We have all had to deal with milk quality issues onfarm at some stage in our farming careers — whether it be a freezing point grade or high bulk somatics on the first pick-up or perhaps an antibiotic scare during the season.
It's past mid-September and as calving draws to a close it is time to ensure mating plans are in place.
Thinking back over the last 15 seasons or so, the average dairy herd in New Zealand had a targeted empty rate about the 4% mark. Today, 4% seems unachievable.
Commonly I hear farmers say, "Why bother with low cell count when there are no financial incentives from my dairy company to maintain a low bulk somatic cell count?"
Given the tough financial situation, it is time for dairy farmers to rely more on pasture production and to plan how to get more milk from fewer cows.