will lead to more pregnancies,” adds Mr Williams.

Unique calf electrolyte And once those cows calve, the focus swings to calf health. If scours are an issue on your unit, then a calf electrolyte will be launched at the show that could be of interest. First Thirst is a unique calf electrolyte, based on proven science and backed up by trials and use on farms, according to Preston-based animal health company G Shepherd. Formulated by Professor Jon Naylor, an expert on calf diarrhoea, dehydration and acid-base balance, it is a dry powder that is packaged in individual sachets. It contains a pre-biotic that increases good protective bacteria and prevents bacteria travelling across the gut wall. And it’s unique in that it can be used with milk in mild or moderate diarrhoea. “It is also potent enough to be used in severe cases alone, when milk is withdrawn for 36 hours,” says Graham Shepherd. The pre-biotic used is a Galacto-Oligosaccharide (GOS), which is a milk-derived chain of sugars, resistant to mammalian digestive enzymes. “So it acts in the intestines to increase the calf’s own good protective bacteria (Lactobacilli and Bifidobacter) and prevents pathogenic bacteria, such as Salmonella and Campylobacter, travelling across the gut wall and into the tissues,” he adds. “It is much more effective than pro-biotic bacteria, and much more stable in storage and manufacture.” Milk does not need to be withheld in mild and moderate cases due to the alkalinising agent in the product. This is mainly acetate, rather than bicarbonate. The latter neutralises acid in the abomasums, preventing the vital clotting and allowing further pathogens past the gastric acid barrier. But acetate does not have these issues. Acetate only neutralises acid after it is absorbed, acting within cells and not the abomasum.Visit G Shepherd at stand number AH-207 to find out more.

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No more ‘lame’ excuses For those battling with lameness – or looking to tackle it head on before it becomes a serious problem in their herd – DairyCo has some good news. It will be launching a programme that’s designed to tackle lameness literally one step at a time. The Healthy Feet Programme aims to help producers to reduce incidence of lameness on a more permanent basis. What’s more, it will also be giving producers who visit the stand a Healthy

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Feet ‘goody bag’ to help them get started. “Lameness can cost an average of £180 per case,” says DairyCo product manager Kate Cross. “But despite the cost, and the fact that none of us likes to see a lame cow, there has been an absence of a structured approach to lameness reduction in recent years.” The programme has been developed using some of the most up-to-date research on mobility and lameness,

including the recent Tubney Charitable Trust-funded report. Taking the learning from the DairyCo Mastitis Control Plan and the Healthy Feet Project at Bristol, the programme gives producers the opportunity to work with a trained mentor to develop a bespoke plan that will help get lameness under control on a more permanent basis. “There’s much more to it than knowing when to footbath and hoof trim,” says Kate. “Working with a mentor to identify and tackle the causes of lameness means you’ll have the support you need to get you and your staff using the right approach to get on top of the problem and make sure you stay there.” “Producers can address mobility challenges using the tools and publications we’ve produced, alongside the established mobility scoring aids,” says Kate. “Using our new lesion recognition card to identify and then record lesions, as well as regular mobility scoring will help producers to build a picture of mobility issues on their farm. “This is an important part of the programme as it gives you the background work, but it’s working with the mentor that will really benefit you and help to reduce incidence of lameness in the long term.” Find out more and collect your goody bag from stand number H-203.

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DAIRY EVENT and Livestock Show Most welcome in Stand MK 421

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H O W

D O

T H E Y

D O

T H A T ?

A pair of boots in less than 90 seconds

Soles and moulds Bekina, based in the Belgian town of Kluisbergen, is a well-known manufacturer of Wellington boots. They’re made from polyurethane, a type of plastic that is not only known for its durability but also for its insulating properties. And each year Bekina produces approximately 450,000 pairs of boots, worn by professionals working in agriculture and the food processing sector. text Annelies Debergh pictures Harrie van Leeuwen

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There are four different production plant lines in Bekina’s factory. Six pairs of boots, in different sizes or different models, can be produced per cycle and as many as 3,000 pairs of boots can be made in 24 hours.

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A very thin silicone film is laid onto the mould to prevent the boot from sticking to the mould during the production process. Then the operator brings the lining of the boot on to the last – the name for the model used to build the boot around. Depending on the safety level required, a steel top and perhaps a steel sole can be attached. A small ‘carousel’ with socks, steel tops and steel soles revolves with the boot carousel, so that the operator always fits the correct components to the correct boot.

3

The mould closes and a high-speed screw mixes the two ingredients for polyurethane at a temperature of 50°C. Mixing the components produces a chemical reaction that causes little bubbles to form and this foam reaction takes just 20 seconds.

4

During the mixing process colour is added to the polyurethane, depending on the final colour of the boot. There are five standard colours for the sole and six for the leg. The sole-leg colour combination used depends the model.

5

Three minutes along the production line and the mould is sprayed by a second spray unit. The sole has a better grip, a higher density and often a different colour from the leg. When the foam is finally set, the boot is taken out of the mould.

6

The surplus material – overflow from the mould – is cut away from the sole and the leg. The boots are then placed on a mobile rack and sorted, according to size and model, to give the polyurethane sufficient time to react.

7

The boots rest on the rack for 24 hours, sorted according to size and model. Bekina produces five models, for leisure, agriculture, industry and for extreme cold. Most models are produced in sizes 35 to 49. After 24 hours, any remaining surplus material is removed from the boots.

8

After the boots have been checked over for one final time by a quality control officer for any production faults, the maker’s name and the safety specifications that the boots satisfy are stamped on the inside and the outside of the boot using a stamping machine. Each pair of boots is provided with quality inner soles and a hanging tag. Finally the boots are packed and labelled in pairs.

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BREEDING INFORMATION

New out-cross bulls Dome’s Navarro is broadly usable due to his pedigree and his complete profile. This Mascol son, from a Melchior daughter, knows how to improve both production and type and offers great calving ease (109). The feet and legs of Navarro daughters are of a high quality (112 feet and legs with 108 hoof health and excellent locomotion at 112). Navarro’s production figures are +246kg for milk, +12.8kg (+0.04%) for fat and +15.1kg (+0.09%) for protein, with a PLI of £148 Visstein Gunfire is also a Mascol son but from an Addison cow whose family is known for high lifetime production and healthy udders. Gunfire will also have broad appeal with great all-round type, good body condition and strong secondary traits (104 calving ease, –22 SCC, +355 days longevity). Gunfire’s production figures are +371kg for milk, +19.2kg (+0.06%) for fat and +12.1kg (+0.00%) for protein with a PLI of £114. Both Navarro and Gunfire are available priced at £18 per straw. Coyne-Farms Marshal Yank (PLI £155) is sired by BW Marshall and his dam is the famous Milkworth Manfred Yadda. Yank combines very high milk (+811) kg, fat (+24.6kg –0.09%) and protein (+24.1kg –0.03%) with good scores on all type traits. This produces a total conformation score of 112. His breeding values for udder traits are ideal. Yank breeds cows with high shallow udders that are strongly attached at both the Gunfire daughter Nana 50

front and rear with deep bodies and wide slightly sloped rumps, as well as great feet and legs. He’s available as conventional semen, priced at £17, and £26 per straw as sexed semen. Call Avoncroft for free on 0800 7831880.

Second-crop out cross Jocko Besne son Delta Paramount now has more than 19,000 daughters in his proof in Holland and 109 in the UK, with a PLI of £142. He inherits +838kg of milk, +18.3kg (–0.17) of fat and 26.9kg (+0.05%) of protein, as well as a total conformation of 110 with 109 for both udder and feet and legs. Paramount is available as both conventional semen, priced at £18 and sexed semen, priced at £36 per straw.

Top red-and-whites

Genomic dream sires Black and white Cookiecutter Mom Hunter (Man-O-Man x Shottle x Goldwyn x Champion) is from the famous Dellia cow family and is with 2431 GTPI the highest Man-O-Man son in the world. Clear-Echo M-O-M Heman (Man-OMan x Goldwyn x Wizard) at 2,283 GTPI is an all-rounder with no weak points.

Hunter

Delta Fidelity confirms his superb all-round qualities with +£176 PLI and a final score of 108 with 112 for feet and legs and 110 for locomotion. Topspeed Kodak belongs at the top due to his extremely high longevity score (+724 days), which means that his daughters will stay in the herd almost a year longer than daughters of bulls that score zero days for longevity. His easy calving, great hoof health (106) and low somatic cell scores (–11) with +£146 PLI make him very attractive. Both bulls are available as both conventional and as sexed semen, Fidelity is priced at £22 and £34. Kodak is priced at £18 and £36. Call Avoncroft on 0800 7831880.

Red and white Fasna Asterix P offers an out-cross pedigree (Lawn Boy x Canvas) for red Holstein breeding. In the US, his 1,941 GTPI makes him one of the highest available red-andwhite naturally polled bulls worldwide. For full details on all InSire bulls available from Avoncroft telephone 0800 7831880.

Asterix

Yank daughter Ella 112

COW MAN AG E ME N T

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G O L D

C U P

Unique features put six herds in the line up for this year’s Gold Cup

Six high flyers go for gold More than 500 British dairy herds qualified for this year’s NMR/ RABDF Gold Cup. We’re now down to six finalists. Just one will pick up the Gold Cup at the Dairy Event and Livestock Show in September.

2011 Winner The winner will be announced at the Dairy Event, NEC, on Tuesday September 6 on the NMR stand at 4.30pm along with the winner of the Chris May Memorial Salver.

text Karen Wright

Kevin Jones, Northop, Flintshire Kevin and Ann Jones are the fifth generation to farm at Bryn Mawr. The 229-ha farm has been in the Tir Cynnal agri-environment scheme for five years. With soaring inputs, the family is In Tir Cynnal agri-environment scheme

investing in the future. In 2009 a new slurry store was erected costing just under £100,000 and giving five months’ storage. This maximises the use of the nutrients and saves £11,500 in fertiliser. Slurry is spread by an umbilical system. A further £25,000 has been invested in 43 pv solar panels generating 10kW of electricity. And a pump brings water from a spring under the farm for storage in an old milk tanker saving £10,000 in water bills. The next project is for thermal roof panels to heat water for washing down,. This should cut electricity costs by 40%. The 260-cow Starkey Holstein herd – with 220 milkers – averages 10,308kg at

Kevin and Ann and Kevin’s father Glyn

3.77% butterfat and 3.22% protein (2x). Milk is sold to Tomlinsons Dairies of Wrexham which pays a premium for Welsh branded milk. Cell counts are running at 168,000cells/ml with Bactoscan at 18. The herd’s calving index is 416 days.

Chris Simmons, Wotton-under-Edge, Gloucs Feeding and fertility have been top priorities this year for Chris Simmons. So meticulous has been his attention to feeding detail that this highproduction herd has doubled its milk from forage to 3,139kg in 12 months. Feeding is top priority

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The drive for feed efficiency has seen the Total Mixed Ration change during the past year, with an 80:20 ratio of maize to grass silage considered ideal for the winter mix. Pushing the TMR up to the cows six times daily is also considered essential for high intakes. Herd fertility is managed with equal precision and a calving interval of 404 days is heading downwards. Herd expansion is the focus on this unit with a new 120-cubicle shed and earth-banked slurry lagoon now under construction, with the aim of supporting a herd of 370 by the end of the year. Average production for the Kingsfoll herd is 11,223kg at 3.84% fat and 3.29% protein (3x).

Chris Simmons in front of new cubicle shed under construction

All milk is now sold from the yearround calving herd on a liquid contract for premium, niche markets through Farmright. Average cell count is 172,000cells per ml.

C VCO EO EWTWM EM EALANTNAAJGA GEN EMM UEAENR NTIT S1SE/EP2PT T2 E EM 0M 0B9BE ER R 2 20 00 19 1

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Miller family, Evesham, Worcestershire In 15 years, since arriving at Greville Farm with 46 cows, the Millers have expanded. Today they are heading upwards from the 280 cows they milk. The business on the 330ha of tenanted

Aim is for high dry matter intakes

land is overseen by father, Mike, with mother Shan controlling calves and accounts and brothers Steve and Paul taking on cropping and cows respectively. Sisters Katie and Amy work off the farm but both have careers in the industry. Keen pedigree breeders and involved in embryo transfer programmes, they’ve had some fantastic achievements. At the top of the game is Shanael Bolton Golden VG88 2yr, who has given one of the highest two-year-old yields on record in Europe and has a Profitable Lifetime Index of £284. In her first lactation she produced 16,160kg in 305 days and entered a longterm flushing programme. Some 40 of her embryos are dispersed across Europe and North America. But Steve and Paul keep firmly focussed on milk production efficiency and put nutrition and cow comfort top on the agenda. They aim for a dry matter intake of 23.33kg across the three production

Left to right: Steven, Katie, Paul, Carlyn – Paul’s wife – with Ava, Shan, Amy, Michael Miller

groups with a TMR designed to provide maintenance plus 45 litres for the high yielding group. The Shanael herd has an NMR annual average production of 11,801kg at 3.70% fat and 3.15% protein (3x). Milk is sold to Cotteswold Dairy in Tewkesbury. The calving index is 423 days and cell count average is 186,000cells/ml.

Christopher and Ray Gasson, Banbury, Oxon Ray and Chris Gasson installed a new 50-point rotary milking parlour in 2003, complete with 200 cubicles, new silage clamps and a slurry store. The slurry store was extended, and now has six months storage, to allow more strategic use of the nutrients. Plans are in place to replace the older 200 cow kennel cubicles with a new single-span building to improve the

quality of housing and ventilation, as well as cow comfort. Day-to-day running of the 340-hectare unit is down to manager John Peck, with herdsmen Stan Peake and Ed Williams and four part-time staff. Chris, a vet in practice in Somerset, is particularly involved with herd health. The herd is vaccinated for IBR, BVD and leptospirosis. The farm is in the Wild-Care scheme and more than 20% of the farm is used to

50-point rotary milking parlour at Redlands Farm

Left to right: John Peck, Chris Gasson, Ed Williams, Stan Peake and Ryan Hall

create wildlife habitats. There are four ponds, 12ha of woodland, lowinput permanent pasture and wild life strips. Active participants of the Open Farm Sunday event, the family encourage people to have access to the farm and to learn about the dairy and arable businesses. The year-round calving herd’s recorded average yield is 10,282 litres (2x) at 3.77% butterfat and 3.13% protein. Calving interval is 413 days and cell counts average 140, and the Bactoscan average is 20. Milk is sold to Dairy Crest for Waitrose.

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G O L D

C UP

King Family, Dorchester, Dorset Like many producers, achieving the best possible milk price is a key objective for Tom King who farms the 120-ha unit with his father. Calving year round and producing as much milk as possible supports this. The herd has doubled to 300 cows in the past 11 years and to keep more cows they have converted two existing silage barns into cubicle The herd has expanded with home bred heifers

sheds and built a new feed yard. Also they recently extended and upgraded the existing 16:16 herringbone parlour to an 18:18 with auto ID, ADF and pedometers to aid heat detection. Milking time has been reduced without compromising the milking routine. Feeding and day-to-day management both play a big part in herd performance. The replacement rate is only 16% and herd lifetime daily yield is an impressive 14.36kg a day, indicating that cows have good fertility and staying power. To ensure cows maintain this longevity, potential sires are screened for fitness, herd life, fertility and cell counts. Tom’s brother Charlie – a nutritionist – formulates the ration and sources feed for the TMR that is based on maize, grass and lucerne silage. This supports maintenance plus 37 litres. Herd health is high on the agenda too. Lameness, mastitis and any metabolic

Tom King holding cow on halter with his mother Maggie and brother Charlie (to his left) and (from left) Lewis Watson, Mike Ball and Mike Miners

disorders are benchmarked and necessary improvements are made. Vortex Holsteins average 11,568kg of milk at 3.9% fat and 3.03% protein (3x) with a SCC of 89,000/ml and a calving interval of 412 days. Milk is sold to Dairy Crest on a Sainsbury’s Dairy Development Group (SDDG) liquid contract.

Tim Gue, Steyning, West Sussex Tim and Marion Gue manage the 385-strong Huddlestone pedigree herd as part of a team with four fulltime staff, including two herd managers. The herd calves from August through to April and is fed a TMR all year round, formulated by Marion who is also a nutritionist. The milking herd run in three groups: fresh cows; highs, open cows giving more than 30 litres; and lows. The low group is turned out as early

as possible in the spring but cows are always housed for a third of the day to get their TMR. Despite being a high index herd with a PLI of £59, breeding here focuses on type with a view to increasing longevity. Recent investments include a 120-place calf house, with automatic side curtains to aid ventilation and plans are in place for a new 120-cow place cubicle building to enable bulling heifers to be on the unit. New mattresses for the cow houses

Low yielders graze over summer

Backrow; Tim Gue, Marisuz Serdynski, Piotr Serdynski, Sam Picot, Adam Christian; Frontrow Anthony Trigwell, Marion Gue, Neil Stokes

will also improve cow comfort. Tim has just renewed the farm’s countryside stewardship scheme, converting to the higher level with particular emphasis on wading bird habitats on some of the farm’s riverside meadows. The average production for the Huddlestone herd is 10,655kg of milk at 3.83% butterfat and 3.15% protein (3x). The average SCC is 153,000cells/ml and the calving interval is 406 days. Milk is sold to Tesco via Arla.

Herd production figures are based on qualifying data for the year ending September 2010

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The only single anticoccidial drench licensed for dairy calves, beef calves and lambs Indoors or out Any weight and age Zero meat withdrawal With no environmental restrictions on use Allows the development of natural immunity1, 2 Always seek advice on the correct use of medicines from the prescriber, your veterinarian or suitably qualified person. Vecoxan® 2.5 mg/ml Oral Suspension contains diclazuril 2.5 mg/ml. Legal category POM-VPS Use medicines responsibly. www.noah.co.uk/responsible. 1. Agneessens et al. Build up of immunity after diclazuril treatment in calves. Poster at World Buiatrics Congress, France October 2006 2. Cieslicki M, Diclazuril (Vecoxan ®), ein neues produkt zur metaphylaxe und therapie der kokzidiose des schafes, Tierärztl Prax 2001; 29(G): 73-77

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25-08-2011 11:40:12


F R O M

T H E

V E T E R I N A RY D E B B Y

P R A C T I C E

B R O W N

Consulting cattle vet Debby Brown, from Lancaster-based Advance Nutrition, takes a timely look at health and welfare issues that are affecting dairy herds across the UK. In this issue she explains how to prevent and treat an all-to-common condition that occurs around calving.

Sub-clinical milk fever cases can manifest as other health problems

Mind the gap! B

etween 10 and 20% of older cows, in their third or more lactation, are thought to suffer from hypocalcaemia, or clinical milk fever, and 75% of cows are thought to suffer from sub-clinical milk fever. I expect that the second figure is much higher than most producers expected. Milk fever tends to occur shortly after calving when there is a shortage of calcium. During the dry period there is no requirement for calcium for milk production, although there is some requirement for other functions, so the rate of absorption from the intestine and release from the cow’s skeleton, which is hormone regulated, is reduced. At calving there is a sudden increase in the cow’s requirement for calcium for milk production. The increase in absorption from the intestine takes 24 hours and release from the skeleton takes 48 hours. So there is always a ‘gap’ or deficiency in calcium levels at calving, which can present itself either sub-clinically or clinically. In a clinical case, the cow may become a ‘downer’ cow and this will result her needing rapid calcium administration, probably by intravenous injection by a vet. However, the after effects of this, and also sub clinical cases, can be as costly to the producer as the obvious downer cow. The consequences of both clinical and sub-clinical milk fever include increased incidences of ketosis, displaced abomasums, metritis and mastitis. These are all costly conditions. Prevention is obviously the preferred approach and feeding a good quality and well-balanced dry cow ration is the answer. Some producers feed a DCAB ration during the dry period, as this helps to increase calcium mobilisation and raise levels of calcium in the blood. But it can be difficult to do correctly and requires careful monitoring. Feeding for low calcium in the dry period is difficult, so try to ‘bind’ the calcium and then feed to allow immediate release at calving.

The encyclopaedia Hypocalcaemia (milk fever) Cause Calcium deficiency at calving. Usually compounded by feeding an unbalanced dry cow ration prior to calving.

Symptoms Clinical cases present with the typical ‘downer’ cow – a cow that can’t stand. But she may also be very still or twitchy and she may stagger. Sub-clinical cases are more difficult to spot, but if you have recurring or high incidences of other problems post calving – such as LDAs or retained cleansing – it may be worth

investigating to see if sub-clinical milk fever is the underlying cause.

Treatment Downer cows should be given an intravenous injection of calcium as an emergency treatment. Subcutaneous injection or oral supplements (boluses/pastes) are an option but they’re not as good since only a small amount is absorbed, making them less effective.

Prevention Ensure that the dry-cow ration and management is tailored to reduce the gap between the cow’s requirement for calcium and her ability to mobilise it at calving. Consider DCAB rations or other approaches, such as urine monitoring, as a pre-emptive strike against the condition.

COW MAN AG E ME N T

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DAIRY MANAGEMENT NEWS

Dairy Event spotlight Johne’s control will be the focus of NMR’s exhibit at this year’s Dairy Event and Livestock Show, NEC on September 6 and 7.

Tools for control NMR will be demonstrating how to assess the threat of Johne’s and implement the best control programmes in their individual herd. Included within this is a biosecurity assessment that establishes the risk of entry or spread of Johne’s and the development of the disease within the herd. NMR is extending its Johne’s milk testing services with the introduction of Johne’s Essential. Available to milk producers, including those not currently milk recording, this service provides basic quarterly screening. Since the introduction of the Johne’s 30-cow screening initiative in January 2011, more 700 herds have carried out individual milk sample tests for Johne’s antibody on groups of 30 cows. Of these almost 70% found at least one positive. “But the number of affected animals is

generally low,” says NMR’s managing director Andy Warne. “And in most herds it is possible to follow a screening and control programme so the risk of spread is minimised or hopefully eliminated. We will be talking to producers about the best Johne’s control tools to use in their herds.”

City breaks to be won NMR is offering prizes of luxury hampers and two city breaks in its Johne’s awareness campaign. Open to all producers, entrants must answer six questions on the tools available to control Johne’s disease. The answers can all be found on NMR’s website and producers can enter either online or at the Dairy Event and other major events this autumn. A luxury hamper, worth £100, will go to the name drawn from all correct entries at the Dairy Event. Correct entries will also go into the grand draw at the end of the year with two lucky producers winning a weekend European city break for two including travel and accommodation.

Trio of winners Three home-bred cows from NMR recorded herds took top awards at the Royal Welsh Show this summer. Overall Best Dairy Cow & Supreme Dairy Champion went to Castellhyfryd Spirte Rosina. Bred and exhibited by Simon and Sian Davies of the Brynhyfryd herd, Hebron, Whitland, Camarthenshire. The RWAS Production Inspection Class

New AFM

was won by Feithy Margaret 89 EX92 (2) from ER and ME Jones and Sons herd from Cilfeithy Uchaf, Kidwelly, Carmarthenshire. John Williams from Cardigan, Ceredigion took first prize in the NMR/ RWAS Lifetime Daily Yield Competition with their cow Troedyrhiw Atomic Gwenda VG 87 who had a value of 27.96kg a day.

Castellhyfryd Spirte Rosina with Simon Davies, NMR’s Jonathan Davies (left) and NMR board member Bryan Thomas (right)

Fran Graves

Fran Graves is NMR’s new area manager who will look after north Lincolnshire through South Yorkshire and into east Lancashire. A Lincolnshire girl, Fran is based in the Lincolnshire Wolds and has been a milk recorder in the area on seven farms for the past year. She combined this job with a customer services role for the local council, processing claims for housing and council tax benefit. Fran has also worked on a 600-head beef suckler herd.

June 100 tonners

June saw a new line up of 100-tonne cows. Ranked on lifetime daily yield (LDY) here are the top three. A full list can be found on the NMR website. • Rachel 5 from West Sussex herd D Goodwin and Son, Lindfield, Haywards Heath, produced 100,922kg of milk in seven lactations and has a LDY of 29.25kg. • Winfarthing Jane from E S Cole and Son’s herd, based in Diss in Norfolk, produced 112,192kg of milk in nine lactations and has a LDY of 28.77kg. • Convincer 211 from the Gibb’s herd, Eachwick, Dalton, Newcastle upon Tyne, produced 100,502kg of milk in six lactations and has a LDY of 28.33kg.

For more information on NMR products and services contact customer services, 0844 7255567, NMR web address: www.nmr.co.uk, NMR email address: customerservices@nmr.co.uk COW MAN AG E ME N T

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coolcowstuff@hotmail.co.uk

Christmas shopping solutions! Visit the website for a combination of hand crafted items, end of line and unusual gifts from around the world. Come and see us the South West Dairy Show, Shepton Mallet 5th Oct 2011

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2 0 1 1

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C O W M A NVAEGE ET M E EE LNTT J SAENP UT A E M R IB E1 R/ 2 2 0 21 01 0 9

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G R A S S L A N D

We weigh up the costs and benefits of reseeding and grazing tack sheep

Autumn grass decisions

Ensuring that you have good quality grass leys is one of the best ways to reduce your herd’s reliance on purchased feeds. And now is the time to make some important decisions that will impact on next year’s grazing and silage crops. text Rachael Porter

R

eseeding costs are on the increase, with diesel and seed and fertiliser prices all rising, and although many producers may be considering delaying reseeds, Promar’s Danni Cooke still believes that there is a strong economic case for a structured reseeding programme. “While reseeding costs around £500/ha, the benefits in increased productivity will far outweigh this,” Ms Cooke explains. “As swards age and the proportion of less productive species increases, so productivity declines. And this does two things. It reduces the yield achievable and also increases the cost of each kilogramme of dry matter grown.”

50

Table 1 looks at the output and the cost of dry matter production for a mediumterm cutting ley over a seven-year period.

The cost of production includes annual growing costs and the write off of initial reseeding costs. “In the first year there is plenty of high ME grass but, as the sward ages, the output in terms of dry matter production and the quality as measured as average ME of the grass both drop off. This results in an increase in the cost per kilogramme of DM grown. “The cost of additional feed required to make up the energy shortfall must be added to this to allow a similar milk output per hectare.

Table 1: The output and the cost of dry matter production for a medium-term cutting ley over a seven-year period

year 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

yield (t DM/year)

ME (MJ/kg)

cost of prod. p/kg DM

lost MJ (‘1000/ha)

concentrates to replace at £220/t

13.0 12.5 11.5 10.5 9.5 8.5 7.0

12.0 11.8 11.6 11.4 11.2 11.0 10.8

10.0 10.4 11.3 12.4 13.7 15.3 18.0

— 6 18 30 42 54 72

— £110 £330 £550 £770 £1,000 £1,325

C VCO EO EWTWM EM EALANTNAAJGA GEN EMM UEAENR NTIT S1SE/EP2PT T2 E EM 0M 0B9BE ERR 2 20 00 19 1

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25-08-2011 14:06:55


Danni Cooke: “Increased productivity will outweigh reseed costs”

Leigh Berrisford: “Phosphate and potash are important nutrients”

“By year six the cost per kilogramme of DM has increased by 50% and an additional £1,000 of concentrate per hectare is required to replace the reduced energy available from the grass. The breakeven point is around four years,” she explains. “The decline in output isn’t something that is usually measured, but it is something that happens naturally in all swards. So reseeding is one way to make sure that sward productivity is maintained, and purchased feed costs controlled, so I would advise against putting off the reseeding of swards that are showing their age.”

“It is important to ensure that the seed goes into a well-prepared seed bed containing the correct nutrients for root development,” he says. Phosphate and potash are particularly important for establishment of both grasses and clovers and are affected by previous crop management. Unless routine fertiliser practices have maintained soil levels, the status of both P and K will have been depleted, potentially reducing the success of the reseed. “Fields used primarily for silage often have low P and K status. New leys ideally require a soil index of 2 for both phosphate and potash. A soil analysis can help prevent problems with nutrient shortages and also save money on unnecessary applications. “For example, if a field is at soil index 2 it will require 50kg/ha of both phosphate and potash in the seedbed. A field at soil index 1, however, requires 80kg of each nutrient. Without an updated analysis,

Seed-bed preparation Once the decision to reseed has been taken it is vital to do everything to make sure the new ley is well established. Ensuring good plant establishment is crucial if reseeding is going to be cost effective, according to NWF Agriculture’s Leigh Berrisford.

how do you know what to apply? “If the field is at index 1 and you only apply 50kg then initial germination will be reduced and plants will grow less vigorously, being more prone to moisture shortages due to inadequate root development. Conversely if the field was at index 2 and 60kg per nutrient were applied, this would equate to 10kg/ha of excess P and K which is a cost that could be avoided.” Mr Berrisford also recommends soil analysis as the best way to check on the pH status of the soil. Reseeds are particularly susceptible to pH and lime should be applied if the soil pH is less than 6.4. A failure to correct pH will result in poor nutrient uptake by the plant and reduced bacterial and earthworm activity in the soil.

Soil structure As well as ensuring the correct nutrient status, Mr Berrisford stresses the importance of seed bed preparation. “Start by looking at soil structure as poor structure will lead to waterlogging and reduced growth. “Compaction, or soil pans, will reduce root penetration. Pans from machinery damage can be as far as 275mm below the surface. “The key to optimum germination is ensuring good soil-to-seed contact, so prepare a fine tilth that’s between 5cm and 8cm deep and then roll before seeding to ensure the surface is firm. And sow before too much moisture is lost but avoid sowing when it’s too wet,” he recommends. l

Good autumn/winter grazing management If fields are not being reseeded it is important to manage them well this autumn to ensure good early season growth. “If you want to maximise the availability of early season grass you need to leave fields in the right condition this autumn,” says Promar’s Paul Henderson. “Ideally fields need between 7.5cm and 10cm of vegetative growth with the minimum of stems and seed heads. Leafy growth is not affected by winter kill, but stems will be killed off, becoming unpalatable dead material in the spring sward.” He advises grazing fields hard or topping them to remove all seed heads before they are shut up with a cover of leafy growth of between 1,750 and 1,850kg/ ha. Fields should be closed up in the

order they will be opened up again. This ensures that the early grazed fields have the most grass on them. He also advises caution when considering tack sheep. “Grass will start growing at temperatures above 5°C and it is important that this early growth is there for the cows, so be prepared to move sheep off early. “If sheep are grazing cow fields then they should be gone by no later than February 1, or sooner on units where turn out may be early.” While sheep may tidy up old stemmy swards, he stresses that they much prefer eating new season growth and the cost of this will far outweigh the income received. “Most producers get about 50p/sheep/ week and graze them at around five ewes/ha giving a monthly income of just

over £10/ha. Early season grass will grow at around 45kg DM per hectare per day, equivalent to 1.4 tonnes per month. “With grass worth £50/t DM, this monthly growth is valued at £70/ha – a great deal more than the income from sheep grazing. Keeping sheep too long costs you money and will restrict early season grazing for cows.”

COWMANA c o w m a n a Gg EMENT e m e n t SEPTEMBER s e p t e m b e r 22 00 10 19

CM06_AutumnReseeding 51

51

25-08-2011 14:07:06


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CM06_p52.indd 52

25-08-2011 13:06:31


b u s i n e s s

up d a t e

Prices are steady and set to stay that way for the medium term

Milk-cheque trends What are the key drivers behind UK milk prices and what can producers expect to be paid later this year and in early 2012? text Rachael Porter

M

ilk price – it’s always a hot topic for producers and comes in for some heavy-weight discussion at every Dairy Event. So, milk buyer politics aside, what are the real factors behind the figure you see every month on the milk cheque? UK milk prices are not totally at the mercy of the global or European dairy commodity markets. Yes, they do have a bearing on UK prices to a point, but it’s not so immediate or dramatic, according to Cranfield University’s Sean Rickard. “The UK consumes a lot of liquid milk – a lot more than European countries. And that goes a long way to explaining why EU milk prices have been between 4ppl and 5ppl higher than UK prices for the past decade. Much of the milk produced in the EU is processed into value-added produce,” he says. UK milk prices are, indeed, up at the moment – by between 2ppl and 3ppl compared to 2010 prices. “And in some respects this is simply the market reacting to supply and it is linked to an increase in the global price. But I think that the supermarkets have also realised Table 1: Top and bottom five UK milk prices paid in June 2011 (source: DairyCo Datum 2011)

buyer

price (ppl)

top five Dairy Crest Tesco Core Wiseman Tesco Arla Tesco First Milk Tesco – profile Dairy Crest Tesco – seasonal

29.72 29.64 29.63 29.49 29.22

bottom five First Milk Balancing Comp. – dual pricing First Milk Cheese – dual pricing Dairy Crest milk&more – variable Milk Link Landyrnog Direct – seasonal Milk Link Llandyrnog Direct – A&B

25.76 25.75 25.75 25.67 25.54

that they don’t really want to have to import liquid milk.” There are signs that production is increasing in the UK because 2010 marked the first year that milk production actually increased, rather than staying the same. Compared to the three-year average, current deliveries are approximately 1.3m litres/day (3.8%) higher. “So things are looking positive and I’m optimistic about milk price for the next 12 months or so – if not longer term.”

Huge variation There is a huge gap – between 4ppl and 5ppl – between the prices that different UK milk buyers are currently paying for milk. Tesco and M&S contracts are commanding between 29.5 and 30.5ppl at the moment, compared to just 25ppl for milk sold to buyers including Milk Link and First Milk on some contracts. “At 25ppl businesses can still be profitable, but things are definitely tighter,” says the Farm Consultancy Group’s Charles Holt. “Profits will only arise if cheap family labour is available, or there are low costs or a low rent.” He says that supermarkets want to pay a strong price, partly to ensure a level and secure supply – both for them and their processors – but they also want to be seen to be supporting UK producers. This agri-political stance is good for producers while it lasts and other buyers will follow suit where possible. He expects that prices will stay strong and could increase in the short term – certainly well into 2012. “Producers are still leaving the industry and this will help to keep supplies relative short and prices high.” Useful websites to visit to keep abreast of the dairy trade and milk prices include: www.globaldairytrade.info and www.dairyco. net/datum

cow m an ag e m e n t

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25-08-2011 15:33:55


B U L L

P R O O F S

O Man sons face a growing challenge in the top 20

Move over, O Man There’s plenty of choice in the top 10 of the latest bull proof ranking, according to Dorset-based producer and breeder Willy Ley. He says that this is great news for producers because it means that they can spread the risk when selecting sires – they’re not limited to O Man bloodlines. text Rachael Porter

O

Man bloodlines have dominated the Profitable Lifetime Index (PLI) ranking for as long as many Holstein breeders can remember, but that’s all set to change. There are at least half a dozen serious challengers in the top 20 offering alternative bloodlines. And among the best of the non-O Man sons are some exceptional British contenders, which feature high on the list of all UK and international sires. For now, the reigning number-one sire is Lynbrook Jancen. He retains his leading position this month, with a PLI of £251 – a reflection of his daughters’ plentiful production of outstanding quality milk and their good fitness traits, particularly lifespan. New bulls, which have entered the ranking since the previous proof run in April, are led by the outstanding production bull, ALH Dakota. He ranks in second position with a PLI of £248. The combination of 1,058kg milk, 33.6kg fat and 34kg protein PTAs (Predicted Transmitting Ability) together with good daughter cell counts are this O Man son’s major attractions, while daughter fertility improves to see him rise up the rankings. “I’ve not come across him Gran-J Oman McCormick

54

Willy Ley

before – I’ve not really taken too much notice. But I’m watching him now,” says Willy. He also has a close eye on the next new entrant to the top 10 – Pirolo Goldwyn Wyman, one of five sons of Goldwyn to feature in the top 20. Out of a Jocko Besne dam, Wyman’s key attractions are his daughters’ low cell counts (at –27, he’s the lowest in the top 10), good fertility and high type (Type Merit 2.1). He jumps 34 PLI points with this proof run to reach £241, level pegging with Crockett-Acres Eight. “I’m interested in Wyman – I’ve used about 30 straws and I have some pregnancies. So it’s nice to see him in joint third. I know someone who saw

Crockett-Acres Eight

some of his daughters, and he’s usually pretty spot on when it comes to selecting good cattle. So I used some semen and it looks as if my gamble paid off.” Both McCormick (PLI £222) and Garner (PLI £221) enter the top 10 for the first time having previously been ranked at 13th and 15th place. They now become the number-one and two daughter Fertility Index bulls out of the group at +7.4 and +5.4 respectively. “I rate McCormick – I’ve used quite a few straws. He’s a ‘complete’ kind of bull.” Willy is also impressed by the performance of UK-tested Ballycairn Tiergan. He is impressive by any standards but particularly when you consider that he’s the third highest non-O Man bloodline among all UK and international bulls. Jumping 29 PLI points since the April proof run, this Goldwyn son now ranks 12th, offering high fat, good fitness traits and solid type. Willy is also pleased with the way that UK bulls have held their ground this time around and he’s particularly interested in the performance of Cogent Twist and Galastar Bluesky. He’s used both on his herd. Cogent Twist is the highest Shottle son available. With a PLI of £191 and a proof now based on 79 UK daughters in 46 herds, high fat production looks increasingly impressive and is complemented by low cell counts, solid type and positive daughter lifespans. Also UK-tested is another of the world’s best Shottle sons – Galastar Bluesky. With a PLI of £159, he now has 129 UK daughters in 76 herds which exhibit low cell counts, long lifespans and very good type. And another one to watch, according Pirolo Goldwyn Wyman

C VCO EO EWTWM EM EALANTNAAJGA GEN EMM UEAENR NTIT S1SE/EP2PT T2 E EM 0M 0B9BE ERR 2 20 00 19 1

CM06_bull proofs 54

26-08-2011 11:30:28


— 2.1 1.8 0.6 1.4 2.1 1.6 3.2 1.9 3.2 1.4 1.1 0.9 0.5 2.5 1.4 0.8 1.3 1.5 2.6

–0.12 1.54 0.50 2.62 1.01 0.94 1.10 1.06 0.93 0.07 0.55 0.72 1.59 0.80 0.97 1.85 2.23 1.20 1.60 1.04

TM

0.5 0.3 0.4 –0.1 0.5 4.7 0.3 4.6 0.3 –0.1 0.2 –0.3 0.2 5.0 0.3 1.7 0.3 7.4 0.3 3.8 0.4 5.4 0.3 2.9 0.2 2.2 0.1 2.4 0.2 1.9 0.3 2.9 0.2 5.5 0.1 4.1 0.3 3.2 0.2 0.6

udder

–13 –13 –21 –27 –22 –1 –20 –16 –21 –7 –22 –12 –11 –22 –16 –14 –15 –10 –19 –6

F&L

ind.

251 248 241 241 236 230 230 226 222 221 221 220 220 216 215 215 213 210 210 207

fertility

+0.17 +0.12 56 –0.09 +0.00 56 +0.02 +0.07 47 +0.16 +0.11 46 –0.03 –0.01 54 +0.02 +0.08 57 +0.03 +0.04 50 +0.34 +0.16 53 +0.20 +0.07 41 –0.01 –0.02 49 +0.08 +0.02 41 +0.05 +0.09 49 +0.21 +0.07 48 +0.13 +0.10 52 +0.11 +0.10 49 +0.04 +0.04 44 +0.13 +0.07 42 +0.02 +0.01 50 +0.10 +0.06 42 +0.16 +0.06 51

dCE

%

lifespan

+25.1 +34.0 +24.9 +19.9 +30.1 +30.7 +26.1 +18.1 +15.7 +26.5 +19.5 +25.4 +18.7 +24.0 +23.3 +22.7 +18.6 +26.4 +19.4 +22.3

SCC

74 +470 +32.8 78 +1058 +33.6 74 +587 +24.9 71 +326 +26.0 73 +963 +35.7 73 +732 +30.5 73 +694 +29.7 78 +151 +32.8 74 +313 +28.7 74 +865 +33.3 74 +543 +28.3 74 +561 +26.0 90 +388 +32.8 77 +491 +29.9 72 +456 +27.4 75 +588 +26.9 70 +404 +26.6 76 +792 +33.3 68 +439 +25.7 74 +526 +33.8

£PLI

Bullsemen.com Dairy Daughters Semex WWS UK Bullsemen.com WWS UK Genus Avoncroft Genus Semex Bullsemen.com Genus Cogent Viking Genetics Bullsemen.com Dairy Daughters Sterling Sires Viking Genetics Sterling Sires Alta

conformation

£PIN

Manat Durham Mtoto O Man BW Marshall Aaron O Man Novalis Durham BW Marshall Patron Durham Garter Lukas BW Marshall O Man Jocko Morty Durham Mark Sam

protein

O Man O Man O Man Goldywn O Man O Man Buckeye O Man O Man O Man O Man O Man Goldywn O Man O Man Goldywn Goldywn O Man Goldywn O Man

fat%

Lynbrook Jancen ALH Dakota Crockett-Acres Eight Pirolo Goldwyn Wyman Co-Op Oman Logan Long-Langs Oman Oman Morningview Levi Timmer Tyson Gran-J Oman McCormick Mainstream Manifold Coldsprings Garner Morningview Legend Ballycairn Tiergan D Omar Co-Op Oman Loydie Ralma Gold Crown Al.Par. Goldwyn Mentos Dansire Oman Oblat Genervations Lobo Ufm-Dubs Alta Esquire

functional traits

prot. kg

mat. grandsire supplier

fat kg

sire

milk

name

rel.

production

–0.06 –0.04 0.04 0.56 0.14 0.35 1.37 2.05 0.27 0.59 1.44 1.58 0.49 0.85 –1.10 –0.49 1.13 1.30 0.99 0.80 0.81 0.87 0.12 0.41 1.80 1.97 –0.06 0.32 0.50 0.79 0.96 1.50 1.44 1.93 –0.13 0.55 1.05 1.37 0.17 0.50

Table 1: Top 20 sires available in the UK ranked on PLI (source DairyCo breeding+ and Holstein UK)

to Willy, is Planet – in at number 28. “He’s a direct descendant of Blackstar and we have his calves due to be born in the next three or four weeks. His second crop of daughters in the US look good. They’re easy on the eye and offer good fertility and calving traits too. I think that he’ll be the next big influential bull and we’ll see his sons entering the rankings in three or four years time.” l

Other breed highlights List toppers for the other breeds rankings are: • Drisgol Watzon leads the Shorthorn rankings • Guernsey sire Sniders Option Aaron retains the number-one

position on Guernsey Genetic Merit • Odislait is number one PLI Montbeliarde • Prossli leads for the Brown Swiss breed with a very good Lifespan Index.

Number-one Danish Jersey Breaking the £200 Profitable Lifetime Index (PLI) barrier and up 35 points since April, Jersey sire DJ Lix is a Q Lor son who descends from a high milk production maternal line in Denmark. Lix’s proof combines solid production with strong udders and good fitness traits. The number-one Jersey bull from Denmark also offers quality production and is ideal for producers wanting to improve components. He transmits a massive +0.35% fat and +0.18% protein. Lix’s dam is a tremendous animal averaging in four lactations, 7,230kg milk at 6.34% fat and 4.34% protein. This yield is mirrored in his grand dam who in six lactations averaged 7,103kg milk at 6.21% fat and 4.10% protein. A DJ Lix daughter

CC O OW WM M AA NN AA GG EE M M EE NN TT SS EE PP TT EE M M BB EE RR 22 00 10 19

CM06_bull proofs 55

55

26-08-2011 11:30:43


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C OWM ANAGEMENT

CM06_p56.indd 56

SEPTEMBER

2 0 1 1

Teatdip Advert 88x125 cowmanagement.indd 1

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C O N TA C T S

SHOWS AND EVENTS September 6-7: Dairy Event and Livestock Show, NEC, Birmingham September 13-16: Space, Rennes (France) September 20-22: Agricultural Machinery & Livestock Exhibition, Athy, Co.Kildare (Ireland) October 4-8: World Dairy Expo, Madison (United States) October 5: The Dairy Show, Shepton Mallet, Somerset October 18: Welsh Dairy Show Nantyci Showground, Carmarthen November 4-13: Royal Winter Fair, Toronto (Canada) November 16: Agriscot, Edinburgh, Scotland December 8: Northern Ireland Winter Fair, Balmoral Showground, Belfast (N Ireland)

Morning stroll: cows wander back to pasture after milking to enjoy some late-summer sunshine Picture: Harrie van Leeuwen

ADVERTISERS’ INDEX C O N TA C T S CowManagement is published eight times per year by CRV Holding BV

Editorial team Chief Editor Jaap van der Knaap Editor Rachael Porter Phone 01394 270587 E-mail rachael.porter@virgin.net Editing, design and production Veeteelt Contributing writers Annelies Debergh, Inge van Drie, Roger Evans, Allison Matthews, David Matthews and Karen Wright Publisher Rochus Kingmans

Chief editor’s address P.O. Box 454, 6800 AL Arnhem, The Netherlands Phone 0031 26 38 98 821. Fax 0031 26 38 98 839 E-mail cm.office@crv4all.com internet www.cowmanagement.net

Subscriptions CowManagement is available free of charge to customers of NMR, Avoncroft and Thompsons. If you think you are eligible, please contact: National Milk Records, Customer Services, Skipton Road, Harrogate, North Yorkshire HG1 4LG. Phone 0870 1622547 E-mail customerservices@NMR.co.uk www.isubscribe.co.uk

Advertisements Julia Hughes, NMR. Phone 01249 467224 Willem Gemmink, Froukje Visser P.O. Box 454, 6800 AL Arnhem, The Netherlands, Fax 0031 26 38 98 824 E-mail willem.gemmink@crv4all.com

Illustrations/pictures

ADF..............................................................5 Agrimin......................................................44 Alta............................................................46 Ancotec......................................................18 ATL............................................................48 Avoncroft/Thompsons..................................2 Batchelor Enterprises...................................35 Bekina........................................................19 Biotal..........................................................15 Boehringer Ingelheim..................................60 Boer Housing Systems, De..........................44 Bolshaw Animal health...............................41 CBC............................................................44 Cow Comfort.............................................56 CRV............................................................29 Cowcare Systems........................................49 DeLaval................................................36, 56 EnviroSystems.......................................30, 49 Farmacy......................................................34 Janssen Animal health.................................42 JFC...............................................................6 Keenan.......................................................36 Lallemand...................................................57 Micron Bio-Systems....................................22

Moore Concrete.........................................56 NMR..........................................................59 NW Resources............................................56 NWF Agriculture....................................35,41 Pearson........................................................6 Platts Animal Bedding.................................48 RABDF..........................................................7 RE Buildings................................................56 Regent........................................................44 SAC............................................................30 Semex........................................................52 Spinder.......................................................48 Teagle.........................................................18 TH White....................................................45 The Dairy Show..........................................36 Trioliet........................................................49 Vervaeke......................................................6 Vetoquinol..................................................10 Wilson Agri.................................................30 Zinpro.........................................................31 Loose inserts: Avoncroft NMR Schippers UK

COMING UP

Photographs by Veeteelt Photography.

Disclaimer CowManagement does not necessarily share the views expressed by contributors. No responsibility is accepted for the claims made by advertisers. No responsibility can be accepted by CRV Holding BV for the opinions expressed by contributors. Whilst every effort is made to obtain reliable and accurate information, liability cannot be accepted for errors. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying, recording, or any information storage or retrieval system without the express prior written consent of the publisher.

C a l f rear in g sp ecial October (October 18th) – We have the final article in our series on feed efficiency and this issue also contains our popular special on calf rearing.

Printer Classic Printing Phone 01452 731539 ISSN 1570-5641

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C OWM ANAGEMENT

CM06_contacts next issue 58

SEPTEMBER

2 0 1 1

26-08-2011 11:32:00


CM05_p02.indd 9

07-07-2011 14:32:30


UBRO YELLOW®

IS BACK. And there’s still work to do.

With bovine mastitis making a resurgence in recent years,1 and the disease now costing the UK dairy industry millions, the return of Ubro Yellow will be helpful to many dairy farmers working with their vets. Given its broad spectrum of activity and considerable history of on-farm success, Ubro Yellow still has a contribution to make. When you’re next discussing mastitis diagnosis, treatment options and whole-herd management strategies, your vet may recommend incorporating Ubro Yellow into a treatment plan that’s right for you.

Reference: 1. www.dairyco.net/farming-info-centre/health-welfare/mastitis.aspx Advice on the use of Ubro Yellow or other therapies should be sought from your veterinary surgeon. Ubro Yellow contains penethamate hydriodide, dihydrostreptomycin sulphate, framycetin sulphate and prednisolone. Prescription only medicine. Withdraw milk from supply for human consumption for 132 hours after the last Ubro Yellow treatment. Further information available from Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Bracknell, Berkshire, RG12 8YS, UK. Email: vetmedica.uk@boehringer-ingelheim.com. Date of preparation: Jul 2011. AHD6809. The advertisement is brought to you by Boehringer Ingelheim, manufacturers of Ubro Yellow. Use Medicines Responsibly (www.noah.co.uk/responsible)

www.mastitis.co.uk/ubroyellow

23183 Farmer SPS_v4.indd 1 CM06_p60.indd 60

14/07/2011 14:25 25-08-2011 13:37:17

CowManagement UK-september 2011  

CowManagement UK-september 2011

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