Improving health and performance on Welsh dairy farm

Getting the most production from grass is the focus
of Welsh dairy farmer Alun Thomas, who is producing an average of 8,500 litres milk from a simple silage and home mix system at Upper Pendre farm in Llangorse.

Alun has a herd of 200 autumn-calving Holstein Friesians and works hard on the management of his herd to ensure they stay healthy and in turn get the most efficiency from forage. Alun’s milk is supplied to First Milk and quality is good, with performance in the top bands for butterfats and protein.

Alun’s grass silage and wheat basic ration is naturally high in energy and sugar, which has presented him with a challenge - acid loading from the feed lowers pH in the rumen and needs to be balanced to avoid ruminal acidosis.

“We have used yeast in the diet for quite some time to address this,” explained Alun, “it’s a preventative measure as we know we would have problems with acidosis if we didn’t add the yeast to the diet.”

On the advice of his nutritional specialist, John Parker from Select Nutrition, Alun is using Actisaf yeast supplement added to TendaHoofTM FX, which is fed to the herd to help manage lameness.

“John has done a good job helping us to get the right supplements into the ration,” Alun explains, “and we have seen improvements to lameness and have had a reduction in cases of mastitis.”

His milking cows are fed a flat rate of wheat and silage, and then supplemented through the parlour with a compound feed. A mix of home-grown rolled wheat, soya and the TendaHoofTM FX are fed via out of parlour feeders.

Alun has seen an improvement to herd health through better digestion and increased feed intakes. “The addition of the yeast to the TendaHoofTM FX means good rumen health in our cows and better feed utilisation. The yeast is certainly something we will keep in our ration,” concluded Alun.

Alun has recently won the Welsh Grassland Society forage competition and is now in the final of the UK competition.

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