Safe, quality milk from healthy animals – if you say it quickly it can sound easy. But we all know it’s not. Getting all the complex elements of a dairy operation running in sync is hard.
Success comes down to getting cows off to a good start, and ensuring their milk output reaches its full potential – here’s what you need to do.
Rubbish in, rubbish out – inadequate feed, nutrients, minerals or water supply can all limit milk production. That’s why it is so important your cows get the right mix. In particular, ensuring they have good levels of vitamin E, selenium and anionic salts will have a significant impact on their health.
Vitamin E and selenium help your cows cope with environmental stress, injury and disease, and help maintain their immune system.
The correct levels of anionic salts are important because they eliminate the effects of clinical and sub-clinical milk fever and ketosis.
A big part of keeping your cows healthy is prevention, so learn which are the ones most likely to go down with something and keep an eye on them. By detecting and correcting issues like mastitis, milk fever and facial eczema sooner, you’ll save money and keep that herd healthy and high-yielding. And that means more milk in the tank and higher premiums.
Frequency of milking
To increase milk production you have to milk more frequently – milking twice a day yields up to 40% more milk than just once a day. It’s important to always milk cows at regular intervals as several days of incomplete milking can reduce the yield for the entire lactation period.
Repeated milking during early lactation may increase yield during that period and boost it later in the cycle as well.
If you think your cows could be producing more, you may want to try a dry cow programme. Research has shown dry period nutrition and management can benefit postpartum health and performance. As part of the programme, it’s important to maintain dry matter intake at 13–14kg a day and avoid overfeeding protein.
Effective management is critical to the health and performance of your cows. The right feed, good health monitoring and an optimum milking frequency will help keep them disease-free and ensure their milk output reaches its full potential.