Meeting to tackle feeding high yielding herds

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Tailoring the diet of a high yielding cow to maximise both health and productivity will be the focus on the next meeting of the Strategic Dairy Farm based in Lanarkshire on 4 December.

Karen Lowe, AHDB Dairy Knowledge Exchange Manager, explains: “Our host farmer William Baillie is already doing a really good job in terms of managing his herd for high yields so at this point it is all about making those marginal gains which can have a big impact on the bottom line.

“At the meeting William will discuss how he currently achieves his high yields of 11,400 litres annually, as well as describing the insights he gets from regularly blood testing to metabolic profile his herd, which highlights focus areas. He will also share the changes he is making which he hopes will get him up to 12,000 litres.”

Independent dairy nutritionist Hugh Kerr has reviewed the feed management at Hillhead of Covington and he will present on how William’s farm, and others, can maximise health, efficiency and productivity.

He says: “What we will really be focusing on is cow eating behaviour and efficiency of digestion. The three key areas to consider are input, what the animal is consuming, throughput, how efficiently that moves through the system, and output, what milk yield and quality is achieved.

“On the day we will also discuss the suggestions I have made to adjust the diet at Hillhead now that the farm’s forage stocks are more secure, as well as observing the new dry cow house.”

Strategic dairy farms help farmers learn from each other through regular on-farm meetings where we will share key performance data and showcase what the top performing farmers are doing.

They form part of the Optimal Dairy Systems programme which aims to help dairy farmers lower costs and increase efficiency by focusing on either a block or all year round calving system.

The Strategic Dairy Farm meeting will begin at 10.45am at the Tinto Hotel, 44 Biggar Road, Symington, Nr Biggar, Lanarkshire, ML12 6FT with a visit to the farm (Hillhead of Covington) following lunch. The meeting will close at 2.30pm.

Farmers who wish to attend the meeting can book their place by contacting the AHDB KE Events Hub on 01904 771216 or