Plan-do-check-act: improve your feed management using data
In the results analysis of the dairy farm, dairy farmer Rudie Lammers and his vet point out something striking: the average daily production of the heifers is lower than that of the older cows. They have an idea as to what lies behind this, but want to confirm this with reliable data. They put it to the test.
Together with his parents, Rudie Lammers runs a dairy farm in Eibergen, The Netherlands with 140 dairy cows. Rudie is the type of dairy farmer who likes to have everything just right and strives for improvement. In doing so, he uses the data available at his farm and his observations from the pen.
For example, the data analysis showed that the heifers had an average daily production of 43kg, while the older cows had an average of 45. This is striking because, given the genetic potential, the heifers should score higher. In addition to the slightly lower production of the heifers, the milk persistence of all cows also appeared to be insufficient, as they fell quite considerably in production. “I had an idea why that was,” says Rudie. “When I fed the cows roughage with the feed doser wagon in the morning, it got very busy at the feed fence. We only have feeding space at the feed fence for 80% of the cows. The dominant, older cows displace the heifers in order to be the first to pick out the tastiest roughage. The heifers have to do with the leftovers.”
Feed management adjusted
The feed mixer wagon trial proved successful and, based on the initial results, Rudie purchased a one. After three months, the effect on feeding, lying and ruminating times as demonstrated immediately by the SmartTags, also translated into increased milk production. The heifers now achieve the same or slightly above the average daily production of the older cows. The average milk production of all cows increased by 10% to 9,900 litres/cow with 4.3% fat and 3.7% protein. “Normally, you have to wait much longer for the effect of a management change. Thanks to the SmartTags, I saw the difference in behaviour immediately. Based on this data, I can respond more quickly, make decisions sooner and implement them at our farm. That gives me a good handle on things,” the dairy farmer concludes enthusiastically.
Do you also want to be in control of your dairy farm and see the effect of changes in your (feed) management in well-arranged dashboards? Then find your Nedap CowControl distributor or feel free to contact us.Find your distributor ›