Growing and consuming grass at the MDF.
At the MDF, milk per cow is above target, but cow numbers are a little behind this time last year, so stocking rate is a little lower. These lower numbers haven’t stopped the grass consumption/hectare being on target at 51 kg DM/ha/day, with grass/cow over 13 kg DM.
Grass growth, and its consumption, is, after all, by far the most important driver of farm profit. People who plate meter grass (as reported on Twitter, for example) sometimes claim growth of 100 plus kg DM/ha/day.
So how fast can grass grow? The MDF has seen grass grow at 100 kg/day, during a very hot January some years ago, on a subsurface-drip paddock. It was thick PRG only, growing its third leaf after grazing (third leaves grow the fastest), after a previous grazing residue of 7 cm, with very high nutrient supply (a huge amount of effluent, loaded with N, P, and K, applied), and perfect soil moisture (water available in the root zone, and dusty soil on the surface, so minimum water logging). It would be difficult to achieve an average of 100 kg growth for a whole period between grazings.
Growth is one thing, but grass consumption (what the cows harvest) is the cruncher. Grass must be eaten to produce milk and profit. Could 80 kg consumption/ha/day be achieved? Yearly grass consumption at the MDF is stuck on 13.5 t DM/ha. Averaged over the year, this is 37 kg/day. We have typically calculated grass consumption at 10 to 20 in winter, 50 to 65 in spring, 40 to 55 in summer, and 25 to 40 in autumn. All the feed margins in the Weekly Times show enough information to calculate the consumption rate for the different farms each week.
What would even another 10 kg/day be worth? It would be 266 tonne (10 X 365 days X 73 ha / 1000) of cow food. If all converted to milk, the extra money would approach $300,000.
|FEED MARGIN PERFORMANCE||MDF TEN DAYS AGO||MDF THIS TEN DAYS||Units|
|Ten days to date:||10-Oct-20||20-Oct-20|
|Milker graze area||63||68||Ha|
|Average graze rest time||31||30||Days|
|Estm’d pasture consmp’n||52||51||kg DM/ha/day|
|Pasture consum’d per cow||12.9||13.2||kg DM/cow/day|
|Pasture growing spend||$2.28||$3.18||$/ha/day|
|Estm’d pasture price||$44||$63||$/T DM|
|Conc (incl additives)supp fed/cow||5.4||5.9||kg DM/cow/day|
|Conc (incl additives)supp avg price||$353||$353||$/T DM|
|Hay/silage supp fed/cow||0.0||0.0||kg DM/cow/day|
|Hay/silage supp price||$/T DM|
|Feed Conversion Efficiency||117||114||kg MS/tonne DM|
|Total feed intake/cow||18.2||18.9||kg DM/cow/day|
|NDF Fibre in diet||33.2%||33.7%||% NDF|
|Milk Solids per cow||2.14||2.18||kg/cow/day|
|Milk price (less levies)/kg MS||$5.71||$5.74||$/kg MS|
|Milk price (less levies)/litre||$0.42||$0.41||$ per litre|
|All feed cost/cow||$2.47||$2.90||$/cow/day|
|Margin over all Feed/cow||$9.74||$9.64||$/cow/day|
|MOAF /ha /day||$39.43||$36.85||$/ha/day|
|Farm MOAF per DAY||$2,484||$2,506||$/day|