Home' Otago Southland Farmer : March 8th 2013 Contents 8.3.13 Farmer
Experts share cow nutrition ideas
Talking time: Lincoln University senior lecturer in livestock health and production Jim Gibbs, left,
DairyNZ principal scientist John Roche and Synlait contract researcher Terry Hughes answer farmers
questions about cow nutrition at a DairyNZ seminar.
Dairy farmers had their questions on cow nutrition answered by three experts at a seminar in Winton, Diane Bishop reports.
If there is one thing you take
home today, it's that feeding
straw to lactating cows is a
waste of time and money.
Feeding straw to lactating dairy
cows is a waste of time and
That's according to Lincoln
University senior lecturer in
livestock health and production
Jim Gibbs who said straw was a
poor substitute for grass and
could result in lost production.
''If you add straw to a pasture-
based diet production won't go up.
''It usually goes down or stays the
same,'' Mr Gibbs said.
Trials at Lincoln University had
shown that milk production
dropped by 3.5 percent and
resulted in a financial loss of
$75,000 in a herd that was
supplemented with straw, he said.
Mr Gibbs and two other dairy
specialists, DairyNZ principal
scientist John Roche and Synlait
contract researcher Terry
Hughes, were on hand to answer
farmers' questions on the hot
topic of cow nutrition at a
seminar hosted recently by
DairyNZ in Winton.
The seminars were being held
nationwide at the request of
farmers who wanted more infor-
mation on cow feeding.
All agreed that straw was low in
metabolisable energy (ME) and it
could stay in a cow's system for up
to three days resulting in restrict-
ed energy intake.
''If there is one thing you take
home today, it's that feeding straw
to lactating cows is a waste of time
and money,'' Mr Gibbs said.
However, as a bulk feed straw did
have an important role to play as
a supplement during winter and
at drying off.
Mr Roche said cows grazed for 11
to 11.5 hours a day, the main
restriction being daylight hours.
The rest of the time was spent
sleeping, relaxing or being milked
so it was important they had
access to quality pasture.
When asked if farmers should be
targeting one kilogram of milk
solids per kg of cow liveweight,
the answer was only if it could be
done profitably and with the
strategic use of supplements.
Mr Hughes said it was easier to
achieve one for one with smaller-
framed cows which were better
grass harvesters because of their
muzzle width relative to body size.
''You're less likely to achieve this
target with bigger-framed cows.''
The question to mow or not to
mow pasture ahead of cows was
DairyNZ principal scientist John
Roche said while dry matter
content would increase, the
quality of feed would be lower.
He believed mowing should be
used as a strategic tool to manage
Farmers also asked if molasses
was a useful feed source.
Mr Roche said while it was great
for getting cows into the shed, it
was a sugar that was easily
digested and too much of it could
The value of rumensin was also
raised. Mr Gibbs said it would not
produce a strong milk solids
response and there were better
products to deal with bloat.
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Big boost for Waitoa
By DIANE BISHOP
Fonterra will pour more than $100 million into a
new long-life milk processing plant at its Waitoa
site in the Waikato.
Chief executive Theo Spierings said the new plant
would enable the co-operative to meet growing
demand for ultra heat treated (UHT) products in
''The new plant will enable us to increase our UHT
production by 100 per cent over the next few
years,'' he said.
The plant will include five new UHT lines that will
produce a range of products including UHT white
milk and UHT cream for the foodservice sector.
Products from the new plant will be bound for
Asian markets and that will allow us to
concentrate all our domestic UHT production --
including Fonterra Milk for Schools -- at Takanini
Mr Spierings said that together with the
construction opportunities and the creation of an
additional 50 jobs, the development would provide
new opportunities for Fonterra farmers in the
Detective tops event
By DIANE BISHOP
Police Ten 7 host Graham Bell will be the guest
speaker at the PGG Wrightson national seminar
series in Balclutha and Invercargill next month.
One of this country's most experienced and
successful detectives, Bell will be master of
ceremonies at the events and also provide the
keynote speech in which he will deliver his set of
guidelines on dealing with people, communication
skills and personal interactions.
This is the third year PGG Wrightson is hosting
the seminars and this year's theme is: Leading
Thinking in Agriculture.
The seminars will be held at the South Otago
Town & Country Club in Balclutha on Tuesday,
April 23 and at the Invercargill Workingmen's
Club on Wednesday, April 24, from 1pm both days.
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