Avoid getting up during the night this calving season; here’s how…
The spring-calving season can be a hectic time of the year on farms; so many farmers will try every trick in the book to reduce the workload.
One way of reducing the workload – particularly at night time – is to practice night-time feeding, to reduce the number of cows calving at night.
Research from Teagasc Moorepark has shown that restricting silage feeding time during the day resulted in less night calvings, compared to allowing cows full daily access.
According to Teagasc, this practice reduced the number of cows calving between 12:00am and 6:00am from 25% down to 10-15%.
To do this, cows must be locked away from feed during the day. Lockable headgates, where available, can be used to keep cows back from silage and opened at the designated time in the evening.
If this practice is being adopted, it should ideally be carried out for two to three weeks before calving begins.
It is also important to note, that this practice is only really suitable where adequate feeding space is provided – for all cows. That is, at least, 0.6m/cow feeding space.
Other ways of reducing the workload
Many farmers will practice once-a-day (OAD) milking for the month of February. This will free up time to complete other tasks.
OAD milking has been shown to reduce the labour requirement, while only having a minimal impact on annual milk production.Also Read: 6 easy ways of reducing the workload in spring 2020
Using contractors more is another way of reducing the workload in the spring. Contractors can be used for spreading fertiliser, for spreading slurry (for example, using an umbilical system) and even for feeding silage.
Having a good relationship with your local contractor will mean he/she can be easily called on, when needed.