Summer Production: The importance of targets and monitoring
The MDF focused on milking fewer cows this year, while maintaining pasture consumption and milk production. We are now milking 292 cows in the main herd, and producing 1.70 kg MS/cow. Our aim was 300 cows at 1.92 kg MS/cow.
The grass consumption was set for 48 kg DM per hectare per day but is tracking at 41 kg, while we are feeding 400 g/day less concentrate than anticipated.
The main reason for not meeting the targets is grass consumption. Why?
- The herd is grazing to the 6cm residual, so it appears grazing pressure and stocking rate is not the issue
- Paddock 17 is about to be grazed, at 33 days rested. It was checked carefully, and looks to have grown at the calculated farm average (41 kg DM per ha per day).
- The soil moisture is now a little low, after the good rain of 10 and 7 days ago.
- The grass looks a bit yellow and urine patches are very noticeable, although we are applying fairly heavy N (1.5 Kg element/ha/day).
- Possibly the rain caused waterlogging, which slowed growth for a few days, and wasted some of the N. The paddock has spinner cuts, which probably need a clean out.
A pasture target of 48 kg was set as an achievable expectation- considering the capital investment in irrigation land and layout, the capital cost of water, the on-going cost of water, and the work involved in irrigation. Considering only the current cash costs of growing the grass (water, fert, renovation, topping), the grass is getting a bit pricy ($166 per tonne). Although we have fallen slightly below target, we don’t have a figure for realistic average grass growth per MID farm in January- this would help us assess our figures.
Grass consumption per hectare is clearly one of the most important drivers of profit on a Victorian dairy farm. If the MDF was consuming the 48 kg target, the cows would be producing the milk per cow target. Maybe it is simply too hard to get all the facets of pasture management perfect all the time? We may be seeing very small deviations from “perfect management” add up to a noticeable difference.
|FEED MARGIN PERFORMANCE||TEN DAYS AGO||THIS TEN DAYS||Units|
|Ten days to date:||21-Jan-20||31-Jan-20|
|Milker graze area||73||71||Ha|
|Average graze rest time||33||33||Days|
|Estm’d pasture consmp’n||42||41||kg DM/ha/day|
|Pasture consum’d per cow||10.7||10.1||kg DM/cow/day|
|Pasture growing spend||$6.88||$6.88||$/ha/day|
|Estm’d pasture price||$162||$166||$/T DM|
|Conc (incl additives)supp fed/cow||6.8||6.8||kg DM/cow/day|
|Conc (incl additives)supp avg price||$483||$483||$/T DM|
|Hay/silage supp fed/cow||0.0||0.0||kg DM/cow/day|
|Hay/silage supp price||$/T DM|
|Feed Conversion Efficiency||101||101||kg MS/tonne DM|
|Total feed intake/cow||17.2||16.7||kg DM/cow/day|
|NDF Fibre in diet||31.7%||30.8%||% NDF|
|Milk Solids per cow||1.76||1.70||kg/cow/day|
|Milk price (less levies)/kg MS||$7.01||$6.97||$/kg MS|
|Milk price (less levies)/litre||$0.52||$0.53||$ per litre|
|All feed cost/cow||$4.99||$4.95||$/cow/day|
|Margin over all Feed/cow||$7.38||$6.89||$/cow/day|
|MOAF /ha /day||$29.30||$28.14||$/ha/day|
|Farm MOAF per DAY||$2,139||$1,998||$/day|
The MDF Team