NMR sponsored study shows 1,000kg of milk solids per cow is a realistic target for UK cows
One thousand kg of milk solids per cow per year is an obtainable goal for some dairy farmers as they face the challenges of price volatility and continuing environmental pressure, according to a new report from Kite Consulting supported by NMR.
The report Efficiently Achieving 1000kg – Maximising Milk Solids for Sustainable Dairy Production, highlights the findings of a study looking at herds consistently close to, or already achieving, 1000kg of milk solids/cow/year. The report identifies important management and genetic factors that could be adopted by other UK dairy farmers.
“The farms in the study were not operating to unobtainable standards due to high levels of investment or business structure,” said Rose Jackson from Kite Consulting, who co-authored the report with Maimie French from Kite Consulting. “They were all efficient, well-run units where the right kind of investment had been made for the long-term sustainability of the herd.
“The report shows that genetics were found to be responsible for up to 50% of the cow’s milk solids performance. This is a significant percentage, particularly when considering the relatively low investment required to improve herd genetics,” she added.
“In addition, all farms in this report are far exceeding their genetic prediction for total solids production, with the average ranging from 890kg to 1060kg of combined fat and protein per cow per year. This highlights the impact of controlling the cow’s environment and nutritional factors.
“Focussing on total solids offers benefits to meeting the market need, but importantly it also contributes to improving the carbon footprint of dairy,” said Ben Bartlett, NMR sales & marketing director.
“While the report is not intended to provide a blueprint for every British dairy farmer, as there are plenty of other equally valid herd management strategies, there are some common themes relevant to all producers.
“The British dairy industry will doubtless continue to face challenges in terms of price volatility, input costs and environmental pressures, but evidence provided by the farms in this study demonstrates the positive outcomes that can be achieved through careful planning, focussed on market needs, and backed up by well-informed decisions based on robust cow data. This report demonstrates what can be done when clear planning is combined with the use of the right herd improvement tools,” he concluded.
Click here to download the report