As this current season draws to a close it is worth reviewing the herd performance to examine improvements that can be made for next season (in the scenario of falling milk prices and increasing feed costs)
To aid in reviewing your herd performance the following measurements are achievable:
- Clinical cases of Milk Fever less than 2.25% of the herd, each case costs $335
- Clinical Ketosis less than 2.5% of the herd, each case costs $320
- Clinical mastitis less than 5 % during first 30 days, $200/case
- RFM (Retained Foetal Membranes) less than 5%, each case costs $312
- LDA (Left Displaced Abomasum) less than 0.5%, each case costs $640
If your herd did not achieve these targets last season there is room for improvement.
- Individual milk production should peak around 42 days into lactation, every litre at peak equates to 200 – 230 litres per lactation, eg a cow peaking at 30 litres will produce 6000 litres for a 300 day lactation.
- Graph the herd milk components, if protein test is higher than the fat test during a 10 day period this can indicate either a lack of fibre in the diet, or an episode of acidosis, perhaps both. This commonly occurs on lush spring pastures.
- Body condition loss should be minimised, preferably less than 1 BCS from calving to joining
- 100 day in calf rate target of 58%, if less than 45% seek advice
- 200 day NIC (Not in Calf)rate 13%, if more than 19% seek advice
- 6 week target in calf rate of around 70%
Mid & Late Lactation
- Milk production decline per month should be less than 7% per month after peak, although a lesser decline is preferable and achievable.
- Dry cows off at BSC5
10 day milk production targets are an easy tool to monitor actual production against target production. Monitoring regularly provides an opportunity to rectify a drop in production, whereas a monthly monitoring program is harder to rectify when things go awry.
I have presented a lot of targets here in this short article, should you require some assistance in analysing your herd performance or setting production targets, please contact one of our nutritionists to discuss any feeding strategies that may help you achieve your goals.