PSU Herd IOFC –August 2012
Posted: September 14, 2012
There were numerous forage source changes in August. Forage inventory concerns continue to be an ongoing theme. Researchers were moving forward with many projects, which provide some interesting texture to maintain the same forage source from start to finish. Add in the hot weather and dealing with the usual challenges of dairying and there is never a dull moment.
One of the big transitions this month was going from the bunk BMR corn silage to our last source, an upright of conventional corn silage. One research project needed to finish their trial with the BMR so the upright was opened early so cows would get a 50/50 mix of bunk and upright silage. This reduced usage of BMR allowed the researcher to finish the project with enough corn silage.
An unexpected development was the degree of settling in the upright silo. We had estimated 350 tons of corn silage and it appeared we only had 280 tons. This put a huge dent in having enough silage to get us through the middle of September. I became a major pest to our Farm Operation folks to get the early corn in as soon as possible so a bag could ferment for at least two weeks before opening. My concern was moisture content and proper particle length to put in the bag. They chopped a sample for me and I checked dry matter and particle length. The length was long enough for the 35% dry matter silage. We got 200 tons bagged.
The first priority every Monday is to meet with the assistant managers to review what is happening with the animals and people. It was mentioned that there were several indigestion problems with the cows, scattered throughout the herd. It was observed that the manure had an off odor and some cows were loose. The one significant change that occurred over the weekend was finishing the one bag of grass silage and moving into another. However, the big difference was the dry matter percent, going from 32% to 60%. The assistant manager had told the weekend feeder that there was a major difference in the silages and the ration would need adjusted. That message must have fell on deaf ears because no adjustment was made. The herd diet was changed immediately on Monday. All grass silage was removed, the fine corn grain was changed to 50/50 fine/cracked, the alfalfa haylage and grass hay were increased, and cottonseed hulls added to maintain the fiber level. Once that change was made the indigestion problems disappeared.
August and September are always unusual months for us as we have a huge number of recently fresh cows and an equal number of late lactation animals. We have had a lot of heifers freshen. This dynamic has kept the herd consistently at 78 pounds. Because we have a reduced number of animals receiving BST and a lot of animals getting it for the first time, we are not observing the typical 14 day cycle of production increases. The goal right now is to keep the fresh cows healthy and to allow them to transition easily into the milking herd.
For the month of August the herd averaged 78 pounds with a 3.62 % fat, 3.00 % protein, 242,000 SCC and 8.5 mg/dl MUN. Feed cost remained about the same as last month even with the canola and cookie meal increasing significantly in price. With the number of fresh animals in the herd overall dry matter intake is lower than what we typically observe.
|Month and Year||No Risk Mgt Gross Milk Price/cwt||W/ Risk Mgt Gross Milk Price/cwt||Milk income/cow||Feed cost/cow||IOFC||Average milk lbs||Low Benchmark||High benchmark|
- Nutrient Management Specialist