Accelerating Change Performance Innovation Teams met in November and December. A significant amount of the discussion focused on the group's summer feeding strategies, characterised by limited water availability and high prices.
Kelvin Matthews and Don Stewart are already seeing the results from improved data collection on farm. The nutritive sampling Accelerating Change has been conducting has revealed that their lucerne pasture was of excellent quality, much higher than the PIT group expected (ME 10.7, CP 29.4%, NDF 36.6% and ME 11.5, CP 33.2% & NDF 34.2%). Working with their nutritionist Andre Nel from Ridley's, they worked out their cows were receiving an extra 30 ME per day than required, and body condition score was increasing over time. Armed with this information they have reduced their grain intake by 1kg in the dairy, saving approximately 27c per cow per day. Over 500 cows this is a significant saving. Body condition is now being maintained. The herd will be monitored over time to ensure this continues, particularly over periods of extreme heat.
On the Humphris Partner Farm, they are moving to a temporary partial mixed ration and drying off a large portion of their pasture for the summer period. This involves feeding the cows on a standoff area during the day and grazing them on perennial pasture overnight. The feed ration consists of a mixture of barley grain, shaftal and maize silage.
The Humphris PIT had a lengthy discussion around balancing nutrition requirements, particularly as the Humphris' typically utilise a pasture based system. Tim has used the Rumen8 program in conjunction with the pasture and silage nutritive samples Accelerating Change has been collecting to do an analysis of his herd's diet and is confident in the mix. You can have a go at the Rumen8 program to check your own ration by following the below link.