Bucking the trend on milk production

By Jonathan Hill

One of my Yorkshire clients is definitely bucking the trend on milk production this winter. Whilst many farmers are suggesting that cows are not milking as well as they did last winter Roger & Tom Hildreth’s cows are producing three litres a cow more than last year and with a lower feed use. 

A spot check showed the cows are averaging 40 litres a day sold, at a feed rate (which includes dry cow feed) of 0.29 kg/l, this gives a feed cost of 6.22p per litre. There has also been an improvement in milk quality, especially butterfat, in comparison to last year.

I had extensive discussions with my client last winter in order to meet the probable future requirements of their milk buyer to improve the carbon footprint of the herd’s production. We made the decision to stop feeding soya which was replaced with urea and rape meal. This winter these straights are fed as a balance diet with forage of 50:50 grass and maize silage. Supplementary feeding with a buying group cake is through out of parlour feeders.

Together we monitor technical improvement using Milkminder, our performance management tool. It’s great to see the advice I’ve been giving delivering such positive improvements. Ultimately it is down to my client’s attention to detail in all aspects of the business from genetics to forage quality that makes the biggest difference and also shows there is a lot that can be done to improve farm emissions without sacrificing performance or increasing costs.