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Maintaining Milk Volume During Adverse Weather Conditions

Maintaining Milk Volume During Adverse Weather Conditions

Milk volume should decline at no greater than 2% per week or 10% per month. Volume declines of greater than this are an indication of poor energy nutrition. Once volume starts to decline it’s very hard to stop. This is especially true as we approach late lactation. After a production decline adding energy back into the diet is not guaranteed to give a volume increase. However, it will slow the drop back to a more natural rate.

Average milk volume supplied to Dairygold have declined by 5% between weeks 33 and 34. This compares to a 2% average for 2017 to 2019.

Lower grass dry matters coupled with cows standing with the backsides to the weather leads to a big drop in overall cow energy intakes. During these periods we need to ensure we are holding cow intakes.

ACT QUICKLY, A late lactation decline in volumes is very hard to correct. Up concentrate levels and consider some silage to hold intakes and preserve milk volumes.

To maintain energy intake:

1. Continue to utilise the best grassland management techniques. Maintaining quality grass in the diet for as long as possible guarantees your cows are getting access to the highest energy feedstuff

2. Be-wary of low dry matter grass. Wet grass has the potential to lower energy intakes by 30-50% on individual days.

3. Feed concentrates when and where appropriate. When grass is very wet up the concentrate feeding levels to compensate for the lower grass dry matter intake.