Maximising autumn production
Macalister Demonstration Farm Update 538 (19th March 2021)
It’s autumn and it is the best time of the year to grow plenty of high quality, highly palatable grass. Evaporative pressure on the plant is waning, only 3-4 mm per day compared to days of above 10 mm during summer, so there are longer periods between the waterlogging effect of each flood irrigation, and cooler, damper weather.
All this allows high growth rate, but also the plant cell contents (protein and energy) to be high compared to the cell wall, so lower fibre and higher energy grass.
These effects combine to produce high quality grass which can be utilised by the cow extremely well, combined with a favourable milk price. The end result is to have the opportunity to produce a lot of milk at a good margin.
It is possible to be offering wrist-height (3,100 kg DM/ha, 21 cm high) lush, leafy ryegrass in the vegetative stage, with consistent height from fence to fence, to efficient cows, and to be able to graze down to a consistent 6 cm (1,600 kg DM/ha).
Harvesting 1,500 kg DM per ha, after 30 days rest, is a consumption rate of 50 kg DM/ha /day. With a stocking rate of 4.5 cows per ha, each cow would get 11 kg DM grass. Throw in 6 kg of grain, to get the NDF down to 32%, (no need for any costly, wasteful, and lower quality silage), and the cows would produce 23 litres. At 55 cents per litre of milk (current MDF price) the feed margin would be a very profitable $9.50 per cow or $43 per ha. Mostly driven by autumn grass growing possibilities.
How do your numbers stack up?
|FEED MARGIN PERFORMANCE||MDF TEN DAYS AGO||MDF THIS TEN DAYS||ANOTHER MID FARM||Units|
|Ten days to date:||28-Feb-21||10-Mar-21||10-Mar-21|
|Milker graze area||63||61||66||Ha|
|Average graze rest time||31||31||30||Days|
|Estm’d pasture consmp’n||36||35||27||kg DM/ha/day|
|Pasture consum’d per cow||7.9||7.6||9.1||kg DM/cow/day|
|Pasture growing spend||$6.19||$6.19||$6.13||$/ha/day|
|Estm’d pasture price||$172||$176||$229||$/T DM|
|Conc (incl additives)supp fed/cow||6.5||6.8||5.4||kg DM/cow/day|
|Conc (incl additives)supp avg price||$393||$393||$422||$/T DM|
|Hay/silage supp fed/cow||2.2||2.3||1.1||kg DM/cow/day|
|Hay/silage supp price||$267||$267||$294||$/T DM|
|Feed Conversion Efficiency||102||103||103||kg MS/tonne DM|
|Total feed intake/cow||16.0||16.2||15.8||kg DM/cow/day|
|NDF Fibre in diet||31.6%||31.2%||31.1%||% NDF|
|Milk Solids per cow||1.69||1.72||1.66||kg/cow/day|
|Milk price (less levies)/kg MS||$6.23||$6.62||$6.64||$/kg MS|
|Milk price (less levies)/litre||$0.51||$0.56||$0.51||$ per litre|
|All feed cost/cow||$4.49||$4.63||$4.75||$/cow/day|
|Margin over all Feed/cow||$6.04||$6.75||$6.26||$/cow/day|
|MOAF /ha /day||$27.63||$31.20||$18.51||$/ha/day|
|Farm MOAF per DAY||$1,741||$1,903||$1,222||$/day|