Page 1

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DAIRY May 2013


Vet’s View Tackling displaced abomasums Pages 24-25 Volume 60 Issue 5

Firstchoice the silage inoculator

Dramatic herd growth calls for new calf unit YOUNGSTOCK Pages 26-27

The complete silage management solution – control and stability that delivers high quality feed, removing the risks of spoilage, mould and high purchased feed costs Rapidly produces lactic acid Ensures cooler fermentation to maintain feed value Inhibits spoilage bacteria and mycotoxins from developing Reduces aerobic spoilage Greater stability at feedout

Formulated to get maximum returns from all crops, Firstchoice stabilises silage to preserve the protein and trace elements. Value is further preserved by cooler fermentation – ensuring energy isn’t taken from the feed by raising temperatures.

Forage harvester and baler developments MACHINERY Pages 38-43

pH is reduced throughout to destroy the environment that spoilage bacteria and mycotoxins thrive in – resulting in no nasty surprises on opening, and preserving maximum feed value for your livestock.

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Report on the latest bull proofs table BREEDING Page 20

DAIRY SHOW Details on page 5

Tip of the month: oversized liners could be causing udder disease – p28

Merial Eprinex WP_Merial Eprinex WP 26/04/2013 09:35 Page 1



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**DF May p1 Leader (NEW AMENDED VERSION)_Layout 1 26/04/2013 14:11 Page 1


a word from the


t last the grass is growing but this season we are a good month behind, with all the concomitant feed bills. But just when there were some reassuring signals to help calm those fraying nerves, we run slap bang into yet another potential disaster. Despite Arla Milk Link’s liquid price up over 1ppl to more than 30ppl, and Dairy Crest increasing by 1.5ppl to over 31ppl, a new problem springs out of the cheese market, and specifically First Milk’s dire price warning. The co-op undoubtedly did the industry a service by exposing the huge challenges in that sector, but may have done itself no favours at all by doing so. Its subsequent statement that it may have to reduce its price by up to 2ppl will, if enacted, devastate farmer confidence in a business which seemed to be making progress. At the time of going to press, there were some positive signs it might be able to convince retailers to stump up to



avoid cuts, but First Milk’s position won’t be helped by Dairy Crest’s latest announcement of a lift of an extra 1ppl from June for milk going into cheese. Dairy Crest is arguably the main benchmark now on cheese, as the UK’s biggest cheese maker – Arla Milk Link – has its price fixed on returns gleaned across all of Arla amba’s various markets and not specifically in the UK. With an intake of 1.45 billion litres and almost 40% going to cheese, the next few days will be pivotal in First Milk’s history. With the big players scrabbling to snatch any disaffected producers, the stark ramification of First Milk not keeping pace with upward price trends from others hardly bears thinking about!

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Origination by Farmers Guardian, Briefing Media Ltd, Unit 4, Fulwood Business Park, Caxton Road, Preston, Lancashire PR2 9NZ. Printed by Headley Brothers, Invicta Press, Queen’s Road, Ashford, Kent TN24 8HH. No responsibility can be accepted by Dairy Farmer for the opinions expressed by contributors.

MAY 2013



DF May p2 3 Contents_Layout 1 26/04/2013 10:35 Page 1


CONTENTS may Volume 60 Issue 5

Californian innovation

On farm

12-14 Comment

4-6 8-9 16-17 54-55

Latest news Cowmen Comment Potter’s View Good Evans

Group of farmers visit the US to see what is new in dairying across the pond

Regulars 24-25 44-46 50 56

Vet’s View Milk Prices Workshop tips Finance


Dairy marketplace New products

New dual-purpose grass mixture, the first specialist breeds catalogue and company’s merchandise goes online



MAY 2013

DF May p2 3 Contents_Layout 1 26/04/2013 10:36 Page 2




Special feature

NZ approach to grassland management, how moist blends are becoming a regular part of rations and the latest grass kit

Tractor cab issue

Good Evans

Catch up with the latest from Roger Evans


Buffer feeding

Workshop tips


This month, Mike Donovan helps you modify a trailer for buffer feeding purposes

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MAY 2013



DF May p4 5 6 News _Layout 1 26/04/2013 10:45 Page 1


First Milk warns over possible drop in price

he industry has once more been plunged into crisis after First Milk’s outgoing chairman, Bill Mustoe, exposed the current difficulties in the cheese market and warned his organisation may have to cut milk prices by between 1.5ppl and 2ppl. At the time of writing there was still no firm indication the co-op would not have to reduce prices, despite industry efforts to ensure it would not. The warning was seized by furious industry leaders at an NFU organised meeting in mid-April to


Princess Royal

JSandy Wilkie, who spearheaded the Make Mine Milk campaign, has been awarded the RABDF Princess Royal award at Buckingham Palace. Mr Wilkie spent many years working for Robert Wiseman Dairies and is currently sales and marketing director with the recently formed Muller Wiseman Dairies. He is chairman of both the Dairy Council and the Milk Marketing Forum.



MAY 2013

discuss producer organisations, with other price negotiators warning their efforts to increase prices were being compromised by the news.

Worse situation Farmers For Action’s David Handley suggested the industry was in a worse situation than last year, when the liquid milk price cuts were announced. Consequently, FFA has been out picketing again in a bid to ensure such price cuts do not materialise. In his controversial statement, Mr Mustoe said: “The market place for Cheddar is a problem,” and “there

continues to be large volumes of Cheddar coming in from Ireland at lower prices” which was “making the cheese market as challenging as anything I’ve seen in my career.” He went on: “Over the last few months we have supported members to the hilt in terms of milk price, but going forward returns for cheese need to move substantially and quickly. It’s no exaggeration to say I think we are coming to a crunch point for the British cheese industry.” First Milk may have been the first to expose itself to the difficulties, but it is not alone in failing to get price

increases from retailers – the real reason for the difficulties in the market. All retailers are playing hardball on price negotiations, despite low milk volumes affecting cheesemaking figures (both here and in Ireland), imports being down, and the attractiveness of other outlets for that milk as a result of soaring butter and powder markets. The impending disaster comes at a time when liquid prices should be on the up on the back of very high cream prices (£1.75 per litre recently), with both Arla Milk Link and Dairy Crest announcing increases.

Lifetime Profit Index scale revised JCanada has revised the Lifetime Profit Index (LPI) scale in the April 2013 evaluation, with the scale of expression for each dairy breed having been halved in comparison to the previous scale. The revised scale will not compromise UK sire listings for Canadian proven bulls, which are expressed in UK PLI and PIN values. However, the scale of expression will be reduced for UK genomic tested bulls

and heifers, listed on a Canadian LPI basis, such as in UK pedigree sale brochures and herd promotional material. AI companies Canadian AI companies, choosing to list sires in marketing brochures (April 2013), will be using the new scale of expression. This will also show a further reduction of 50 LPI points due to the annual rolling

base change, as well as a one point reduction on Conformation score, irrespective of any increases or decreases in individual sire evaluations. In addition, the new LPI expression will scale back the perceived superiority of young genomic sires in comparison to proven bulls, as well as high-ranking genomic heifers when compared to females on the LPI cow listings.

DF May p4 5 6 News _Layout 1 26/04/2013 10:45 Page 2

FFA pulls out

JLast year producer dairy factions came together to present a united front, which proved its worth in helping arrest proposed price cuts and set the industry on a better footing. Now, however, the coalition has one less member after Farmers For Action pulled out last week, seemingly following a disagreement with the NFU. No consultation The final straw, said FFA leader David Handley, was when the NFU gave processors more time to comply with the voluntary code, without consultation with other coalition members. It was reported the NFU also irritated FFA because it refused to send text alerts to producers to indicate where FFA is taking direct action. NFU president Peter Kendall said he ‘regretted’ the move but stressed the coalition will continue without FFA.


DairyCo predicts industry exodus

JDairyCo is predicting about 1300 farmers will quit the industry over the next two years, reducing the overall number of dairy farmers to about 14,250. However, the effect on

Survey conclusions rThe number of GB dairy farmers intending to increase production in the next two years was 32%, down from 36% in 2012 rThe proportion intending to retire or leave the industry in the next 10 years has dropped from 19% in 2012 to 10% this year rThe proportion of farmers intending to leave the industry in the next two years increased from 7% last year to 9% (equating to 1050 farms).

production will be offset by those remaining and expanding, it believes. That said, production intentions expressed in the organisation’s latest Farmer Intentions Survey estimate GB milk volumes in two years’ time will be between 1% and 2% below 2012/13 levels, at about 10.7 billion litres.

Volumes For this year it is estimating volumes will ‘at best’ reach 11.5bn litres, and that is ‘assuming the industry is able to recover in the upcoming year’. The two-year estimate is based on 8215 GB dairy farmers, weighted by country and herd size, and ‘reflects the intentions of the survey respondents, rather than forecasts based on investment or business plans already put in place’.

Dairy Show

rDairy Farmer and its sister publication, Farmers Guardian, are pleased to announce they have been chosen as media partners for this year’s Dairy Show. The show will take place on Wednesday, October 2, at the Bath and West Showground, Shepton Mallet. This year the event promises to be bigger and better than ever, with the emphasis strictly on all things dairy. We will keep you posted as the programme develops.

Longer deadline

JDefra has extended its £5 million dairy fund to help farmers explore the potential of co-operation for their businesses until June 3. The fund’s objective is to support growth in the industry and to help meet the costs of setting up co-operative projects.

MAY 2013



DF May p4 5 6 News _Layout 1 26/04/2013 10:45 Page 3

NEWS News in brief

Student of year

JOwen Ashton, a final year student at the University of Aberystwyth, is the RABDF Dairy Crest Dairy Student of the Year. He was presen-ted with a £1000 cash prize by Dairy Crest and the university he represents recei-ved £500 towards a dairy educational project. The other three finalists were Louise Hartley (University of Newcastle), Helen Machin (Reaseheath College), and James Purcell (Greenmount Campus).

Global market is starting to settle SMP was $4757, which is $385 lower. However, the previous auction saw prices peak at over $5000 – the first time it had ever crossed that threshold.

JMilk production in the 2012/13 production year was 12,970bn litres, the third lowest year on record.

JWorld dairy markets – as measured by the Global Dairy Trade Index – have stabilised, albeit at a high level if the latest auction results are anything to go by. Cooling of the markets is not necessarily a bad thing, however, as sellers were becoming increasingly worried dairy substitution would start to occur, which would temper demand. The latest prices saw WMP settle at $5245, up $145 on two weeks before.

JAmid welcome price increases, Dairy Crest is still unable to reveal its thinking on the highly sensitive milk price for cheese, claiming to be in negotiation with its supply group DCD. Its reaction on the cheese front is critical because of First Milk’s recent statement that it may possibly have to cut the milk for cheese price by up to 2ppl if retailers did not respond with better prices. On the liquid front, Dairy Crest has just announced a 1.5ppl increase from June 1 for producers on standard

liquid contracts taking the headline figure up to 31.5ppl. Arla Foods amba is raising its price by 1.06ppl as of April 29. This takes the Arla Milk Link standard litre price up to 30.21ppl. And the prospects look good for further increments. Arla’s Ash Amirahmadi said: “The markets continue to indicate a positive outlook over the coming months and we will pass back further benefits to our farmers as soon as we are able.”

JThe Milk Race is back after 20 years – albeit for just one day as opposed to a multi-day tour of the country. Thanks to the efforts of the Dairy Council – which receives no money for milk promotion from farmers – the race is to make a return to the UK sporting calendar in Nottingham on Sunday, May 26, 2013. It will constitute an elite mens race and an elite womens race, alongside a full day’s festival of cycling. The decision to bring back the event and to re-

Production down

Higher prices The NFU seized on the figures to press for higher prices. Dairy board chairman Mansel Raymond said: “Dairy farmers expect milk buyers to seek markets which maximise the value of milk and dairy products, in order to secure future supplies.

“There is an insatiable and growing demand for dairy products globally. The GDT/Fonterra auction alone has seen values of dairy commodities rise by almost 40% since early March.” Nearer to home, European auctions have seen Gouda and Emmenthal values climbing, and the UK dairy indicators of AMPE and MCVE have reached 32.4ppl and 33.0ppl respectively for March, up 34% and 5% on the year.

Cheese price in balance Milk Race makes return



MAY 2013

ignite the link between milk and cycling was taken by industry bodies, the Dairy Council and the Milk Marketing Forum. Heritage Nottingham was chosen as the location for the 2013 event because of the city’s heritage in cycling – it houses the headquarters of leading brand Raleigh – and for its outstanding commitment to community cycling. ■ A new website www. is now live.

Pfizer - Lincocin WP DF_Pfizer - Lincocin WP DF 25/04/2013 12:55 Page 1

Dare to be different.

Mastitis is a significant problem on many dairy farms. Each infected cow stands out from the herd because of the impact of the disease on her future performance: UÊ Yield reduction, with losses up to 1181 kg per case1 UÊ Premature culling, mastitis being the main cause in Great Britain2 UÊ ÊReduced fertility, with increased days to first service, increased days open and increased services per conception in cows with clinical mastitis prior to being confirmed pregnant3 What’s more it’s a unique combination of two active ingredients and a water-based formulation, providing an effective treatment against mastitis

Is it time you re-evaluated your mastitis therapy?

For further information please contact your veterinary surgeon or Zoetis UK Ltd, Walton Oaks, Dorking Road, Walton-on-the-Hill, Tadworth, Surrey KT20 7NS. Lincocin Forte S contains lincomycin and neomycin POM-V Withdrawal period: milk, 84 hours after last treatment. Meat 3 days. Use medicines responsibly ( Date of preparation: 09/12 AH149/13 1.Ref: Wilson (2004) JDS 87 (7) 2073-2084 2.Ref:Milne MH (2005) Proceedings of the British Mastitis Conference, Stoneleigh, pp15-19 3. Ref:Leslie KE (2012) Vet Clinics of North America: Food Animal Practice. 28 (2), pp 289-30 Barker AR et al (1998) JDS 81 pp1285-1290 .Schrick FN et al (2001) JDS 84 pp 1407-1412


**DF May p8 9 Cowmen _Layout 1 25/04/2013 10:55 Page 1


ROSEMARY Collingborn

Rosemary Collingborn and her husband Joe farm a closed herd of 100 pedigree Friesian type cows, 60 young stock and breed bulls for sale. She has served on the MDC Council, Veterinary Products Committee and RSPCA Council. he editor has asked for a photo of our cows joyfully gambolling on their way out to grass. I’m sure they will be out by the time you read this but, as I write in early April, it’s only just drying out here and the grass has not started to grow. I have always said weather is the most important financial indicator in farming. Last spring started off the best ever and the cows were out by February 10. That spring was followed by eight months of rain and then we have had the coldest Easter since records began. Our clay farm is really wet and always takes an extra week to dry up. Some fields have been partially under water summer and winter and are only just starting to look less like lakes. Today, there was a whirlwind of dust blowing around the milking parlour. A drying wind would be welcome after months of rain, if only it were warmer. Since this time last year, we have had far too much inclement weather and it has driven many fields into a dormant state – they have just given up. Last winter was always going to be challenging for us at least – first cut silage made a month late, part of the farm under water and big bales being made in desperation on wet fields leaving big ruts. Added to this, every farm bulk tank tested by our vets was positive for Schmallenberg,

T Some fields have been partially under water summer and winter and are only just starting to look less like lakes



MAY 2013

ourselves included. Fortunately it only seemed to impact on the milk, rather than on unborn calves. The cows have had to deal with all of this, plus very moderate silage and a late turnout. In spite of all, we have been pleased with them. Milk yields could be worse, cell counts have been excellent and our fertility has been improving. This has been mainly due to the sterling efforts of our two bulls Brinkworh Rhydian and Brinkworth Rhys. Over Christmas, Brinkworth Rhys was having to attend to six cows a day and still managed to get them all in calf! Expensive winter It’s been a very expensive winter as we have fed sugar beet all the way through, plus brewers grains at record prices. It hasn’t been profitable – our margin over concentrates (let alone anything else) has been down £20,000 over the year so far and the downturn started once the cows came off the soggy pastures in late October and onto winter feed. We won’t be the only farm to have enormous piles of farmyard manure which should have been spread last year. It would be useful to have an EU derogation so we could deal with it in a timely way. Current ruling is it must be spread within the year, even though vets recommend more than a year’s storage. Normally the countryside looks beautiful

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First day out. Despite the weather, the cows went out in early April to fields with little grass cover.

Farm Facts

r FARM: Family run 185 acres dairy farm in North Wiltshire rHERD: Closed herd of 100 Friesian type pedigree cows rYIELD: 7874 litres rSOIL TYPE: Heavy on Oxford clay rRAINFALL: 749mm rMILK BUYER: First Milk.

each spring with lush green grass everywhere. Instead it’s alarming to see brown, dead looking fields of permanent pasture, unsown winter cereals, or even worse, failed ones. Some arable farmers are giving up this year and just collecting their Single Payment. Last autumn, we reseeded the fields which had deteriorated most from the summer thrashing. One of these has failed spectacularly, but my husband Joe and Steve, our number one helper, have just been on a DairyCo soil course and Steve was immediately sent out to mole plough prior to reseeding it again. Fingers crossed, as spring sown leys often fail round here. Cash flow being tight, we were pleased when our neighbour appeared to buy some

October-born calves. We agreed a price for the Friesians well enough, but I was sure the Angus should be worth a bit more and my neighbour thought a bit less. As luck would have it Joe appeared so we appealled to him. As the bottom price we were working on was £375, I wasn’t too pleased when he came out with £350! However, matters soon got somewhat worse – our young and well bred Friesian bull was in with the steers but excluded as he wasn’t for sale. “You know, your breeding bull isn’t going to be much good,” said our neighbour. “Why not,” I asked in alarm as it’s quite a hassle to register and DNA test a pedigree bull nowadays. “He’s been emasculated,” he replied. Sadly, he’s now been sold along with the other steers.

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MAY 2013



**DF May p10 11 Milk Watch (Signed Off)_Layout 1 26/04/2013 10:31 Page 1


milk watch with Boehringer Ingelheim s the usual time for first cut silage approaches, Milk Watch farmer Roger Leach is dismayed at both the condition and quantity of grass on Myerscough College’s Lodge Farm. Located near Bilsborrow in Lancashire, he says the severe easterly wind has not let up for more than a month, leaving grass looking desiccated and in no condition to either cut or graze. He says: “Waiting for it


This month our two Milk Watch farmers are looking at the effect this spring’s poor grass growth is having on their businesses.

New computer program improves lameness control

to bulk up means we will reach heading date on about May 15, so we’ll have to accept a poorer quality.”

Compromise Confronting the compromise he will have to make, he says he is eking out silage supplies in the meantime, which should last until early May. “We also have some wholecrop,” he adds, “so we are using more of this than usual for youngstock

and beef, although its protein is lower so we have had to alter the blend to make up for this – which means yet more expense. “We’re also pushing back the frontiers of science with our lameness control, and the incidence has noticeably improved since we started using a new computer program,” he says. “Every problem and treatment is punched into the computer, then each case is flagged up for a

two-weekly visit and the process certainly seems to be getting on top of our lameness. “Mobility scores have improved across the herd and we’re now looking to lay rubber matting on the areas where the cows turn,” he says.

Improvement Further improvement has been seen in mastitis levels, as pathogens behind a recent outbreak have now been identified.

Calvings go well amid concerns about

own on Tregleath Farm, near Bodmin in Cornwall, Milk Watch farmer James Willcocks is marvelling at the difference between one spring and the next and the effect it is having on his business. He says: “Normally the lows would be out by day and night at this time of year, and a large percentage of their milk would be coming from grazed grass, but now they’re only out for seven hours a day.” Grass growth is so slow the grazing round is also




MAY 2013

more than double its normal length, at 28 days compared with the usual 14, while fields shut up for silage have already been used for grazing and grass silage has been bought-in to supplement that in stock. Performing well But amid the worries about forage production, the spring calving group, which represents about half of the 280-head herd, has been performing well as it approaches the end of the calving period. “Calvings have gone well

James Willcocks says calving has gone well, with a good run of heifers.

and we’re still having a good run of heifers,” says James. “We’ve had 60

heifers out of the 108 so far calved and we’ve had no milk fever or retained

**DF May p10 11 Milk Watch (Signed Off)_Layout 1 26/04/2013 14:16 Page 2

SPONSORED SERIES A word from the vet - mastitis By Phil Elkins, Westpoint South West

rMastitis has generally been divided into environmental or

contagious, and control is tar-

geted according to this classifi-

cation. Since the introduction of the five-point plan, the spread of contagious pathogens has

the bacteria are behaving. We

environmental mastitis being

fined as environmental such as

reduced significantly leading to far more common.

Control of environmental mas-

Roger Leach is pleased they have got on top of the lameness outbreak.

“Initially we were struggling to control the flare up,” says Roger. “But now we know the strains of bacteria behind the problem, we’ve been able to target them with the right product.

“Our vets have said we need to use an antibiotic containing kanamycin so we’re using Ubrolexin and taking other measures such as spraying the bedding with peracetic acid,” he says.

ut forage production placentas, apart from a couple of twins.” Mastitis rates and cell counts have also been pleasing and have possibly been assisted by the recent dry clean conditions. “We have had a couple of cases of clinical mastitis in the fresh calvers and nothing at all in the heifers,” he says. “I’m convinced using a teat sealant in everything, including heifers, has been important but we are also extremely quick to treat anything with mastitis. “It will have an injectable and an intramammary an-

tibiotic and will also have an anti-inflammatory,” he says. Additionally, the milking routine is rigidly adhered to, and having two people in the parlour is now considered essential. “We brought in a second person the winter before last and we have kept them there ever since,” he says. “That means the person doing the milking can concentrate solely on that, and as a result teat preparation and post-milking treatment is much more thorough and the throughput is now far quicker.”

titis is simple in theory – keep cows clean. A clean teat will

have 150,000 potential masti-

know bacteria traditionally deE.coli and SU can cause pro-

longed subclinical infections in

cows and may well be acting as a reservoir of infection.

It is really important to look at

tis-causing bacteria on its teat

the mastitis and cell count

dirty teat. Perfect teat prepara-

riology is also really important,

end compared to a million on a tion will reduce the bacteria by 90%, and udder cleanliness is

the primary control measure for environmental mastitis1.

Control during the grazing

season relies upon good management. We know bacteria

records to find patterns. Bacteand as an industry it is drasti-

cally under used. How can you make a treatment or control

decision where frequently less than 5% of clinical or subclinical cases are tested?

A good example is on a

such as Streptococcus uberis

client’s farm where milk

up to four weeks after a signifi-

for bacteriology. The most

(SU) can survive on pasture for cant build up, so control relies

on minimising any build up and resting the grazing area. Set

stocking is a major risk for environmental mastitis in the graz-

samples are frequently tested frequent bacteria present (85% of cases) is SU, and we are

treating clinical cases with very good success using Mamyzin. Ongoing control is based on

ing season as cows will often

environmental improvement

to a build up of pathogens.

infected cows.

camp in certain areas leading Historically, we have made the

distinction between environmental and contagious on the basis

and removal of chronically

Reference. 1 Ian Ohnstad, Teat Club International.

of which bacteria are involved. It may be better to look at the way

Advice on the use of Ubrolexin® or other therapies should be sought from your veterinary surgeon. Ubrolexin contains cefalexin monohydrate and kanamycin monosulphate. POM-V. Further information available from Boehringer Ingelheim Limited, Vetmedica Division, Bracknell, Berkshire, RG12 8YS, UK. Email: Date of preparation: Apr 2013. AHD 7564. This advertisement is brought to you by Boehringer Ingelheim Limited, Vetmedica Division, manufacturers of Ubrolexin. Withdraw milk from supply for human consumption for 120 hours after the last Ubrolexin treatment. Use Medicines Responsibly (

MAY 2013



**DF May p12 13 14 On Farm_Layout 1 26/04/2013 10:32 Page 1

ON FARM Westpoint Vets recently took a party of farmers to the central valley of California to find out what was new in dairying across the pond. Vet Matt Dobbs gives us his impressions.

US shows the way to high milk production

hey say for all new innovation the world follows the US, and the US follows California, so the obvious place to find out what is new in dairying must be Tulare County in Californiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s central valley. This small part of California has the highest density of dairy cows anywhere in the world, with dairy after dairy lining every road in and out of the small county town of Visalia. But dairying is in the doldrums in California at the moment. Milk prices are poor and feed prices high, and just to top it off the weather has been unusually


dry over the last few years. In addition there is great pressure on the environment in the state and particularly water usage. Agricultural land prices are now over $30,000 (ÂŁ20,000) an acre, and dairying is giving way to higher value crops such as almonds and cherries. Although there are some very large new units milking over 10,000 cows, some farmers are moving out, primarily to states where corporation tax and environmental laws are more favourable. Key to picking a new destination for a dairy is the ability to grow cheaper forage as feed costs are the main driver to profitable milk pro-

duction in these parts. The best dairy farmers we visited on the tour knew the cost benefit of every aspect of their production intimately. From calf rearing to culling, the smart operators knew their costs and used them to make strategic decisions about business management. Irrigation With the help of extensive irrigation, the warmer weather of the last few years has allowed Californian forage ranches to make up to eight cuts a year of high protein crops such as alfalfa. This climate also gives them the ability to grow very high DM/starch

corn silages (up to 50% DM and 40% starch). With the abundance of high energy/high fibre byproducts such as almond hulls and cotton seed, then every dairy opts to feed a TMR for high yields. The use of bovine somatotropin (BST) has dropped recently owing to the growing public concern of the hormone use in agriculture, with only 15% of farms and 17% of cows using the product. Almost all Californian herds are milked three times a day, with the fashion for four times milking simply not financially viable any longer (unless BST is used). However, even without BST, average heifer yields are

Youngstock rearing in dry lots â&#x20AC;&#x201C; high growth rates ensure young heifers are big and fit enough to calve at 22months.



MAY 2013

**DF May p12 13 14 On Farm_Layout 1 26/04/2013 10:33 Page 2


Most Californian herds are either kept in free stalls or dry lots – most stalls rely on copious sand bedding.

about 10,000 litres per 305d and cows are averaging 1214,000 litres. One striking difference from my last visit to California 10 years ago was the reduction in cow size. In the mid to late 1990s the vogue

was for Canadian breeding and tall cows. But for the last six to eight years the farms have reverted to a smaller cow, but still with great body depth. With replacement rates of 40-50%, the turn around on genetic

With 12,000 cows to milk you can not get a bulk tank big enough, so milk goes straight into the tanker.

improvement is very quick, so changes in breeding policy can see a total herd change in less than five years! Also the average style of farms has changed – dry lot dairies are less common,

The future of

mastitis reduction is here


with producers preferring free stalls (bedded with sand) for cow comfort and improved heat abatement. The average herd size across the state is 1100 cows (US average 180 cows, with twothirds of US farms still less

On some farms, infections in dry cows are responsible for more than 70% of all mastitis cases1 For over 10 years, OrbeSeal® has been proven in a variety of farming systems to reduce mastitis during the post-calving period s OrbeSeal is more effective than antibiotic dry cow therapy at preventing new dry period infections2 s When all cows receive OrbeSeal, new infections are better controlled and mastitis rates are reduced3 sOrbeSeal reduces reliance on antibiotic dry cow therapy4

Talk to your vet about how OrbeSeal saves money on most dairy farms

For further information please contact your veterinary surgeon or Zoetis UK Ltd, Walton Oaks, Dorking Road, Walton-on-the-Hill, Tadworth, Surrey KT20 7NS OrbeSeal contains 65% bismuth subnitrate. Withdrawal period: Zero days. POM-V . Use medicines responsibly ( Date of preparation 03/12 AH214/13 1. Mütze K, et al. The effect of dry cow antibiotic with and without an internal teat sealant on udder health during the first 100 d of lactation: a field study with matched pairs. J. Dairy Res. 2012 Nov; 79(4):477-84 2. Huxley J, et al. Evaluation of the Efficacy of an Internal Teat Sealer During the Dry Period. J. Dairy Sci. 2002; 85:551-561 3. Berry E and Hillerton JE. The Effect of an Intramammary Teat Seal on New Intramammary Infections. J. Dairy Sci. 2002; 85:2512-2520 4. Bradley AJ, Breen JE, Payne B, Williams P, Green MJ. The use of a cephalonium containing dry cow therapy and an internal teat sealant, both alone and in combination. J. Dairy Sci. 2010; 93 :1566–1577

MAY 2013



**DF May p12 13 14 On Farm_Layout 1 26/04/2013 10:33 Page 3


Contract calf rearing hutches stretch almost as far as the eye can see – calves are usually taken in at just one day old and weaned at 26 days.

than 100 cows), although the new herds are usually larger. Typically 2500 (or multiples thereof) work well for labour efficiencies – a three-man team can milk these through a single parlour in eight hours including wash up. The Wildenbergs farm we visited was typical – 2200 cows, milked three times, through a 60:60 rapid exit parlour. Contract calf rearing is the norm in California but, unlike the UK, calves are reared away from the farm from one day old, usually returning once the calf reaches 140kg. One calf rearer we met, who was rearing more than 100,000 calves at any one time, said: “Why would dairy farmers contract heifers out for rearing after weaning? From then on that’s the easy bit!” All calves are weighed, electronically identified and blood tested on arrival at the rearers. The blood is checked



MAY 2013

for total protein, a measure of the success of passive transfer of immunity from colostrum. Those with a low total protein (indicating poor colostrum management) are managed separately and are subject to a higher daily rearing fee! Total protein is the biggest indicator of future growth performance – it is said that those with less than 5.5mg/dl total blood protein at 48 hours could have up to 50% less feed conversion efficiency. Weaning Calves are abruptly weaned once they are consuming 0.9kg (2lb) of meal a day, which occurs, on average, by day 26. It takes a minimum of three weeks for the rumen papillae to develop to ensure the calf can survive without milk, and this only occurs once water and volatile fatty acids from calf meal consumption are present in the developing rumen. Calves

do not seem to suffer from early weaning, as calf meal is available from day one. The daily rearing cost alters according to the market price of feed, and a target of 0.9kg daily live weight gain is set. All calves are weighed off the unit and each supplying dairy is benchmarked according to live weight gain. Those dairies consistently at the bottom of the pile may be asked to find another rearer, as they are blocking calf pens for potentially more efficient calves. With the average dairy cow surviving less than 2.4 lactations, calf and heifer rearing is an important component of dairying in California. A study presented at the Reno dairy conference demonstrated pre-weaning nutrition had more impact on future lactation performance than genetic selection for production. The same study also demonstrated post-weaning nutrition has

up to eight times more impact on future production than genetics. Although feed price is high in the US, most Californian dairymen are accelerating the growth of their heifers with enhanced feeding so they calve, on average, by 22 months, with the average age of first service less than 12 months. This results in lower labour costs, less ill health, fewer reproductive culls and most importantly additional milk in the first lactation. And although the feed costs are $65 (£43) higher with this intensive rearing, it gives a net benefit of $251 (£166) per heifer. One producer said: “There is milk in early life colostrum and nutritional management.” And despite the gloom about milk prices, the Californian dairymen believed it was a key component to the future success of dairying in their state.

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**DF May p16 17 Potter _Layout 1 25/04/2013 12:09 Page 1



This month, Ian Potter looks at the latest wedge that could split the industry and he makes his case for supporting the ‘little’ man in a classic David and Goliath struggle. start by focusing on the huge elephant in the room – namely the threat from First Milk that, unless the price it receives for its cheese increases, it will be forced to cut the milk price paid to members. That’s the dangerous position we’re in and it will have no option but to do so unless it can get more money out of the market. It will have no alternative but to divert even more milk to other more profitable outlets (spot milk is currently at 40ppl) as opposed to turning it into cheese in the hope that, in three months’ time retailers, discounters and food service buyers will all pay a fair price for it. The phrase caught between a rock and a hard place springs to mind. It’s easy to blame Irish imports as the sole reason for the problem. Both South Caernarfon Creameries and Parkham Farms (Peter Willes) have both partnered up with Adams Foods, who now pack and market their cheese. But neither of these companies have milk prices at the bottom of the league table. With explosive world commodity prices providing more profitable market outlets for milk, and Irish cheddar imports down 16.5% in the first three months of 2013, the time has come for cheese customers to realise the price they pay for cheese is secondary to ensuring continuity of supply for the rest of 2013 and beyond. But will they? Hopefully, by the time this

I All it takes is one anti with a camera and an agenda to portray the industry as cruel and the whole lot gets tainted.



MAY 2013

article is published, the crisis will have been averted, and First Milk will not be dropping its price, but increasing it like Arla Milk Link and Dairy Crest. But on to other matters. The second North of England UK Dairy Expo was staged at Borderway Market, Carlisle, in March and was well supported with more than 300 dairy cattle on show. It is important the industry has successful events such as this to showcase the best animals in the industry. Let’s hope the Livestock Event in July (formerly the Dairy Event) is a similarly successful show. The offer of free buses should help, although some are viewing that provision as either a shrewd insurance policy to ensure high numbers or an early sign of panic. Teat fixing Regrettably, the Dairy Expo triggered multiple rumours of cattle which had been ‘fixed’. This is where practices such as sealing teats and balancing each quarter of the udder takes place. After the event rumours gathered pace and, without going into detail, I was concerned to receive several calls from people who attended (including conversations with representatives/ members of two breed societies) who said some animals had been ‘fixed’. I tried to make contact with the judges, who declined to comment, as well as chasing one of the show’s organisers –

**DF May p16 17 Potter _Layout 1 25/04/2013 12:10 Page 2

‘Caught between a rock and a hard place’

Ian Potter

rIan is a specialist milk quota and entitlement broker. Comments please to

twice. This set me wondering why everyone had seemingly gone to ground. Then one exhibitor started to trumpet he had ‘got away with it’, while another has stated he will not show his animals in GB if he can’t adjust and fix them, and will show in mainland Europe instead. That’s his call. Show organisers must realise farmers and rule-abiding exhibitors are the eyes and ears of the industry and it’s their duty to police show rules and the integrity of the show itself. All it takes is one anti with a camera and an agenda to portray the industry as cruel and the whole lot gets tainted. I now return to the raw milk selling case, where the Food Standards Agency (FSA1 – abbreviation will become apparent later) is prosecuting the 70-cow family farming operation of Hook & Son for selling unpasteurised milk. Following that article, the conspiracy theorists sprung into action and several readers were quick to alert me to the fact that Tim Smith, the former CEO of the FSA, and more importantly Arla, could have a conflict if the Hooks successfully defend their case, and unpasteurized milk sales were to take off. Jim Begg of Dairy UK has certainly commented in regard to proposed legislation on a saturated fat tax that it was not the answer and that consumers should be allowed to decide ‘as long as the risks are highlighted on the packaging’ (as it is with unpasteurized milk). However, Dairy UK does not seem to follow the same logic on the Hooks and unpasteurised milk. It’s a curious ambiguity.


So why do I abbreviate the Food Standards Agency to FSA1? Cue a few comments now on FSA2 – the Financial Services Authority. They have the same initials and, it seems, the same appetite to persecute the little man – in this case it has attempted to close down Burnley businessman Dave Fishwick and his ‘Bank of Dave’. Mr Fishwick has set up his own bank and FSA2 has effectively stopped his bank taking in deposits from locals on the grounds he was operating an unregulated, collective investment scheme. Filming progress However Dave is not only taking them on, he has captured the attention of Channel 4, which is filming his progress. On the face of it, it appears FSA2 is sat back watching fat cat bankers who have crippled our economy get away with robbery, yet they take the easy option to close down a community bank, the brainwave of an enterprising northerner. It’s the same with FSA1 who, in the case of the horse meat scandal, have chosen not to dig deep and hit the real culprits, but are picking on the easy prey – the likes of the Hooks. Meanwhile, The Mooman Film, which films a year on the Hooks’ farm, has been premiered at the O2 Arena. Sorry, DairyCo, but this film does more for the image of real dairy farming than your recent YouTube and website films. These are both real David and Goliath battles, and I wish them success and hope the FSAs’ bullies will stop harassing and picking on the small guys!

MAY 2013



**DF May p18 19 Forage Watch (signed off) NEW COPY RUN IN_Layout 1 26/04/2013 12:35 Page 1

SPONSORED SERIES Part three in this sponsored series sees our two contributors – New Breed UK’s Richard Rolfe and Mole Valley Farmers’ Graham Ragg – look at the prospects for alternatives to grass silage. with Micron Bio-Systems hat a season we are having. Mole Valley Farmers’ Graham Ragg thinks that while turnout will have been delayed by at least a month for many livestock farmers, the recent warm weather means grass will be starting to grow. Now is the time to apply any fertiliser to make every day count and help bolster dwindling forage stocks. In the north, Newbreed UK’s Richard Rolfe says he


We really need to look ahead this season to make sure we are not caught out Richard Rolfe

“ 18


MAY 2013

We may need to look at alternatives to grass

Some producers will need to increase their maize acreage to make up for unsown winter cereals.

would normally have customers taking silage crops towards the end of April, but with daytime temperatures of under 5degC in the first week of the month, it’s taken a while for the grass to get growing again. Forage stocks are starting to run low. “I have some customers feeding silage that is three to four years old,” says Mr Rolfe. “So we really need to look ahead this season to make sure we are not caught out by another year like 2012.” “Winter cereal acreage may be down, but spring cereals offer a good opportunity to compensate for this,” suggests Mr Ragg. Farmers in marginal maize growing areas such as northern coastal regions

should consider switching to wholecrop for ensiling. Further south, farmers in the arable areas would be well advised to increase their maize acreage to replace any winter cereals that were not drilled.

Wholecrop “I have seen a big increase in the amount of wholecrop being grown in the northwest, particularly in the marginal maize growing areas which have suffered over the past two years,” says Mr Rolfe. “Because wholecrop is harvested earlier than maize, it provides the opportunity to reseed in the back end of the growing season.” Mr Ragg says: “Maize can be sown when soil tempera-

tures reach 8-10degC, which some will already be seeing. It goes without saying maize planting will be later this year than last. “Some farmers drilled too early last year (at the end of March or early April) and ended up re-drilling as crops struggled to establish in the wet and cold weather. “Because of this year’s weather, most growers will probably have to wait a little bit longer before sowing maize this time.” Mr Rolfe suggests getting maize in the ground early will benefit the bulk and maturity of the crop. “However, you need to wait until the soil reaches the right temperature and there is no further risk of frost. “Recent challenging sum-

**DF May p18 19 Forage Watch (signed off) NEW COPY RUN IN_Layout 1 26/04/2013 14:18 Page 2


Lucerne crops can be sown when soil temperatures warm up Graham Ragg

mers have seen a reduction in the maize acreage in the north, though some farmers are taking the view that at some point we must have a good summer.” Despite the nutritional aspects of lucerne, this is still a marginal crop. However, studies have shown that the inclusion of lucerne silage in dairy cow diets can improve forage intake, and increase output of milk protein with no change in milk fat. “Lucerne crops can be sown when soil temperatures warm up,” advises Mr Ragg. “And while the crop requires careful management, if you follow the

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guidelines there is nothing difficult about it.” Focus The focus for the coming year should be to replenish forage stocks and look closely at which crops are grown. Make sure what you are planning fits with where you are in the country and assume the weather will do its best to disrupt the season. Protect what you grow. “More farmers are seeing the benefits of controlling maize eyespot diseases to give higher yields and increased starch levels,” says Mr Ragg. Also protect what you have harvested – use a good

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**DF May p20 Breeding Proofs_Layout 1 26/04/2013 09:22 Page 1


This spring’s chart topper not only boasts a massive PLI figure but is a daughter fertility specialist as well. Ann Hardy reports on the latest proof table.

Awesome Andy moves to top the bull proof charts

here is a new number one sire in the DairyCo April rankings as US-bred Whitman O Man Awesome Andy edges up from fourth position. This Oman x Zade is the daughter fertility and lifespan specialist of the new top 10, and has a massive Profitable Lifetime Index of £260. Guarini maintains his strong showing with a PLI of £259 and, with an SCC Index of -32, is the best cell count improver of the breed. But it is the number three bull which comes with a fanfare for UK genetics, as Ballycairn Oman Pello joins a whole host of bulls that have done well for Andrew Mc-


Collum’s Northern Ireland herd, and moves up to third position with a PLI of £248. With a Predicted Transmitting Ability (PTA) which includes 981kg milk, he is the highest milk transmitter in the top 60 and the leading bull with a UK proof.

Second crop Long term top 10 bulls, Levi, Manifold and Jancen rank fourth to sixth, while new as a second crop bull is the popular Ensenada Taboo Planet, whose 147 UK daughters have combined with the thousands he has internationally to earn him a PLI of £239. UK-proven Cogent Twist is the highest ranking Shottle son (PLI £236) and has

Awesome daughter Kenyon Hill Awesome 180.

one of the highest fat PTAs of the breed at 40.2kg (0.2%). He shares eighth position with D Omar. The high daughter fertility Gomez (FI 6.1) ranks 10th, ahead of the highest brand new entry, De-Su Observer (PLI is £227). Observer is an early

Planet son and has already been used heavily as a sire of sons on the strength of his outstanding genomic indexes for production, fitness and type. His Type Merit is 3.21 which places him, by far, as the highest type sire in the PLI top 50.

Top 10 daughter-proven Holstein bulls ranked on Profitable Lifetime Index (PLI) April 2013 Rank £PLI Bull name 1

Genomic Rel Milk Fat


Fat %

Ptn %



Avail from Avail. GB/NI sexed

260 WHITMAN O MAN AWESOME ANDY G 84 371 30.8 15.7 0.20 0.04 -23 0.44 Oman BUL N 2 259 GUARINI 75 588 23.8 26.1 0.01 0.08 -32 2.33 Goldwyn BUL/AIS N 3 248 BALLYCAIRN OMAN PELLO G 91 981 38.3 31.4 0.00 0.00 -7 1.32 Oman GEN N 4 243 MORNINGVIEW LEVI G 83 670 31.6 25.2 0.06 0.04 -17 1.34 Buckeye GEN N 5 241 MAINSTREAM MANIFOLD G 86 977 37.4 29.7 -0.01 -0.02 -12 1.06 Oman SMX N 6 240 LYNBROOK JANCEN 75 408 31.4 23.4 0.19 0.12 -12 0.01 Oman BUL/AIS N 7 239 ENSENADA TABOO PLANET G 97 949 30.9 25.8 -0.07 -0.06 -5 1.72 Taboo DD/WWS Y 8 236 COGENT TWIST G 95 596 40.2 24.6 0.20 0.06 -10 1.23 Shottle COG Y 8 236 D OMAR 79 453 29.9 22.6 0.15 0.09 -23 0.52 Oman VIK N 10 235 GOMEZ 73 431 33.2 21.1 0.20 0.09 -8 1.22 Goldwyn SRL/WFE N Source: DairyCo - type indexes from Holstein UK. AIS = AI Services; AV = Avoncroft; BUL =; COG = Cogent; DD = Dairy Daughters; DOV = Dovea Genetics; GEN = Genus ABS; SMX = Semex; SRL = Sterling Sires; WFE = Western Farm Enterprises; WWS = World Wide Sires UK; VIK = UK Viking Genetics. PLI = Profitable Lifetime Index; SCC = Somatic Cell Count Index; TM = Type Merit; G = Genomic.



MAY 2013

Cogent WP DF_Cogent WP DF 25/04/2013 12:56 Page 1

**DF May p22 23 Interview (OK USE)_Layout 1 26/04/2013 09:25 Page 1

BREEDING Dr Sabine Krueger is joint CEO of the RMV (Rinderzucht Mecklenburg-Vorpommern) herdbook in Germany. On a recent trip, Bruce Jobson was granted an exclusive interview with the only female CEO of a German herdbook AI organisation.

German breeders put their trust in genomic selection How many years have you been involved with RMV? have been employed at RMV for the past 20 years. I have a good grounding within the cattle breeding industry having started at RMV as an inseminator. We have more than 120 employees and the herdbook offices are based at Karow, and we have 200 RMV bulls in our AI stud.


How has the German AI and cattle breeding industry changed since unification in 1991? We have seen immense change. Herd size in East

Germany was always larger owing to the collective farm system. The current average in the East is 200 head and, nationally, herd size is 62 cows. RMV has 461 members and 126,000 registered dairy cows within the herdbook, as well as 180,000 milkrecorded cows. The type of cattle previously maintained were crossbred types. The state fully controlled the breeding policy, which resulted in a mix of Holstein, Friesian and Jersey cattle. The concept was aimed at combining high milk produc-

tion from Holsteins, the strength of the Friesian types and high components from the Jersey. Today, we have a modern and pure Holstein breed, with many large herds averaging over 10,000kg milk at 4% fat and high protein. National production average on two million Holstein cows is about 8800kg at 4.09% fat and 3.38% protein. Integrating political and agricultural systems must have been an immense task? Yes, weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve made immense progress since unification and have focused on

delivering the best possible results. The German evaluation system uses state-ofthe-art technology and has delivered high reliability as well as stability. Nine German herdbook AI organisations have their semen exports marketed by German Genetics International (GGI) to over 70 countries on a global basis. In the UK, Inimex Genetics (via market our products. Germany now has the second highest number of Holstein bulls tested on an annual basis. We evaluated 1128 bulls in 2011, only 50





MAY 2013

**DF May p22 23 Interview (OK USE)_Layout 1 26/04/2013 09:26 Page 2


Dr Sabine Krueger: some are using up to 80% genomic young bulls.

sires fewer than the US. France tested 613 bulls followed by Italy and Holland with 418 and 403 respectively. Cattle breeding is organised on a 16 state federal basis and evaluations are undertaken independently.

Have genomic evaluations influenced German breeding programmes? Genomics has changed the way all national breeding programmes select the next generation of sires. Firstly, all young bulls with gEBV evaluations are designated as being proven bulls under EU regulations. Technically and legally, on an EU basis, there are no more test bulls. Secondly, from a marketing perspective, there are no longer limitations on the number of units of semen that can be marketed from genomic young bulls â&#x20AC;&#x201C; they have been designated as proven sires by the EU. Thirdly, at breeder level, RMV members are using

more genomic young bulls than previously. Genomics has provided a degree of greater confidence owing to reliability increasing from 35% to 65%-70%. All farmers are different, but on average breeders are using up to 50% genomic young bulls, some are using 80% and others in the region of 30%. German breeders must be confident in genomics and the evaluation system? Our farmers have been more confident following publication of the results in December 2012 of proven German bulls born in 2007. The 1286 German bulls had an average genomic index of 110.8 RZG, and when the bulls were proven in Dec 2012, the group had an average index of 110.5, a decline of only 0.3 RZG. The system is proving extremely reliable for a number of reasons. We have over 25,000 AI bulls in the reference training set, including 8500 daughter

proven German bulls. Another important factor is the European Genomic Alliance which uses a combination of direct genomic value with sire pedigree index, and does not use cow indices in the reference training set. This has resulted in very stable and reliable proofs. We are in a transition stage from the traditional progeny test system to the genomic system. Mating and selection within Germany has changed considerably. Over 80% of matings are now contracted to young genomic bulls and 65% of dams selected are yearling heifers. Has Germany developed

its own cattle breeding â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;brandâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; identity? Unquestionably, but I can only speak on behalf of RMV. We have focused on balanced goals targeting production, high components, fitness, feet and legs, udder traits and longevity. In December 2012, Goldwyn x Oman son, Guarini, owned by partner organisation RRB, was the highest listed bull in the UK evaluations (DairyCo) with a PLI rating of +253 points. Gunnar (Goldwyn X Ford) is our top seller in Germany and has a UK PLI rating of +185 and 2.26 UK Type Merit. We have set a goal to test and produce world class bulls.

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MAY 2013



**DF May p24 25 Vet View_Layout 1 25/04/2013 11:03 Page 1


Although the incidence of left displaced abomasums may have decreased, right-sided ones seem to be increasing. Vet Chris Watson reports from his Gloucestershire practice.

What can we do to reduce RDA cases? “

earching through the back of my car this week I realised I have not used any calcium for over six months and started to ask myself why we do not see milk fevers any more.




MAY 2013

Most of our dairy units are themselves now using very little calcium solutions as treatments and instead have moved to using ‘supplement’ products to prevent the disease. Stockpersons are getting used to assessing the risk

factors for each cow – history, age, condition, size of udder etc, and are using calcium boluses or calcium rich fluids at or just before calving. Dry cow diets Dry cow diets are also helping as they are more consistent with high fibre rations being the norm, and with magnesium chloride added to both ‘acidify’ the ration and help with calcium mobilisation. The result has been quite marked. Prevention is very successful and the risks are being

The key to success is getting an early diagnosis and a prompt intervention Chris Watson

successfully and easily managed without producing clinical disease. Gone are the days when we had down cows every day to deal with. I had half expected there to be a flush of left displaced abomasum (LDA) cases this winter and spring as dairy cows have been on some very dubious forages and quite varied diets using whatever straights were available at the right price. But I think I have done no more than five or six LDAs all winter which is a very low incidence. The lack of maize in diets due to the poor harvest may have something to do with it. The few we have had have

**DF May p24 25 Vet View_Layout 1 25/04/2013 11:04 Page 2

VETâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S VIEW Diagnostic facts

rMilk fever is fully preventable if you assess the risk and plan your approach rPick up problems in fresh calved cows early rEarly, effective treatment gives the best results rAbomasal displacement often arises from common, fresh-cow problems. all been associated with disease issues at or around calving such as lameness, metritis, twins or retained cleansing. I still toggle most of mine provided they are fit enough which I think is the most important decision. Any animal that is clinically sick is not suitable and needs to be treated first to improve overall health before deciding on any method to correct the LDA. Technique should not override good clinical judgement of the cow. The key to success is getting an early diagnosis and a prompt intervention. Like all diseases with freshly-calved dairy cows the sooner you spot the problem and start treatment the more likely you are to be successful. I saw the last two LDAs I did this morning at a routine visit and after 10 days one is over 40 litres and the other close behind. A very satisfying result! RDA increase But rather disappointing this spring has been the increase in right-sided displacements (RDA) which are so difficult to treat. These cows are not necessarily close to calving and it is one of the few abdominal conditions we diagnose in cows well on in their lactations.

It is difficult to know what the predisposing factors are for this condition though it ought to be dietary. The abomasum probably dilates due to high starch intakes and becomes â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;unstableâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; moving high onto the right side of the abdomen and even twisting to produce a torsion. Treating these cows conservatively is the first option. This mainly involves changing to high forage diets with some pain relief and oral fluids. However if the abomasum then

torsions it becomes a surgical emergency as the shock will kill them within 24 hours or so. The surgery is not simple and needs two vets to perform safely. There is so much we do not understand about how the abomasum functions and why we get displacements in practice. The science out there has always seemed to concentrate on techniques for correcting the problem rather than its causes and prevention.

What if a third of your cows have a costly secret?

You canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t see hidden ketosis. But itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s there, and much more common than clinical ketosis. Recent studies show it can affect HYV\UK VMJV^ZL]LUPU^LSSTHUHNLKOLYKZ While itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s invisible, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not inexpensive. Hidden ketosis hurts cow health, reproductive performance, milk production and quality. And it can lead to displaced abomasums, cystic ovaries, retained placenta and metritis, increasing culling risk. The effects could cost from ÂŁ200 up to ÂŁ500 per cow. Now you can screen your herd for this hidden threat with Elancoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s easy, cowside milk test. Keto-Testâ&#x201E;˘ takes just a minute and a few drops of milk. ;VĂ&#x201E;UKV\[TVYLHIV\[2L[V;LZ[JVU[HJ[`V\Y]L[LYPUHYPHU Elanco, Lilly House, Priestley Road, Basingstoke, Hampshire RG24 9NL Tel: 01256353131, ;OL2L[V;LZ[SHILSJVU[HPUZJVTWSL[L\ZLPUMVYTH[PVUPUJS\KPUNJH\[PVUZHUK^HYUPUNZ Always read, understand and follow the label and use directions. If intending to treat ketosis, use medicines responsibly: 2L[VZPZWYL]HSLUJL!4HJYHL(0et al.7YL]HSLUJLVMJSPUPJHSHUKZ\IJSPUPJHSRL[VZPZPU<2KHPY`OLYKZ>VYSK)\PH[YPJZ 3PZIVU7VY[\NHS",SHUJV-HYT(\KP[5V.5-9+H[HVUĂ&#x201E;SL 3LZZTPSR!6ZWPUH(ZZVJPH[PVUIL[^LLU[OLWYVWVY[PVUVMZHTWSLK[YHUZP[PVUJV^Z^P[OPUJYLHZLKUVULZ[LYPĂ&#x201E;LKMH[[`HJPKZ HUKÂ?O`KYV_`I\[`YH[LHUKKPZLHZLPUJPKLUJLWYLNUHUJ`YH[LHUKTPSRWYVK\J[PVUH[[OLOLYKSL]LSJ. Dairy Sci. !  Reduced fertility: Walsh 2007. The effect of subclinical ketosis in early lactation on reproductive performance of postpartum dairy cows. J. Dairy Sci. !  *\SSPUNYPZR!3LISHUJ4VUP[VYPUNTL[HIVSPJOLHS[OVMKHPY`JH[[SLPU[OL[YHUZP[PVUWLYPVKJ. Reprod. Dev.!: : +PZWSHJLKHIVTHZ\TTL[YP[PZ!+\MĂ&#x201E;LSK 0TWHJ[VMO`WLYRL[VULTPHPULHYS`SHJ[H[PVUKHPY`JV^ZVUOLHS[OHUK production. J. Dairy Sci. ! Cystic ovaries: Dohoo 1984. Subclinical ketosis prevalence and associations with production and disease. Can. J. Comp. Med.! 9L[HPULKWSHJLU[H!3LISHUJ7LYPWHY[\TZLY\T]P[HTPU,YL[PUVSHUKIL[HJHYV[LULPUKHPY`JH[[SLHUK[OLPYHZZVJPH[PVUZ^P[OKPZLHZL J. Dairy Sci.!   *VZ[ZHUKWYL]HSLUJL!,ZZSLTVU[91;OL*VZ[ZVM2L[VZPZPU+HPY`*V^Z>VYSK)\PH[YPJZ3PZIVU7VY[\NHS

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MAY 2013



**DF May p26 27 Youngstock_Layout 1 25/04/2013 11:06 Page 1

YOUNGSTOCK With a dramatic herd expansion, there was a big need for more heifers at Balmangan Farms near the Solway Coast in south-west Scotland. Jennifer MacKenzie finds out more.

Specialist calf unit to match herd demands he need to rear more replacements, with an emphasis on health and welfare, was uppermost in establishing a new unit for 450 calves at Balmangan Farms in Scotland. The dairy business has grown from a 60-cow herd established by Mac Wallace in the 1970s to a business in which he has now been joined by son Duncan, running 1350 cows in three herds on 2000 acres. Numbers for the pedigree Holstein part of the herd at Balmangan have steadily increased from 600 cows in 2001 to today’s 1000 cows, and while cattle have been bought-in, the aim is to breed as many


Duncan Wallace: big benefits.



MAY 2013

herd replacements as possible – both pedigree and for the two 175-cow commercial herds run on two of the business’ six farms. Duncan and Mac based the design of the unit, which was constructed in 2010, on that of a smaller building at one of their other farms. Duncan says: “We made the decision to bring all the dry cows to Balmangan and calve them there, and rear all the calves in one unit with all new facilities. It has had massive benefits to all aspects of calf health, and helped in reducing labour.” From the outset of the planning, the Wallaces involved their vet Jimmy More of Solway Vets’ member practice, Galloway Vets, in Kirkcudbright. Ongoing health management is monitored under the Calfstart programme, devised by Solway Vets, in which the vet works closely with the client to manage all aspects of heifer rearing to maturity. Weekly meetings are held

Long line of youngstock tuck into their ration on the 450-calf unit.

with Mr More to monitor calf health and disease, and management is fine tuned accordingly on a continuing basis. Health emphasis Mr More explains: “The emphasis on health management is on non drug based solutions and responsible use of antibiotics. Disease levels are minimal and pneumonia, scours and navel ill are virtually unheard of.” The calf unit, which comprises two buildings with open sides facing each other with 31 bays measuring 50ft by 20ft, has one of

the farms’ team of 14 fulltime staff dedicated to the rearing of calves. Duncan is involved with the colostrum feeding. “We give the calves as much of their own dam’s colostrum as possible at the earliest opportunity after birth, aiming for four to five litres. They are then given a further three feeds of colostrum,” he says. They then move on to powdered milk for up to eight weeks, and at 12 weeks old are introduced to TMR. This includes some straw and a home-made barley mix which they are fed for four to five months.

**DF May p26 27 Youngstock_Layout 1 25/04/2013 11:07 Page 2

YOUNGSTOCK The young calves spend two to three weeks in individual pens made from recycled plastic from Solway Recycling in Dumfries. “They are excellent for single pen management as they are easy to wash and disinfect, easy to put up and they eliminate draft, which is important with such an airy building. We then lift the pens but keep the calves together in one group for up to six months to minimise stress and keep them in their peer group to make the experience as good as possible for them,” says Duncan. After six months they leave the unit and go to other farms where they graze and are cubicle trained. Blood tests As well as heifer replacements – about 300 a year are needed across the three herds – Aberdeen-Angus and British Blue cross bull calves are reared and finished, and Holstein bulls are either sold at two to four weeks old or up to six months. Health protocols which have been in place for several years include an IgG blood test of young calves for levels of colostrum and immunity, and for the first seven days they are administered anti-cryptosporidium Halocur, as well as a pneumonia vaccination at three weeks of age. Weight gains are also monitored with the aim of 0.75kg a day. “Calf mortality has never been a big problem. Keeping everything clean and disinfected is vital and so is good ventilation. One of the biggest improvements we have noticed with the new facilities is the lack of pneumonia cases – it used to be a problem but now we very rarely treat a calf for pneumonia,” says Duncan.

Weekly meetings are held on-farm with vet Jimmy More to monitor calf health and disease.

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MAY 2013



**DF May p28 29 James Allcock_Layout 1 26/04/2013 10:37 Page 1


Liners which are too big could be causing untold teat damage. Peter Hollinshead reports from the National Herdsmans Conference at Harper Adams University, Shropshire.

Over-sized liners could be causing teat damage S genetics has tended to breed narrower and particularly shorter teats on our cows and liner sizes have simply failed to keep up with the trend. “There is a mismatch between liner size and teat size and it appears to be a growing problem,” said vet James Allcock from Lambert, Leonard and May. “This results in high mouthpiece vacuums and I believe up to one-third of all north-west dairy farms may suffer from this mismatch.” Speaking at the National Herdsmans Conference, he said: “Instead of the low vacuum of 5-10kPa at the mouthpiece of the liner, we are seeing vacuums in excess of 25kPa, and even in some cases towards the full system vacuum of about 40kPa.” Mr Allcock said this can result in congested teats post-milking which can appear purple and will have become hard as the circulation has been disrupted. “If we are seeing this on the outside, it is




MAY 2013

likely it would be compromising the defence within the teat. The problem is we don’t know how critical the base of the teat is in a defensive role as opposed to the udder itself.” Vadia Using a newly introduced Norwegian device (called the Vadia) strapped to the shell during milking, he is able to measure the vacuum at the mouthpiece and further down in the milk tube below the teat. The variation recorded allows measurement of milk flow and periods of low flow such as in over-milking. In many cases Mr Allcock found the lead-in time when the cluster goes on, but with no continuous flow of milk, is too protracted. He also said often the automatic cluster remover (ACR) activation time is too late, with both cases resulting in the vacuum pulling when there is no milk flow. “If there is teat collapse with no milk flow, the mouthpiece pressure shoots up,” he stressed. One of the causes of the

Lambert, Leonard and May’s James Allcock with the Vadia device.

slow initial milk release is there has been no proper preparation to stimulate let down. The lag time from handling the teat until oxytocin has its effect in the udder needs to be 70-90 seconds, he said, and once milk starts to flow it should continue to do so. Mr Allcock said: “If a cow turns on milk flow quickly, it will be physiologically disposed to turn it off quickly too.” This means ACRs can cut in earlier to reduce risk of

so-called ‘over-milking’. “Typically, ACRs cut in at a flow rate of 350ml/min in the UK with a reset time of 15-20 seconds. Some are now set to activate at 600ml/min and in the US it is approaching 1litre/min in three-times daily milked herds.” LLM practice has just launched its fully independent Precision Milking division to offer a milking equipment diagnosis to farmers using the new Vadia equipment.

**DF May p28 29 James Allcock_Layout 1 26/04/2013 10:37 Page 2


Dry cow period is critical time JDry cows should be kept at a constant condition score and need priming for the next lactation. That’s the opinion of independent nutritionist Bryn Davies who tells his 10,000litre clients that the day they dry the cow off is effectively the start of her next lactation. He said: “The important thing is cows do not lose body condition. It should be 3 at drying off and should still be 3 at calving. “It should be between 2.5 and 3 at first service, but you do not want it to be below 2.5 as the cow would not be

carrying enough condition for these high yields.” He said he was generally looking for a 55-day dry period and recommended dairy cows should be eating at least 6.0kg forage fibre in the dry matter before calving as this ‘trained’ them to eat the same amount postcalving. “For the first 40 days dry, I am looking to feed 110MJ energy at 12% protein with 1000g metabolisable protein, coupled with high quality minerals to protect the immune system. “But we want to add 2-

3kg concentrate in the last two weeks prior to calving, preferably as wheat and soya.” During these critical last two weeks, he said it was essential to maintain the right calcium balance. Consistent “One way is to use a calcium absorbent which takes up any free calcium in the diet and drives the cow into ‘active calcium absorption’. This is repeatable and consistent.” Mr Davies recommended keeping dry cows on their last two-week diet right up to

seeing the calf’s front feet and then moving the cow on to the ‘high cow’ diet. He declared: “Most of my clients will feed them the ‘high cow’ diet with unchopped hay spread on top of the ration. This is purely a means of adding long fibre and helps take the ‘fizziness’ out of the diet.” The effect of this, he said, is to drop the diet from 17%CP to 15.5%CP and energy from 12.2MJ to 11.8MJ, and this should continue for two weeks when the cow should be doing about 33 litres a day.

MAY 2013



**DF May p30 32 33 Conference _Layout 1 26/04/2013 14:19 Page 1

CONFERENCE Lucerne, clover silage, foot care, mastitis and minerals all came under scrutiny at DairyCo’s presentation day at Reading University. Peter Hollinshead went along to find out more.

Are we adding too much mineral to cow rations? any UK farms are feeding well over the recommended level of minerals which may be posing all sorts of problems, not only to cow health and the environment but also by eroding dairy margins. Research on 50 farms done by Prof Liam Sinclair of Harper Adams University revealed that of the 10 common minerals examined in cow rations all were being overfed, and the worst case was that of copper which was being supplemented at more than twice the recommended level. “People are often feeding more minerals than is needed,” declared Prof Sinclair. “They are led on by the premise if you feed more copper you will get better fertility. Even if they are feeding two to three times the recommended levels they won’t get better fertility unless there are major issues with antagonists in the diet,” he said. While he said copper




MAY 2013

People are often feeding more minerals than is needed

Prof Liam Sinclair

supplementation was a balance between deficiency with the symptomatic staring coat and spectacles, feeding excess could all too readily lead to toxicity. “One of the most common mineral problems found was copper toxicity. If you feed too much it builds up in the liver until it can’t store any more when it is released into the bloodstream and the cow dies.” He cited the recommended levels for an average farm at 11mg/kg DM ration, with the UK maxi-

mum for inclusion of 20mg/kg and the legal UK maximum of 40mg/kg. Yet in the 50 farms they studied he said most – about 80% – were feeding above 20mg and 12% were feeding above the 40mg/kg DM in early lactation. He said the root of the problem lay in the fact the copper was coming from a variety of sources. “Where there have been problems with copper toxicity, often nobody knew where the excess was coming from.” He said some came from forage, some from concentrates and some even from other sources such as free access minerals or boluses. Forage analysis One contributory factor was the forage: “If you want to know how much you are feeding then it is often best to get a forage analysis done. It will cost about £35, but will provide you with information on a wide range of minerals.” However, he did warn the levels may vary from field to field and cut to cut, so care was needed to ensure the correct picture

was ascertained. Although copper deficiency was not commonly a problem, its supply can be limited where it is bound up by other elements, particularly molybdenum, sulphur and sometimes iron. So as well as the copper levels it was imperative to know the levels of these other minerals as well. However, he said as part of his research he had fed diets with high levels of molybdenum and sulphur and found some intriguing results. “With grass silage based diets the cows ate less and the body condition decreased, they produced less milk and the copper levels in the liver came down. But when we used maize silage based diets we found the cows produced the same amount of milk and the liver levels did come down but at a slower rate. “We’re not sure why this is, but if you have high levels of molybdenum and sulphur it’s going to be more of a problem with grass silage based diets than maize ones,” he said.

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**DF May p30 32 33 Conference _Layout 1 25/04/2013 11:15 Page 2


Getting cows off the lameness escalator

roducers need to pay more attention to watching their cows as they walk so they can spot potential cases of lameness at the earliest possible stage. That was the warning from Dr Jon Huxley of Nottingham University Vet School, who said the earlier cases are spotted and treated the better. He recommends mobility scoring on a fortnightly basis to identify score 2 cows. Score 2 cows are the ones which show an arching of the back with


• • • • • • • •

different leg speeds and exhibit some difficulty in walking, whereas score 3 cows show a distinct degree of lameness in walking and are more visually apparent as to what they are.

Economic drain He said once a cow is in these categories they give less milk (200-600 litres per lactation), take longer to get back in calf (20-40 days), are more likely to be culled, and as such become an economic drain on farm profitability. “Lameness tends to be a

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disease of the high yielders and because they fall back to a more average yield they tend to go unnoticed,” he said. His research has centred on claw horn lesions such as sole ulcers, haemorrhages and white line separations, and while acknowledging the value of prevention, his work had focused more on treatment. “It’s all about spotting these cows early to get them off that escalator to score 3 by treating them effectively. If you don’t treat them early and they progress to score 3 they will take longer to recover, and even if you treat them perfectly, and they do recover, they are more likely to go lame again in


MAY 2013

It’s all about spotting these cows early to get them off that escalator

Dr Jon Huxley

the future,” he added. He said he understood why there was less immediacy in treating lameness than say mastitis, and that was why it was essential to have the right handling equipment in the right place so the job was as convenient as possible. In one herd which they followed for a year, his research team was looking for early signs of lameness and once identified those cows were treated immediately. This herd started the year with 37% of cows lame (30% score 2 and 7% score 3) and ended up just 10% lame, but with no score 3 cases. But one of the difficulties in reducing lameness is in knowing which treatments work. His latest research was to allocate four different treatments randomly to cows to ascertain which was most effective. These were trim only; trim and block the other claw; trim and give a three day course of non-steroidals; trim and block the other claw and give three day course of non-steroidals. Although the analysis is not yet evaluated, he gave a strong endorsement to the value of foot blocks as a means to aiding recovery. “If I were you I would be investing in blocks – they appear to deliver benefits even on score 2 cows.”

**DF May p30 32 33 Conference _Layout 1 25/04/2013 11:15 Page 3


Targeted approach to tackling mastitis ithin the space of a couple of years, dairy farmers should be able to reduce the incidence of mastitis on farm and attack clinical cases with pinpoint accuracy. Peers Davies of the University of Nottingham Vet School said: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Strep uberis is the most common pathogen causing mastitis on farm and we are seeing more evidence of contagious spread.â&#x20AC;?


He explained some uberis infections originate from the environment while others persist within infected udders, and as there were â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;several hundredâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; different strains of the pathogen it inevitably made the task more difficult. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Strep uberis is holding people back, if we can identify how to prevent the new cases and improve the speed at which we get diagnosis that will be a big benefit. â&#x20AC;&#x153;If the producer freezes a sample we can get a

response back within 24 hours for a similar price to a standard milk culture,â&#x20AC;? he said. Presently pathogen identification in commercial laboratories can only get to the species level not the strain type. The new technique will employ the mass spectrometer at Andrew Bradleyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s QMMS laboratory in Somerset, and is the only one of its kind used in agriculture. â&#x20AC;&#x153;But it will take some time to build the pathogen reference library needed to identify most of the strains. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Then when we know what strains are present we can give a predictive route

Strep uberis is holding people back


Peers Davies

of transmission and will be better able to tackle mastitis problems,â&#x20AC;? he claimed.

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MAY 2013



**DF May NEW p34 Forage_Layout 1 26/04/2013 12:47 Page 1

FORAGE With profitability heavily linked to grass use, DairyCo is challenging efficient grassland managers to push their systems even further by following the NZ approach.

Growing extra leaf area razing paddocks at 3 leaves instead of 2.5 has grown another tonne of grass dry matter (DM) per hectare for a 510-cow herd in Gloucestershire. In practice it meant the additional half a leaf on the milking platform produced 500 tonnes of extra silage for the clamp. The result was a saving of more than


£10,000 in feed costs for the 2011 winter, says Lydney Park Farm’s herd manager Keith Davis. Keith points out the bonus of delaying grazing is additional grass growth coming from captured sunlight – so it is free. “The third leaf on a grass plant is the biggest and grows 4555% of the total yield in a sward. To grow that third full leaf and increase yield, we lengthened the spring • • • •

Holding back grazing until there are three leaves should lift forage yields.

and summer grazing round from 20-21 days to 23-24 days,” he says.

“In 2010 from January 1 to July 1, we grew 6.7t DM/ha of grass. In the

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**DF May p34 35 Forage Leaves _Layout 1 26/04/2013 09:49 Page 2

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rLeaf 1 produces 10-15% of the grass in a sward rLeaf 2 produces 30-40% rLeaf 3 produces 45-55% rBest quality grass is between 2.5 and 3 leaves rLengthening grazing round to 23-24 days grows extra half a leaf. same period in 2011, we grew 7.7t DM/ha. If we graze down to 1500kg DM/ha and assume 80% utilisation (for easy maths), then we have grown another 800kg of grass dry matter at no cost,” he says. Because of the extra silage, 2011’s wheat could be combined instead of being cut for wholecrop. Doing this saved buying in 200t DM of wholecrop at £150/t DM worth £30,000. Putting the cost of making the silage at £100/t DM for 200t DM of grass silage (£20,000), and this is where Keith reckons to have saved at least £10,000 in winter feed costs. Grazing round Changes to the grazing round were made following a DairyCo meeting featuring Dr John Roche of Down to Earth Advice in New Zealand. “That’s when I learned we were grazing a shade too early at 2.5 leaves. We were also going in too early at 2700kg DM/ha. John told us to graze paddocks closer to 3000kg DM/ha in May and June, at peak grass growth.” However, Keith discovered grazing just before 3000kg treads a fine line between maximising intakes and losing out on quality due to canopy closure. As Dr Roche maintains when the grass plant struggles for light it pushes the stem and this elongated plant is of poorer

quality. Furthermore, three big leaves then flop over making it dark underneath, and without light new tillers can’t grow. “The aim is to get most of the growth before grazing a paddock and before canopy closure. Then make sure you graze down to 1500kg DM/ha to encourage quality regrowth evenly across the paddock,” says Keith. Along with this, there is an optimum stocking rate for profit depending on cow size and feed

availability. Comparative stocking rate is measured in kg of cow liveweight for every tonne of food dry matter available. Dr Roche’s studies show profitability peaks at 77kg/t DM. “We worked out our comparative stocking rate was 81-82kg – basically we were overstocked,” says Keith. That’s why Keith decided to try to grow more grass, so he lengthened the grazing rotation in early spring but shortened it again in mid-June when grasses were at risk of heading.

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**DF MAy p36 37 Forage BOCMP_Layout 1 25/04/2013 11:26 Page 1

FORAGE Moist blends are fast changing from mere stopgap feeds to a year round addition to dairy cow diets.

Moist blends become regular part of rations

ith the late spring most milk producers will be under pressure to grow enough forage to meet everyday demands and replenish depleted stocks. But Staffordshire producer David Pearce requires additional feed every season. With 300 highyielding Holsteins and followers on 400 acres, he needs to supplement the grass silage and 70 acres of maize he grows each year with a consistent, palatable feed. “We are heavily stocked for the number of acres we have here, and although we produce about 2500-3000 tonnes of grass silage and 1000 tonnes of maize silage, we always need to purchase additional feed,” explains Mr Pearce,




MAY 2013

who farms in partnership with his mother, Margaret, at Sheltonunder-Harley. “Traditionally we always used brewers’ grains and caustictreated wheat, but when SelcoPlus came on the market it appeared to offer a number of advantages. We had our first 27-tonne load in September last year and have taken the same amount every three weeks since. We simply tip it on a concrete pad and it does not deteriorate at all, even in warm weather,” he says. The moist blend from Feeds Marketing (BOCM PAULS’ division) is made from the co-products which remain following the processing of wheat for industrial uses. It contains wheat syrup and a unique preservative which means it can be stored safely for

David Pearce (left) with Craig Fowler examining a sample of the SelcoPlus blend.

**DF MAy p36 37 Forage BOCMP_Layout 1 26/04/2013 10:34 Page 2


David Pearce says the blend does not deteriorate even in warm weather.

preservative which means it can be stored safely for months, and it is primarily aimed at those with mixer wagons, says the company. “My first impression was that it had a fresh, sweet smell and was totally different to the products we had been using,” says Mr Pearce. “It does cost more per tonne but it does have a much higher dry matter content.” Unlike many UK farmers who struggled to make good silage last year, Mr Pearce was pleased with both the quantity and quality of what went into the clamp. This, he explains, was due to a change in the way of working. “In the past we have employed a contractor, but last year we decided to invest in a trailed forage harvester and update the Krone disc mower so we were able to do the whole job ourselves. This paid off last summer and despite the wet weather, we were able to produce some good quality silages. “We take four cuts off the ryegrass-based mixtures.The

first cut was started on May 12 and we produced 180 acres of high quality material, with a second cut in the first week of July and subsequent cuts in August and September,” he says. Analysis Analysis by BOCM PAULS showed the first cut silage produced 33% dry matter, with 13.2% crude protein, a D-Value of 76% and ME of 12.2MJ/kg, while second cut material analysed at 35% dry matter, 15.4% crude protein, a D-Value of 71% and ME of 11.4MJ/kg. “Our high-yielding cows only go out for about two hours each day, so it is important to get the nutrition exactly right,” Mr Pearce says. “Cows receive 20kg of first cut grass silage, 8kg of second cut material and 16kg of maize silage, which analysed at 27% dry matter, 9.4% crude protein, 24% starch and an ME of 11.5MJ/kg. This is supplemented with 7.5kg of SelcoPlus, 3kg of a 30% protein blend and 0.5kg

of straw to provide maintenance plus 26 litres. “Since replacing 10kg/ cow/day of brewers’ grains and 2kg/cow/day of caustic-treated wheat in the ration with 5kg/cow/day SelcoPlus, we have reduced feed costs by £38 per day which is equivalent to £760 per month at peak times. “Even during summer when lower yielding cows are at grass, this year we will still save £28 per day compared with our previous system. Intakes have improved, milk yield has increased, and there has been a noticeable improvement in cow health and fertility. BOCM PAULS’ Craig

Fowler says: “Last year was a very challenging season for forage production. By late summer the potential shortfall in forage stocks and quality was becoming apparent, and we began seeing a significant increase in demand for co-products to maintain nutritional intakes. “The new manufactured moist blends have been particularly valuable to producers. Where appropriate we suggest co-products are used routinely as part of a planned ration programme, not simply when there is no alternative,” he says. Details from Feeds Marketing on 08700 500 306, or visit

MAY 2013



**DF May p38 40 41 42 43 Forage Mach_Layout 1 26/04/2013 14:20 Page 1

FORAGE MACHINERY With the increase in capital allowances, you may be considering updating your grass kit. Steven Vale takes a look at the latest forage harvester and baler developments.

Getting all geared up for coming grass crop High capacity balers JFollowing a strategic agreement with the Kuhn Group, John Deere sold limited quantities of its high capacity 1400 Series large square balers in the UK and Ireland, but these are now fully available for the 2013 season. There are three basic models – the 1433, 1424 and 1434 – producing bales 80cm wide by 90cm high, 120cm by 70cm and 120cm by 90cm respectively. Bale



MAY 2013

length ranges from 60cm up to 300cm, and can be controlled electrically from the tractor cab as an extra option. IsoBus is standard on 1400 Series balers and allows the operator to adjust and control various settings from the tractor cab, including bale density and pre-cutter knife selection. The tractor’s existing ISOBUS monitor can be used if available.

More even-shaped bales

JTHE model numbers of New Holland’s new range of BigBaler (BB) large square balers represent the bale dimensions. The first one or two numbers in the four-model range – 870, 890, 1270 and 1290 – represent the bale width in centimetres, ‘8’ for 80cm and ‘12’ for 120cm. The final two digits refer to the bale height, either 70cm or 90cm. Baling capacity has been increased by 20%, with bale density up 5% over the old

BB9000 series. Plunger strokes have also risen from 42 to 48 per minute. Up front, a revised pickup reel has been introduced for better crop flow, says the manufacturer. A crop roller keeps material pressed to the pick-up and uses a twin set of augers to direct material into the pre-compression chamber. Sensors in this chamber help the operator produce an even-shaped bale by notifying them of material build-up on either side.

DF_05_P39_DF_04_P35 26/04/2013 10:41 Page 21


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**DF May p38 40 41 42 43 Forage Mach_Layout 1 26/04/2013 09:58 Page 2


LB4 offers better access for easy servicing

Pick-up for different crops

JKRONE’S Big Pack HighSpeed baler has a bigger appetite thanks to a new optional Active Pick-up. The new unit relies on the camless EasyFlow system. The main feature on the Active Pick-up is the feed roller mounted above the pick-up reel close to the

feed rotor. It is equipped with interchangeable paddles for different crops. This new pick-up is standard on the Big Pack HighSpeed 890 and 4x4 models, and will be available as an option on the Big Pack HighSpeed 1270, 1290 and 1290 HDP.

JCASE IH’s new fourmodel range of LB4 large square balers has new cladding which allows the entire front body section (and full width panels either side) to be opened upwards for easier maintenance. Many improvements can be found in the new pick-

Improved flow on FCT 1060

JTHE upper-cut chopping cylinder on JF-Stoll’s updated trailed FCT 1060 forage harvester has been revised to create more draught for better flow up the spout. All functions are now controlled in-cab via electro-hydraulics.



MAY 2013

up, which now has a 2.4m working width. A swath wind guard is manually adjustable to match crop conditions, and this works with an additional intake auger and central feed roller to ensure rapid material transfer with less wastage.

The 1060 can be specified with a 1.8m or a 2.2m pickup reel and with or without a metal detector. Maximum power required is 190hp. The larger FCT 1360 gets a new chopping cylinder, which raises capacity by up to 25 per cent.

**DF May p38 40 41 42 43 Forage Mach_Layout 1 26/04/2013 09:58 Page 3


McHale round balers

MF adds extra density model

JMassey Ferguson has beefed up its 2170 large square baler with a new Extra Density version, the 2170 XD. With a higher output, it produces fewer, heavier 1.2m x 0.88m bales, reducing handling time and transport costs, it says. The XD features six

double knitters and a 2.26m working width pick-up reel. An electronically controlled automatic knotter lubrication system is also standard, as is self-steering, independently-sprung axles which run on 500/45-22.5 tyres rated at 60kph (37.3mph).

JReplacing the F500 series, McHale’s latest range of fixed chamber round balers comprises three models — the F5400, F5500 and F5600. Bale sizes are 1.23m by 1.25m and all machines have a 2m pick-up reel and 18 rollers. The 5400 is the lowest

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spec machine, with manual greasing and no knives. The 5500 has 15 knives, with a bank of seven and a bank of eight which can be used individually, together (for a chop length of 65mm) or not at all. The 5600 has 23 knives for a chop length of 50mm.

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MAY 2013



**DF May p38 40 41 42 43 Forage Mach_Layout 1 26/04/2013 09:59 Page 4


Lely balers

JProducing bales up to 2m in diameter, Lely’s updated Welger variable chamber round balers feature camless pick-ups with five rows of tines, and 19 or 25 knife chopper options. Grease nipples are now in three banks and bearings have been beefed up.

Elho wrapper

JAS well as mowers, rakes and a new straw bale shredder, Hutts Farm Machinery, the new importer for the Finnish-made Elho range of grassland machinery, also includes a bale wrapper.

Filling strategy options for wagons JClaas Jaguar SPFH developments include new features to the AutoFill automatic wagon filling system, which allows operators to pre-select the filling strategy. Carried out via the Cebis control terminal, the three filling strategies include: ■ Front – filling from front to rear ■ Rear – filling from rear to front ■ Standard – partial filling from the front first, then change to filling from rear to front. The company is also offering forage harvester

operators new options in their choice of automatic steering system for the Jaguar. The Auto Pilot mechanical steering system, in combination with the row-independent Orbis maize header, now enables automatic steering in row widths ranging between

37.5cm and 80cm. To achieve this, two mechanical sensing bars simultaneously monitor two maize rows and record the position of the machine using digital sensors, sending pulses to the steering unit in the process.

**DF May p38 40 41 42 43 Forage Mach_Layout 1 26/04/2013 10:00 Page 5


Crop roller aids delivery JSpanning five models ranging from 450hp to 824hp, New Holland’s latest range of self-propelled forage harvesters comes with a new grass pick-up header for better crop flow. Available in widths of 3m and 3.8m, both pick-ups feature a newly-developed double crop press roller, which keeps the grass pressed up against the tine

bands for better delivery to the auger. To adapt to different crops and conditions, the roller height can be hydraulically adjusted from the cab. A new driver aid called IntelliFill is an option. Using near infrared technology and a 3D camera mounted on the spout, it moves the spout to evenly fill trailers.

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Kernel processing technology

JInnovative kernel processing technology is a major feature of John Deere’s new 7080 Series self-propelled forage harvesters. The expanded range of seven models’ line-up is as follows: 7180 (380hp), 7280 (additional 440hp machine), 7380 (490hp), 7480 (560hp), 7580 (625hp), and two wide

body models – the 7780 (625hp) and 7980 (812hp). Based on a patented bevel disc design, the KernelStar multi-crop kernel processor features contoured intermeshing discs. The newly styled forager range continues to use John Deere’s infinitely variable length of cut (IVLOC) transmission.

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MAY 2013



**DF May p44 46 Milk Prices_Layout 1 26/04/2013 11:13 Page 1


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MILK prices

Tesco lifts its group price by 1.19p/litre

JTesco has increased its producer milk price by 1.19ppl from April, and the retailer says it remains committed to setting a fair milk price based on information from the dataset of consenting TSDG suppliers. The result of the latest figures shows the average cost of milk production within the group has risen from 31.08ppl to 32.27ppl. The change has primarily been driven by the increase in the cost of feed, as well as the significant reduction in milk volume causing overhead contributions to increase on a pence per litre basis. With suppliers who co-operate with Promar receiving the additional 0.5ppl, the increase takes our standard litre (4%b/f & 3.3% prot, Bactoscans of 30,000/ml and SCCs of 200,000/ml, 1mltrs/yr on EODC but before

seasonality, profile, balancing, capital retentions or annual incentive schemes not directly linked to dairy market price movement) price up to 32.77ppl for ‘core’ suppliers in Arla Foods (before its 0.25ppl haulage charge), Muller Wiseman and First Milk. As a further commitment, the retailer is also offering a £40 bonus payment for every Aberdeen-Angus calf using specially selected sires. The £1m investment offers TSDG farmers a significant additional income stream, with the payments available for all Aberdeen-Angus calves born between Jan’14 and Jan’15. The payments are being offered following the retailer’s commitment to source all its Finest range beef from the AberdeenAngus breed.

**DF May p44 46 Milk Prices_Layout 1 26/04/2013 10:12 Page 2


Milk price analyst Stephen Bradley on the latest milk industry developments.

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News in brief...

First Milk increase from April JFirst Milk has increased its milk prices from April 1, with suppliers in the liquid pool receiving 0.5ppl. Those supplying through the cheese schedule have seen their price improve 0.4ppl with the balancing pool disbanded. This is the first lift in milk price for liquid suppliers in 2013 and takes our standard

United price down

JThis month our milk price table confirms milk prices paid for Feb’13 supply. With United’s monthly milk auction now consigned to the history books, February will probably be the last month where the final January auction will have any impact. This saw the coop cut its base price by 1.15ppl, taking our price for the month down to 28.09p.

litre supplier price up to 29.65ppl. Following the 0.5ppl increase from Jan’13 our supplier in the cheese pool sees the price increase to 28.90ppl, with our Highlands and Islands supplier also receiving 0.4ppl to 29.36ppl. All the above prices include the company’s 0.5ppl production bonus.

Fresh Milk rise

JThe Fresh Milk Company, Caledonian Cheese, has confirmed it is lifting its price by 0.16ppl from May 1. The increase, via higher constituent payments, takes our standard litre price to 30.11ppl, while suppliers on the profile option will see the price increase to 30.59ppl. This is based on our last league table 12mth rolling profile payment to Feb’13 of 0.48ppl.

Co-operative Dairy Group up 0.35ppl JMuller Wiseman suppliers in the Co-operative Dairy Group (CDG) are to receive 0.35ppl increase in milk price from April 22, taking our standard litre to 31.85ppl. This is the retailer’s second milk price increase in 2013

taking the total for the year to 1.35ppl following the 1ppl increase from Feb’13. The late month increase will see 0.105ppl in April (accounting for nine of the 30 days) with the remaining 0.245ppl shown in next month’s table.

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MAY 2013



**DF May p44 46 Milk Prices_Layout 1 26/04/2013 10:13 Page 3

MILK PRICES Latest milk prices from D.C – M&S ∞ D.C – Waitrose ∞^ MüllerWiseman – Sainsbury's Central Scotland MüllerWiseman – Sainsbury's England D.C – Sainsbury's MüllerWiseman – Tesco Scotland MüllerWiseman – Tesco England Arla Foods – AFMP Sainsbury's ••* Cadbury – Selkley Vale Milk Arla Foods – Tesco ••* MüllerWiseman – The Co-op Dairy Group Arla Foods – Standard (former Asda) ••* Wyke Farms Caledonian Cheese Co – Profile ‡ Parkham Farms D.C – Davidstow ∞ Blackmore Vale Farm Cream Barber A.J & R.G Yew Tree Dairy Caledonian Cheese Co Meadow Foods Lakes ± Arla Foods – Standard (Former Non-Aligned) ••* Meadow Foods – Level Meadow Foods – Seasonal Paynes Farms Dairies Wensleydale Dairy Products MüllerWiseman – Aberdeen MüllerWiseman – Central Scotland MüllerWiseman – England Grahams Dairies Joseph Heler D.C – Liquid Regional Premium ∞ ¶ South Caernarfon Arla Foods – AFMP Standard ••* Saputo UK – Level supply # Belton Cheese Glanbia – Llangefni (flat) Arla Milk Link Rodda's ¢• (••••) Arla Milk Link – London Liquid (••••) Arla Milk Link – West Country Liquid (••••) Glanbia – Llangefni (Constituent) Saputo UK – Seasonal # Arla Milk Link – Manufacturing ¢• (••••) First Milk – Liquid § First Milk – Highlands & Islands § First Milk Balancing § First Milk – Cheese § United Dairy Farmers ≠ Average Price

Jan'13 4.0/3.3 Before Seas'lty (i)

32.15 31.97 31.59 31.59 31.44 31.58 31.58 31.47 32.21 31.33 30.50 30.38 29.25 30.24 30.23 30.10 29.20 30.10 30.50 29.74 30.00 30.38 30.00 30.00 30.20 29.48 29.50 29.50 29.50 30.00 28.99 29.85 29.28 30.38 28.95 29.05 29.10 29.05 28.64 28.64 29.02 28.65 28.65 29.15 28.96 28.50 28.50 29.24 29.96

Feb'13 4.0/3.3 Before Seas'lty (ii)

33.47 31.97 31.59 31.59 31.44 31.58 31.58 31.47 32.21 31.33 31.50 30.38 30.25 30.35 30.23 30.10 29.20 30.10 30.50 29.87 30.00 30.38 30.00 30.00 30.20 29.48 30.50 30.50 30.50 30.00 28.99 29.85 29.28 30.38 28.95 29.05 29.10 29.01 28.60 28.60 29.02 28.65 28.61 29.15 28.96 28.50 28.50 28.09 30.07

Feb'13 4.0/3.3 1mltr SAPP **(iii)

33.55 32.01 31.59 31.59 31.88 31.58 31.58 31.47 32.21 31.33 31.50 30.38 30.25 30.37 30.73 30.54 29.20 30.10 30.50 29.87 30.50 30.38 30.00 30.00 30.20 29.48 30.50 30.50 30.50 30.00 28.99 30.29 31.28 30.38 28.95 29.05 29.10 28.51 28.10 28.10 29.02 28.65 28.11 28.37 28.18 27.72 27.72 28.09 30.06

12mth Ave Feb'12 Jan'13 (iv)

31.79 30.81 30.74 30.74 30.63 30.49 30.49 30.35 30.09 29.94 29.68 29.02 28.95 28.95 28.86 28.83 28.72 28.69 28.67 28.46 28.40 28.39 28.36 28.36 28.32 28.28 28.14 28.14 28.14 28.11 28.07 27.92 27.89 27.81 27.69 27.57 27.52 27.48 27.48 27.48 27.41 27.39 27.13 27.02 27.01 26.60 26.59 26.44 28.54

Diff Feb'13 v Jan'13 (i) v (ii)

1.32 N/C N/C N/C N/C N/C N/C N/C N/C N/C 1.00 N/C 1.00 0.11 N/C N/C N/C N/C N/C 0.13 N/C N/C N/C N/C N/C N/C 1.00 1.00 1.00 N/C N/C N/C N/C N/C N/C N/C N/C -0.04 -0.04 -0.04 N/C N/C -0.04 N/C N/C N/C N/C -1.15

Notes to table Prices paid for 1mltr producer supplying milk of average constituents 4% butterfat and 3.3% protein, SCCs of 200,000/ml and Bactoscans of 30,000/ml on EODC excluding capital retentions and MDC levies. SAPP = Seasonally Adjusted Profile Price. (i) Jan’13 prices before seasonality. (ii) Feb’13 prices before seasonality. (iii) Seasonally adjusted profile price for Feb’13 taking into account monthly seasonality payments and profiles of supply. ** Seasonal adjusted profile supply for 1mltr supplier (using monthly RPA figures) for Feb’13 = 2,724ltrs/day, flat supply =2,740ltrs/day. (iv) Table ranked on the seasonally adjusted price for the 12mths to Feb’13. § SAPP reflects 12mth profile adjustment of -0.28ppl. ¢ SAPP reflects 2,723ltrs (Aug to Dec’11 daily average) paid as ‘A’ ltrs with the remaining ‘B’ ltrs paid @ 95% of the ‘A’ price (ie constituents plus Market Related Adjustment) for Feb’13. • Just 1 'B' litres/day applicable for Feb’13 with daily volume of 2,724ltrs/day being 1 litre above the 'A' volume of 2,723ltrs. 0.5ppl production bonus for Milk Link, First Milk and Glanbia Cheese not applicable for Feb’13 SAPP with daily production not within our 3% tolorance of Feb’12 based on RPA monthly figures.••* No balancing charge from Jul'12 through to Feb’13. ∞ Price before seasonality includes 12mth rolling profile payment of 1.06ppl to Feb’13 (unchanged on previous month). ∞^ Price before seasonality includes 12mth rolling profile payment of 0.45ppl to Feb’13 (unchanged on previous month). ± Price before seasonality includes 12mth rolling profile payment of 0.5ppl to Feb’13 (unchanged on previous month). # Constituent payments priced by volume. ≠ Seasonality built into monthly base price. Arla Foods – AFMP Asda and Non-aligned prices merged into Arla Foods AFMP Standard from Oct'12. (••••) 0.04ppl decrease reflects the first 6 days of Jan'13 not picking up the 0.23ppl cut effective from 7th Jan'13. ¶ Price includes Regional & Support Premiums. ‡ Non-seasonal price includes 12mth average rolling profile of 0.48ppl to Feb’13 (down 0.02ppl on previous month). Tesco milk prices include the 0.5ppl bonus for co-operation with Promar costings. cannot take any responsibility for losses arising. Copyright:



MAY 2013

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NEW DF May p48 49 New Products (USE) _Layout 1 26/04/2013 09:29 Page 1


NEW products

Dairy breed catalogue

Sima medal for John Deere’s RDA

JProven and young sires from eight dairy breeds are included in a first specialist breeds catalogue from Cogent Breeding. The catalogue has more than 40 bulls including Ayrshire, Brown Swiss, Dairy Shorthorn, Friesian, Jersey, Montbeliarde, Norwegian Red and Swedish Red, with about half potentially available as sexed semen. ■ Details: To obtain a copy call 0800 783 7258.

Targeted copper

JHarbro’s exclusive next generation of targeted copper supplementation, Cu-tek, is being used in selected Grampian minerals for dairy and beef cattle. The blend of copper sources is now enhanced with the addition of a new slow release copper. The product’s more efficient copper absorption gives health benefits and permits a lower inclusion level. ■ Details at



This month, we feature the first specialist breeds catalogue and a new online merchandise shop, plus a dual purpose grass mixture.

MAY 2013

JJohn Deere’s new Remote Display Access (RDA) system available commercially later this year has been awarded a Sima 2013 silver medal. Allowing remote access to the on-board GreenStar 2630 display unit, the operator working on a tractor, combine harvester, self-propelled sprayer or forage harvester can receive immediate, realtime assistance from the fleet or farm manager, or directly from the dealer. RDA is a new addition to John Deere’s FarmSight initiative, which connects equipment, owners, operators, dealers and

consultants in order to enhance productivity, increase efficiency and

reduce overall input costs. ■ Details at

JUK cattle breeders, World Wide Sires, has launched a Facebook page to keep dairy farmers up-to-date with the latest cattle breeding information. Hosting a wealth of the latest cattle breeding news, including up-to-the-minute

company information as well as production data for the company’s portfolio of dairy and beef bulls, it also features new sires and their progeny and details of the company’s range of proven and genomic young sires. Special offers and

promotions and an updated list of events, shows and farmer meetings being attended by World Wide Sires across the UK will be included. ■ Details: Go to and search for World Wide Sires UK.

World Wide Sires launches page on social media site

NEW DF May p48 49 New Products (USE) _Layout 1 26/04/2013 09:34 Page 2

Merchandise goes online


Hymax mixture added to Monarch range

JFans of the John Deere brand have a new online merchandise shop. An improved user interface and updated design gives customers access to the collection of more than 1000 items including office accessories, watches and radios, workwear and numerous other gifts and items. ■ Details at




JDual-purpose grass mixture Hymax, combining high dry matter yields over a three to four year period with a good ground cover score, has been added to the Monarch range of ley mixtures from Limagrain UK. Comprising more than 80% tetraploid hybrid ryegrasses, the mixture has the potential to produce multiple cuts of silage in addition to being suited to grazing. High tetraploid content makes it ideal for overseeding, while vigorous

early spring growth means Hymax leys can be grazed early on before being ‘shut up’ for silage. The mixture has DM yields comparable to Italian

ryegrass leys and is suitable for all farming systems. ■ Details at enquiries@ or http://www. monarch-range.html

New products are featured in each issue of Dairy Farmer. Please send details and pictures to Jennifer MacKenzie at, or call 01768 896 150.





MAY 2013



**DF May p50 Donovan_Layout 1 25/04/2013 12:24 Page 1


WORKSHOP tips with Mike Donovan

This month, we take a look at modifying a trailer for buffer feeding needs.

Buffer feeding trailer here is little Outside straw feeding doubt the long needs nothing too complex, winter will have and the home-built trailer I depleted forage want to show you this stocks on many month has been doing the farms, and reducing access job on this Cheshire farm for to spring grass and adding a decade. barley straw is one plan Richard Thelwell has which should allow made a couple of an increased these trailers, acreage of silage which came h ic to be cut. into their h ls w ateria le, such m e s For a start, it own when he rU sily availab a are ea wheels from ge may be possiwas buying in as t fora n a d n ble to keep dry silage. Instead redu rvester ha cows on a slightly of double handifferent diet with less dling, he took the grass available, or even keep feed trailer to the vendor them inside until they calve. and then had it already This regime may help loaded. keep dry cows in fit, rather Mr Thelwell built these than over-fat, condition trailers on simple lines, and which should make the sub- decided not to get too worsequent calving less probried about either drawbars lematic. or wheels as he finds the



This trailer design has the drawbar close to the ground so it can be easily stepped over, and this means the pick-up ring is on the top side.



MAY 2013

The trailer is used to buffer feed cows as spring grass supply is limited.

herd is able to work their way around the problems without difficulty. It certainly means the design can be simple, and uses materials which are easily available, such as wheels from a redundant forage harvester. The trailers work better than a ring feeder, as these take time and effort to move from one grazing field to another. Ring feeders damage grass swards, while the mobile trailer moves on before the damage is done. The base and sides of the trailer are made with quarter-inch plate, on a frame made from heavy four-inch channel, including the laterals going across the floor. The drawbar is a length of heavy seven-inch box with the ring welded on the topside, eliminating the need for a stand. The feed bars

Ensure wheels are close to the trailer body, and with tyres which are suitable for field work.

are welded to four-inch by two-inch angle, which is on top of the side plating. Building the trailers to a robust standard will give them a long working life.

About Mike

r Mike is a machinery columnist offering tips on building or modifying farm equipment. Sign up for his free newsletter at

DF_05_P51_DF_04_P51 26/04/2013 11:05 Page 21


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MAY 2013

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DF_05_P53_DF_05_P53 26/04/2013 12:29 Page 22

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MAY 2013



**DF May p54 55 Good Evans _Layout 1 25/04/2013 12:26 Page 1


GOOD Evans

The day I got trapped in the Renault tractor cab

This month Roger Evans tells us how his pride took a battering when he was forced to ask someone to let him out of the tractor cab.



ometimes the price we all receive for our milk seems precarious. The two major processors which sell milk into the liquid market are busy flexing their muscles as they seek to recruit dairy farmers to supply them. In a trial of strength they are unlikely to try to reduce milk prices. But the question is what will happen when they think they’ve got enough milk? The only guide we have is the 4ppl cut they tried to impose last year. For all their fine talk, that’s probably where they would like prices to be now. They gave away the profit they made on putting milk onto supermarket shelves to the supermarkets in their determination to fill new factories to capacity. There’s still nearly two years to go on those flawed deals, so paying the prices they are paying now will be painful. The cheese market is stalked by Irish cheese which was made with milk they only paid 23p for. It’s all a bit scary. A friend did some shopping for us while we were in the snow. Next day, I’m in the fridge for some milk and I spot a different cheese to our normal choice. I get it out to have a better look. It says it’s packed in Leek, Staffordshire. I know where Leek is. I used to play


MAY 2013

rugby there. I know it’s a good place to go and buy freshly calved cows and heifers. I know the Irish Dairy Board has a cheese packing plant there. Down among the small print – very, very, small print – it says ‘from award-winning creameries around the world’. You have to be a very fastidious shopper to actually spot that. Irish cheese imports into this country are up 12% this year. Apparently, the cheese in our fridge is favoured by pilgrims, pilgrims with Irish accents, but it doesn’t say that anywhere. I have to tell you the following story with care. I have to make sure I put the right perspective on it. Everyone, the Governor of the Bank of England, the Prime Minister, the Chancellor of the Exchequer (especially he), search in vain for the sight of the green shoots of recovery which would prove their economic policy is on the right track. I know all three of them read Dairy Farmer so I need to tread carefully. So here we go. We are thinking of changing a tractor. Very quickly I try to put this in to perspective. The tractor we are thinking of changing is 26 years old. The one we are thinking of buying is 13 years old. We’ve sold one tractor for quite good money which was of an age which made it collectable. We’d already sold the mixer

**DF May p54 55 Good Evans _Layout 1 25/04/2013 12:27 Page 2


My mind is made up, just screw another grand out of the salesman and we’ll have it

wagon, which is where the 26-year-old had spent its recent life. We’ve got quite a tidy main tractor, so our big tractor problem is the number two tractor which carries the straw chopper. The straw chopper is difficult to put on and off and we have to use it twice-a-day, every day. The hydraulics have to be working well to drive the straw chopper so the 26-year-old won’t do it and you wouldn’t be able to keep the front wheels on the ground anyway. In addition, its tyres are so bald if you drove it in the snow even an Apache tracker couldn’t tell which direction you had gone. So I come back onto the yard late one afternoon with a load of silage on the very old tractor and there, on the yard, sits the 13-year-old for us to try. The difference between the two tractors is like chalk and cheese. For a start the ‘new’ has all the bits the other tractor needs like lights, wipers and heater. So I walk all around it, give the tyres a kick for good measure, and then I get on it. I start it up. It’s only done 5000 hours and, compared with what I’ve just been driving, it is like new. I work out how you

change gear and I just drive it in a circle around the yard. Perfect. My mind is made up, just screw another grand out of the salesman and we’ll have it. I go to get off but can’t open the door. Try the other and it’s the same. The latches won’t budge on either. Time for some serious thought. Some 50 yards away, round a couple of corners, my son and grandson are milking and they could easily let me out. I decide fairly quickly whatever options I come up with this will be the last one. This is the sort of clear thinking which sets me aside from lesser dairy farmers. Stephen who works with us is on holiday and I know he used to drive one of these tractors with a previous employer. I phone him. He tells me he is sitting on a settee drinking cider, and I tell him I’m sitting on a Renault and can’t get off. He can’t advise anything and before I can bat an eyelid I get four texts from other people offering advice. All to no avail. Eventually I give in and phone my son and he lets me out, with an eloquent roll of his eyes. When I go to the pub that night they all know about it. Turns out there’s a knack to it, just like life itself really!

MAY 2013



**DF May p56 Finance _Layout 1 26/04/2013 12:20 Page 1


New rules will in future restrict income tax relief previously available for such things as business losses and loan interest payments. Sam Kirkham of Taunton-based Albert Goodman reports.

Further clamp down on tax relief Even the most successful farming business has a trading loss from time to time

he latest guidance on the new income tax relief limit was issued on 28 March. The new rules took effect from April 6 but the legislation is still draft and subject to further amendment. Before April 6, where an individual had a loan used to invest in their business they could receive unlimited tax relief for the interest paid on the loan. Where they made a trading loss they could offset this against other income in the same or preceding tax year to receive immediate tax relief. There is already legislation in place


Expert opinion rWhile the new rules are aimed at high earners, they will hit those in businesses with modest earnings, leading to them being taxed on more than they actually receive and resulting in cash flow difficulties for many.



MAY 2013

to restrict loss relief where the business is not being conducted on a commercial basis or where there is a non-active individual. However, the new rules are set to restrict relief further. From April 6 the above reliefs, among others, are restricted to an amount which is the greater of £50k or 25% of total income. For example, David’s total income in 2013-14 is £100k. He makes a loss on his farm of £70k in 2013-14 and claims the loss against his other income. His relief limit is £50k, as this is the greater of £50k and 25% of his total income (£25k). Relief is given in 2013-14 for £50k and the balance (£20k) is carried forward to future years. Where an individual has more than one relief to utilise they will need to prioritise the reliefs to claim. For example, John has total income in 2013-14 of £100k so his relief limit is also £50k. He has a combination of payments and losses he wants to claim relief for as follows: ■ Qualifying loan interest £10k ■ Property losses £5k ■ Farming losses £70k He applies the reliefs in

2013-14 as follows: ■ Qualifying loan interest £10k ■ Property losses £5k ■ Farming losses £35k. He chooses to prioritise the loan interest relief first as he cannot use this relief in another year. His farming losses carry forward to use against income in future years from the same trade. Even the most successful farming business has a trading loss from time to time. However, these new rules will mean, at a time where cash flow is crucial, serious restrictions will be placed upon it by the delay of tax relief. The first accounting period to be affected is the first one ending after April 5, 2013. Therefore there is a small window of opportunity to plan for the new rules. Planning could include introducing a new partner to the business or transferring the business to a company. Where a business consists of multiple activities, planning will be need to identify whether these all form part of the same trade. If so, it will allow the profits and losses from the individual activities to offset each other before the limit is applied.

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Boehringer WP DF_Boehringer WP DF 26/04/2013 09:36 Page 1

With the dairy industry reviewing the use of some antimicrobials in food producing animals, it is likely that the antimicrobial landscape is about to change. You may therefore want to reconsider your routine intramammary treatment for clinical mastitis. Ubrolexin® provides equivalent cure rates (using fewer tubes)1 than the 2nd most commonly used intramammary tube,2 a tube that contains cefquinome, one of the antibiotics under review. 3 Ubrolexin® can get you where you want to be. Without compromise. Talk to your vet.

S T E P T H I S WAY. References: 1. Bradley A.J & Green M.J Journal Dairy Science 2009, 92:1941–1953. 2. GFK data, 2012. 3. Vecqueray R. Proceedings of NEDPA, March 7th 2012. Advice on the use of Ubrolexin or other therapies should be sought from your veterinary surgeon. This adver tisement is brought to you by Boehringer Ingelheim, makers of Ubrolexin. Ubrolexin contains cefalexin monohydrate and kanamycin monosulphate. UK: POM-V. Fur ther information available from Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Bracknell, Berkshire, RG12 8YS, UK. Email: vetmedica. Date of preparation: Mar 2013. AHD 7548. Withdraw milk from supply for human consumption for 120 hours after the last Ubrolexin treatment. Use Medicines Responsibly (


Dairy Farmer Digital Edition May 2013  

Dairy Farmer Digital Edition May 2013

Dairy Farmer Digital Edition May 2013  

Dairy Farmer Digital Edition May 2013