Increasing numbers of milk producers are turning to colostrum replacements.


The growing threat of Johne’s Disease is encouraging significant numbers of dairy farmers to offer bespoke colostrum replacements to newborn calves. A case in point is Katesbridge milk producer John McGaffin, who farms with his father Hubert. The pair milk 125, mainly autumn calving cows, a mix of Holstein and Ayrshires. The herd is currently … Read more

New Insights on the Immunological Benefits of Probiotics for Calves

By: Dr T.B Barragry PhD MSc MVB MRCVS Probiotic Actions Very significant advances have been made in clarifying the scientific mechanism of action of probiotics with respect to their interactions with the gut microbiome and on the development of immunity in the gut barrier itself. These interesting new probiotic mechanisms are largely threefold: The Gut … Read more

Cut your meal bill by 2kg per head per day

With litres from forage on dairy farms in Northern Ireland ranging from 2260 to 4550 (Agrisearch), better forage utilisation is one of the biggest efficiency gains available.

Genetic production alignment, grazing management and better quality silage are the main factors influencing litres from forage. One method of improving forage utilisation is the use of an EU approved silage inoculant such as Provita Advance+. On farm mini-silo tests have shown yield improvements from 0.75 to 2.5 litres per cow per day. At 1 litre per cow per day this would require and extra 2kg of meal to achieve this. Another way of taking advantage of this improvement is, with silage starting quality being equal, cut the level of meal fed by 2kg per day or 300kg per winter and maintain yield at the same level.

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Mini silo tests prove conclusive on Co Armagh dairy farm

Co Armagh milk producer Dean Wright believes in having his silage operation made as scientific a process as possible.

“This approach gives me the best chance of having the greatest amount of control over what is a very complex process. Cutting date, weather and a host of other factors come into play when it comes to determining the quality of the silage that comes out of the pit come feeding time.”

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Help available to deal with difficult silage making conditions

Farmers and contractors across Northern Ireland are confirming that the return to changeable weather conditions has brought first cut silage making to a halt. But it’s not all bad news, as the rain will help bulk out those crops on which fertiliser was spread quite late in the season.

The break in harvesting will also allow farmers and contractors to get slurry out on fields that were cut earlier in May.

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Gettin more liters from forage

Data from the Agrisearch “Grassland performance and its relationship with profitability on 10 Northern Ireland dairy farms” shows milk from forage ranges from 2260 ltr to 4550.

Two of the farms with this highest margin were managed very differently but also very efficiently, one yielding 6000 litres on 1 t of meal and the other yielding 8700 litres on 2.3 t of meal. Both achieved approximately 3500 litres from forage. This should be a realistic aim for dairy farmers in Northern Ireland.

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Making better silage leads to faster finishing on Tyrone beef farm

Alastair Doran runs a combined broiler and beef finishing farm on the outskirts of Castlecaufield in South Co Tyrone. The focus of the beef business is the purchase of high quality suckler weanlings – both steers and heifers – which are finished through to beef over a 15-month period.

“I normally finish 200 cattle out of the house from January through until, the end of April,” Alastair explained.

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