Walford update – January 2022

Sean Chubb covers the latest from LIC’s innovative Walford College monitor dairy farm including results from the first three weeks of mating and recommendations for the upcoming weeks.

Current situation

Walford College farm recently purchased 30 cows, increasing the number of milking cows to 228. This brings them to their targeted 250 cows for the 22/23 season, helping to increase the profitability of the farm. Through the transition from all-year-round to autumn block calving, the farm was understocked resulting in disproportionately high fixed costs on a PPL basis.

The results from the first 3 weeks of mating show that 93 cows are in-calf with a 53% conception rate. The number of inseminations per pregnancy is sitting at 1.3 for the season. This is a huge improvement from the prior years.

Inseminations per pregnancy

2017    2018    2019    2020    2021

2.95     2.14     2.24     1.66     1.3

The cows are currently producing an average of 23L per cow with fats and protein of 4.9% and 3.46% respectively. The farm is offering 5kgDM of grass, 5kg concentrates, 3kgDM of grass silage and 5kgDM of maize silage.

Walford College farm turned the cows out on 14 January. Since then, production has fluctuated which may be due to varying grass quality through the paddock and the use of silage bales.

Grass growth over winter has been higher than usual, with soil temperature only dipping below 5 degrees in mid-January. This has led to quality dropping in the paddocks with higher covers.

LIC's recommendations

  • Apply slurry to the autumn reseeds during the closed period and soil temperatures have risen back above 5 degrees for 6 consecutive days
  • As the cows move onto the milking platform, monitor the actual farm cover versus target to ensure that target covers at balance day are met
  • On the high cover paddocks, note any paddocks with poor residuals and graze them earlier in the second round to get the residuals down to 1500kgDM
  • With the cows moving out to grazing while mating is still underway, monitor their body condition scores and adjust rations accordingly
  • Graze the hybrid grass paddock with both the R2 and R1 heifers to enable the paddock to be grazed off in a reasonable timeframe.

Open days

13 April, 10.30am: We will cover a review of Walford College Farm’s mating performance, the grazing plan to reduce the impact of high fertiliser prices, and the long-term plan around growing and utilising maize.

26 October, 10.30am: the topics will include a review of the financial performance of the past financial year, a breeding plan for the year ahead, and some other topics yet to be confirmed.

This farm has moved from an all-year-round herd to an autumn block calving system, and turned its biggest weakness into one of its biggest strengths. Attend to see the eye-opening figures and learn how to set future KPIs and ask questions of the team.

RSVP to Sean Chubb catering requirements, as lunch is included.

Keep an eye on our Facebook page for more details nearer to each event. 

by Michelle Lamerton
International Marketing Coordinator
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