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.
Every picture tells a story and every treasured object has a memory — this is the message behind a call to find Shepparton memorabilia for display.
Police investigating a break and enter at a Mulwala club more than 10 years ago are renewing their appeal for public assistance by releasing an image of a person they believe has information to assist them.
Tatura’s Victory Hall is set for a big year as preparations get under way to celebrate the hall’s 90th birthday in September.
Former district resident and award-winning television producer Joanna Werner will no doubt be shopping for a glitzy gown ahead of the Emmy Awards in New York on February 20.
Rochester Secondary College school captains Dom Atley and Tim Poole have been accepted to study biomedical science in the first step towards becoming doctors.
Will it be Merrigum or Lancaster?
Fire destroys key public buildings in Seymour
Finley Henry Matheson was bestowed one of the highest Australia Day honours.
Heathcote Hostel residents were treated to a visit from Heathcote’s favourite horse, Sub Zero, as part of Australia Day celebrations.
Recent weather conditions have come as a mixed blessing for farmers, with high rainfall and humidity providing a respite for irrigators as well as difficult growing and picking conditions for fruit growers.
Darren McLoughlin only started playing croquet seven years ago.
From orchards to harvest to shelves, a new exhibition will celebrate the Goulburn Valley’s iconic fruit industry. The Photos of the Fruit Industry exhibition will run as part of the SheppARTon Festival in March and aims to share memories and history of an industry that has shaped the region.
Former Benalla footballer Tom Rockliff has been named captain of the Brisbane Lions Football Club.
Discover unbelievable local deals from local businesses every week in the Goulburn and Murray Valley area with Leapon.com.au!
Search properties for sale or rent across North Central Victoria and Southern NSW. Visit your local website for local homes....
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.