Newtownstewart milk producer Trevor Wilson believes firmly in the principle that investing in the best facilities and breeding stock are crucial in order to generate the maximum amount of payback for the business. Moreover, this approach extends to all aspects of managing his farm.
Two years ago, he completed a state-of the art development
on a green field site which saw him put in place a 120-place cubicle
house, milking robot, calving area, silos and slurry tank to meet the
complete management needs of 70 Montbeliarde cows plus followers.
Twenty-four months later, his herd is averaging 10,500L at 4.2% butterfat and 3.5% protein. Moreover, he is achieving a calving of interval of 370 days with most of his cows inseminated with sexed semen.
“There were a few teething problems with the robot,” he said.
“But once the cows settled down, the technology worked on a more than satisfactory basis.
The milking group, which normally constitutes around 55 cows, receive a TMR comprising grass silage, whole crop and 5 kilos of a bespoke blend manufactured by his local merchant – M Beattie & Son.
“These cows also receive up to 11 kilos of United Feeds’ Cream Maker nuts from the robot.
Trevor specified the Cream Maker option because of the ration’s high quality and proven performance.
“The proof of the pudding is in the eating. There was a relatively short period of time when the Cream Maker nuts weren’t available to the cows. The difference in the level of performance achieved from another ration was akin to day and night,” he said.
“The Cream Maker nut also helps to keep flesh on the cows. This, in turn, helps boost fertility levels.”
United Feeds’ Stephen Hamilton was a recent visitor to the Wilson farm. He was accompanied by Jason Beattie, from M Beattie & Son who operate as a merchant for United Feeds in the area.
“Research and development work, specifically undertaken by United Feeds, has confirmed the nutritional steps that can be taken to increase milk butterfat levels. This resulted in the development of the Cream Maker feed range. The results of this work have been further endorsed by the myriad case studies undertaken on commercial dairy farms the length and breadth of Northern Ireland.” Stephen confirmed.
“The reality is that Cream Maker is now a proven technology, which will act to improve the margins generated on local dairy farms.”
Included in the Cream Maker formulation alongside balanced levels of digestible fibre is a quality protected fat specifically proven to promote milk fat production. In addition, this makes feeding concentrate diets at high levels a more than feasible option.
“Research has shown that feeding protected fats can act to increase the size of the cow’s corpus luteum, which in turns leads to a higher fertilisation rate.” Stephen explained.
“Improving milk quality is a fundamental driver for every dairy farming business and significantly, Cream Maker will not impact on individual cow yields or milk protein levels.” said Stephen.
Other attributes of the Cream Maker range of rations is Amaferm (the only feed additive registered as a digestion enhancer in the EU) and United Feeds HerdCare mineral pack.
“Given the payment systems now in place from all the milk processers in Northern Ireland, it makes perfect sense that farmers push for a feeding system that can boost milk constituents, while not compromising on cow yields.
“It is in this context that Cream Maker is making a real and positive difference on dairy farms.”