Background information Home Farm

Published 4 April 13

Home Farm, Sundridge Hill, Sevenoaks, Kent. Host farmers, William and Carolyn Westacott along with herdsman, Richard Evans will introduce visitors to their 170 cow autumn calving herd managed on a 340ha mixed unit, and which is currently on target to average 10,000 litres and calve over a 20 week period. At turn out, they will be ensuring diet intakes fed in the mid to final stages of lactation are as controlled as possible as during housing, by measuring and monitoring grass growth and balancing high protein grazed grass with energy from supplementary maize silage fed post milking, through to the end of June.

The regime enabled herd savings of £82/day during the first month of turnout in 2012.

This year, as of 4 April, grass growth is insufficient for turn out and cows remain indoors.

Grazing season Mar/Apr 2012

144 cows; grazing platform 30ha comprising 12 paddocks. Herd turned out on 26 Mar to 4.5kg DM/cow/daytime grazing, rising steadily in line to 7.5kg DM/cow/daytime grazing. See Table 1.

 

1: Mar/Apr grass growth and DM availability

 

Average covers

(kg DM/ha)

Daily growth rates

(kg DM/ha)

Allocated grass

(kg DM/ha)

21 Mar

1707

22

4.5

29 Mar

2062

50

6

5 Apr

2272

65

7

11 Apr

2260

43

7

19 Apr

2345

41

7.5

25 Apr

2517

64

Aim to increase to 11

Source: Sunridge Hill

 

During the first 31 days from turn out, average yield per cow fell by 2 litres/day. However reduced forage - grass silage, plus concentrate led to herd savings of an average £82 per day. See table 2. The data does not account for savings to labour and bedding.

 

2: Turn out impact on performance

 

Cow/day

Herd/day

Conserved forage savings (£)

0.61

87.84

Concentrate (straights) savings

0.54

77.76

Total savings

1.15

165.60

Milk loss

0.58

83.52

Financial benefit

0.57

82.08

Source: Sunridge Hill