Our feeding policy

 

The feeding policy at the Mooimelk Cow Hotel is aimed at utilizing fodder produced on the irrigation farm near Cookhouse. The strategy is to feed 60% roughage and only 40% concentrates in a total mixed ration (TMR). The norm in most parts of the world is to feed for maximum milk production, thus feeding 60% concentrates and only 40% roughage.

This more conservative feeding strategy improves cow health and reduces the risk of acidosis and displaced abomasums in the cows. The following guidelines are followed to monitor results and norms set by a specialist feeding consultant who makes recommendations for the herd.

  1. The TMR ration should be balanced so it consists of 17% protein and 69% TDN – note that is the only food the cows get.

  2. Dry matter (DM) intake per cow must be at least 1kg DM for every liter of milk production – measured over the total mature cow herd.

  3. The milk urea nitrogen (MUN) levels in the milk of the cows should be between 12 and 18 parts per million (PPM)

  4. The condition score of the cows in milk must be between 2 and 3.

  5. Cows at drying off stage must have condition scores of 3 or more.

Feed Sources

Own produced fodder is the secret to economical milk production. The following fodder is owner produced or bought from neighboring farms within tractor drive distance (20km) from the dairy

  1. Lucerne hay: (1st grade) – baled at 15% moisture included at 10% of the TMR ration on a DM basis – 18% protein.

  2. Lucerne green chop – baled wet on the same day as it was cut – 70% moisture Included as 10% of the TMR ration. 26% protein – high in vitamins.

  3. Maize silage – chopped in the soft dough stage when the pips are starting to dry – 63% – 68% moisture. Maize silage is included at 20% of the TMR on a DM basis. 8% protein / 65% TDN

  4. Oat hay – cut when the seed is in the dough stage and the plant is still green – allowed to dry properly and baled as hay – included at 10% of the TMR ration – 7% protein – high in fiber.

  5. Maize grain is bought from farms in the Klipfontein area and milled through a hammer mill using a 6mm screen – included at 25% of the TMR ration. 8% protein – 82% TDN

  6. HPC – high protein concentrate – included at 5% of the TMR mainly to balance the protein and minerals as well as trace elements in the ration. 47% protein.

  7. Whole cotton seed is included at 4% of the TMR – mainly as a protein source – mostly imported from Zimbabwe. 26% protein – when available.

  8. Soya oil cake – high protein source included at 3% of the TMR ration – 38% protein – when available.

  9. Brewers grain – a by product of the beer brewing industry – included at 6% of the TMR ration. High in energy and protein. 22% protein.

  10. Citrus pulp – also a by product from the orange juice process – high in easy digestible sugars – 5% inclusion in TMR ration – 6% protein.

Method of allocation and feeding the cows

Koeie word in groepe van 250 gehou wat beteken dat elke koei 80 m² het om vrylik in te beweeg, met ‘n betonpaadjie waar 750-mm voerspasie per koei voorsien is, Faktore wat in aanmerking geneem word wanneer koeie gegroepeer en gevoer word, is die volgende:

  1. Milk production per individual cow – measured every week with Waikato milk meters – cows producing more than 25 liters in one group. Fed high production ration!

  2. Cows with production between 15 and 25 liters per cow per day in another group. Fed less concentrates than the high production cows.

  3. Low production cows –late in lactation – under 15 liters per cow – fed a maintenance ration only.

  4. Fresh cows – 3 to 50 days in lactation – in process of being cleaned ip and prepared for AI. Fed the high production ration.

  5. First lactation heifers – no matter what the production – grouped together so that the older cows won’t bully the younger cows. Fed the high production ration.

  6. High SST (Somatic Cell Count) cows are kept separate.

  7. These cows’ milk is used for feeding the calves under 3 months – fed a maintenance ration only.

  8. A Mixer wagon (RMH vertical) is used to mix all the ingredients and cutting the roughage into 30mm to 50mm pieces.

  9. Regular feedings of 3 to 4 feedings per day to the high production groups ensure that the cows eat “Bietjie, bietjie – kort, kort…” Fresh food stimulates intake and eventually milk production.

  10. The big advantage of TMR feeding in a group, is to allow cows with a better appetite and need for more food, to eat more and to produce more.

  11. TMR feeding also spreads the concentrates throughout the day, so cows don’t eat too much concentrates at once – reducing stomach disorders.

 

 

     
 

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