Tuesday, 01 September 2015 10:13

Feed efficiency service for dairy farmers

Written by 
DairyClub clients with GrainCorp Feeds Kim Johnstone. DairyClub clients with GrainCorp Feeds Kim Johnstone.

In a bid to help dairy farmers in tight times, GrainCorp Feeds is giving 150 clients nationwide free access to a feed forecasting, tracking and monitoring service.

The company is working with technical specialists DairyClub to provide additional on-farm assessment, monitoring and technical support alongside Tracker™. The online tool measures current milk production and shows how the farmer can use supplementary feed to achieve maximum return.

“We recognise that it is a challenging time for the dairy industry, so it’s important that we demonstrate the return our customers are getting on their investment into feed, rather than seeing it purely as a cost,” says GrainCorp Feeds general manager Daniel Calcinai.

“Our priority is on investing in tools and systems to support our customers, focusing on the return on their feed investment.”

Calcinai says to increase income from milk production, farmers have to feed strategically, which means the right feed at the right time. Tracker™ will enable farmers to identify areas where short, medium and long-term efficiency and production gains can be made.

“Rather than cutting out all supplementary feed or simply using the lowest cost option, it may be more beneficial to feed good quality feeds at certain periods during lactation.  This will help to maximise pasture utilisation, improve short-term milk flows and protect the future productivity of the herd while increasing overall profitability,” says Calcinai. 

Vaughan Parker and Paul Smith are 50/50-equity partner farmers in Whakamaru, who have taken up the free service.

The pair have a crossbred herd of 285 cows on their 105 ha system 3 farm.  They are currently producing 428kgs of milk solids per cow and hope the tool will help them increase that to 457 – 472kgs/cow.

“This service will give us the ability to unlock the true potential of our grass through strategically managing the use of supplements,” says Parker.

GrainCorp’s support package will be offered on a first come, first served basis. 

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