It's the little things that make a big difference, as identified by one of our TRAC employees from a recent trip to the US.
At home, we do a great job of working on cow health, comfort and overall wellbeing, but the benefits can be hard to see when there are so many variables and set backs such as rain washouts of loafing areas, laneways and limited options with calving areas that can see spikes in disease and illness that can often cause us to lose focus.
Looking at an American system, where they have miles of rubber lined concrete, a red carpet for cows entering their automated, rubber lined dairy to be milked and return to their fresh TMR, where it all seems like it would run perfect, there is a big difference in milk production between those farms. What it comes down to is the attention to detail of cow illness and cow management that is the difference between kg's of solids and longevity of cows between those farms.
Major focus is placed on identifying mastitis early, stripping every day and pulling out suspect cows and drovers keeping a close eye on lameness scores, checking the order cows walk in and analysing cow comfort.
Every local manager will agree that this is their focus too, but where we might be slipping is in making sure that it is our employees priority too. Have we gone through, in detail, step by step the importance these diseases have on production? For example, are all employees
Checking for cows with a lameness score 3+?
Picking up on cows that are further back in the mob than usual
There is clean, fresh water available in their paddock
The cows are walking at a calm pace, selecting where they place their feet
Calves are protected from severe weather and comfortable
Checking the BMCC daily and stripping cows regularly
All the small things that impact a cows health and well-being will be impacting her ability to produce milk, demonstrate heats, eat and drink - and ultimately be an efficient production animal.
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