As many dairy farmers in northern Victoria were calving down, a group of 13 finished a short course on feed planning including transition feeding last week.LAURA GRIFFIN April 1, 2014 4:06am
As many dairy farmers in northern Victoria were calving down, a group of 13 finished a short course on feed planning including transition feeding last week.
Despite having different roles on farms of varying sizes, the students shared a passion for improving feeding systems as a way to improve cow health and increase milk production and profitability.
National Centre for Dairy Education industry trainer Sue Milne, who delivered the course with Jo Crosby at GOTAFE’s William Orr campus in Shepparton, said passionate discussions and thought-provoking questions had pushed the four-day course to be almost a day behind.
Mrs Milne said the course was a component of Certificate IV in Agriculture, but had been opened to other farmers following her discussions with many about feeding last year, particularly during the spring calving period.
She said farmers wanted to be able to feed the cows better, particularly when transitioning from dry to milking, and to better understand nutritionists and other consultants’ suggestions.
Sharyn Griffiths said although she mostly did book work on her and husband Steve’s Katunga farm, she wanted to understand the business better and be able to decipher what the consultant said about feed, which was an expensive input.
Anita Ligthart said the course would similarly help her support partner Wayne Stephens on the Strathmerton farm where they milk about 160 cows.
‘‘Wayne has been dairying his whole life, but this course will provide a new outlook on the feed practices and I’ll be able to help troubleshoot problems,’’ Ms Ligthart said.
An effective transition feeding program can reduce the risk of metabolic disorders, Ms Crosby told the group.
By gradually increasing the amount of grain given to in-calf cows to half the amount they would get in the dairy, their rumens can adapt to the milker diet.
To prepare cows for trouble-free calving and prevent milk fever and other metabolic disorders including ketosis and grass tetany, their diets need to have adequate nutrients.
Ms Crosby said on the day a cow calved, its calcium requirement doubled and if that was not met, milk fever resulted.
Because cows cannot get the full requirement of calcium from their diet at that point, their blood had to be slightly acidified to get the process of getting calcium reserves from the bones started, which is where the dietary cation-anion difference or DCAD came into play.
‘‘Farmers need to get their feeds tested to work out the DCAD of the cows’ whole diet,’’ she said.
One rule of thumb was to avoid any feeds with lots of the positively charged potassium, such as those treated with hay boosters.
Have you seen this person?
The Yarrawonga Pigeons A grade netball team has fallen agonisingly short of winning the 2015 Ovens and Murray Premiership against Wodonga after staging a great final quarter fightback.
There is a new police sergeant in Mooroopna and his name is Gerard Warrin.
EMERGENCY services worked to save an olive plantation as high winds whipped up flames at Torrumbarry this afternoon.
ROCHESTER Historical and Pioneer Society boasts one of the finest local history museums in country Victoria.
Bombers prepare for GVFL Grand Final
Hundreds flock to Avenel to learn a thing or three.
Tocumwal Lions Club has plans to purchase the Bowling Club site for an aged care facility, which will only happen if the merger between the Tocumwal bowls and golf clubs proceeds.
A NASTY run-in with a kangaroo on the Northern Hwy between Melbourne and Echuca has convinced one regular traveller on the road the question of a cull needs to be addressed.
Three Cobram teens have been arrested by police after they allegedly stole tractors from Cobram and Tocumwal and caused about $30 000 in damage.
Whether you fancy a flutter on the Caulfield Cup or the local cup, the Deniliquin racecourse is the place to be on Saturday, October 17.
The Australian Dairy Industry Council (ADIC) has acknowledged the completion of negotiations under the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), noting modest but important gains made for the Australian dairy industry in improving access to global markets.
The News magazines are online - read high quality magazines in your time. Check in regularly for the latest editions.
Riverine Herald's well regarded locally produced magazines. They're now online, so you can read them whenever and wherever you like.
Search for published and unpublished photos from McPherson Media Group newspapers and magazines. All our photos are available to purchase.
Place an advertisement in any one of McPherson Media Group's local newspapers.