December 2020 Monthly Management

Feeding Concentrates Before Calving; Soil Fertility & Testing; Milk Quality Finalists 2020; TBC Management After a Winter Layoff

21 December 2020

Feeding Concentrates Before Calving


Feeding a dry cow compound nut with pre-calver mineral included in the lead up to calving helps condition the rumen for higher levels of concentrates after calving while also providing a smooth transition into the lactation phase. It also assists in getting good amounts of pre- calver mineral into the cow in the vital days before calving. In this transitional period before calving, a cow’s feed intake is reduced, and she may not get her full allocation of minerals from top dressing on silage. This can be addressed by feeding a complete dry cow nut, ensuring that each cow gets her full requirement when fed.

Through selection of top specification raw materials and addition of appropriate supplements the Drinagh 18% Dry Cow Nut works to support the cow through this critical stage in production.

The protein content of the nut is over 18%, derived from a high inclusion of soya, providing a high level of digestible un-degradable protein, proven to support production of quality colostrum for the benefit of your future herd. The higher level of protein in this feed also helps milk composition and cow health in early lactation. A high inclusion of maize acts as the major energy source in the diet. The starch content of the maize will act as a gut conditioner improving the cow’s ability to consume concentrate in early lactation as well as providing energy for calving and helping to maintain cow condition.

The Drinagh 18% Dry Cow Nut aims to provide the best nutritional platform in the dry period in a complete and convenient fashion - fully balanced at a 1.5kg/day feeding rate. Available in bulk and mini bulk. Contact the Drinagh Score Feeds Mill for more information.

Soil Fertility & Testing

Soil testing is a reliable guide to assessing and monitoring soil nutrient levels. A standard soil test will give an indication of the soil fertility status through levels of phosphorous (P), potassium (K) and soil pH (lime requirement).

soil sampling

To achieve optimum grass yields, soil nutrients need to be at correct levels to meet requirements. In simple terms, soil fertility is much like a barrel of water – each nutrient in the soil forms part of the structure but the limiting nutrient in the soil will determine the yield of the crop.

law of minimum barrel analogy

When carrying out a soil test, some precautions must be considered:

  • Allow 3 months after chemical P, K and slurry applications to take a sample.
  • Do not test at least 2 years after a lime application to get an accurate pH reading.
  • Take a minimum of 15-20 points working in a ‘W’ across the field, 10cm deep will give a good sample.
  • If you wish to apply or if your farm is already in a derogation, the maximum area for a soil sample is 5 hectares and soil organic matter must be accounted for also.

Following a review of your soil analysis results, a specific fertilizer plan for your farm can be drawn up. Contact Tim, Darren or Ciara for further information on soil testing and sampling procedures.

Milk Quality Finalists 2020

Carbery Milk Quality & Sustainability Awards Congratulations

Sustainability Award Winner
Tim O’Mahony Cooladreen, Leap

Sustainability Award Winner Tim O’Mahony Cooladreen, Leap

Drinagh Finalist
William Kingston, Tooreen, Skibbereen

Drinagh Finalist William Kingston, Tooreen, Skibbereen

Drinagh Finalist
Anthony O’Shea, Gories, Bantry

Drinagh Finalist Anthony O’Shea, Gories, Bantry

TBC Management After a Winter Layoff

For spring calving herds, TBC issues can arise in the first collections following a winter layoff. To avoid this problem, it is reccommended and especially important now in chlorine-free (CF) washing to carry out a weekly hot wash on both the milking machine and bulk tank using your usual CF detergent. By doing this, good hygiene is maintained and bacterial growth is greatly inhibited over these weeks.

TBC Management

Other inportant measures to be carried out at this time of year include:

  • Checking correct water temperature and volume
  • Automatic washing systems and bulk tanks should be calibrated to ensure the correct amount of detergent and water are used.
  • Storage of detergents - products should be stored as directed on the label (ideally off the ground and protected from frost). Some detergents can crystalize if they are exposed to extreme temperatures or stored for too long. This can reduce cleaning effectiveness and may also block pumps. Most chlorine-free liquid detergents have a higher caustic soda content (sodium hydroxide) so proper storage and handling must be considered as we enter a chlorine- free environment from January 2021 onwards.