Currently two generations of the Drummond family run the successful and progressive Bratlach Farm, situated just outside Bangor, County Down. John with his sons Andrew and Peter manage the predominantly Ayrshire herd which currently consists of 231 milking cows, on a land base of approximately 141 hectares. The herd is split in two running 111 high yielding cows through two Lely robots, and the remaining 120 low yielding batch is milked through the parlour.
High yielding cows - through the robots - are currently averaging 32.5 litres (144 days in milk) with 2.8 visits to the robot. With current weather and grass quality, cows have access to grazing between 7am and 4pm and to a TMR containing first cut silage and a customised blend, which is high in starch, and contains protected fat, Rumitech365 and Availa 4 minerals. Cows are fed to yield through the robots with a low protein compound nut specifically designed to be fed via robots. Cows are built up gradually in the robots to maximise dry matter intakes from forage and reduce the incidence of sub-acute ruminal acidosis (SARA). The use of glycerol is currently used in early lactating cows to help reduce ketosis and help maintain body condition score, and fertility.
Low yielding cows are currently averaging 22 litres (240 days in milk) and are currently out to grass full time as of this week. They are fed through the parlour on a HGM summer compound nut 18% protein at a rate that is determined by grass quality as the season progresses and will be tweaked as necessary.
Overall milk quality from both batches is currently running at 4.20 butterfat, 3.28 protein and a somatic cell count of 140 with a concentrate per litre off 0.30 kg being fed.
Moving forward the aim will be to improve milk from forage while continuing to improve performance. To find out how you can apply these principles to your herd contact your local representative or Thompsons on; 028 9035 1321
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