Missouri Dairy Business Update
MU Southwest Center Grazing Dairy - February Update
By Dr. Stacey Hamilton, University of Missouri Extension
The University of Missouri Southwest Center Dairy has started to freshen cows and begin a new season. Cows and heifers were due to freshen on February 5 and 7 respectively.
In the graph below you can see we were well over 50% in milk by this time and were beginning to ship milk for the first time this year before the official start of calving. The cows and heifers that have calved to this point were bred last year using two different timed breeding protocols which were equally successful. Calving has went well with no calves lost due to weather.
As you can see in the graph calving has slowed a bit but will start to pick up again toward the end of February when the “repeat” breedings begin. The dairy should be done calving by March 15. As with most of Missouri we have had cold winter with snowfall and have not been able to graze any of the winter annuals. Cows are currently being fed a corn silage/alfalfa balage mix in the bunks with appropriate grain in the dairy barn. Cows are just beginning to milk with production around 48 pounds at 12 days in milk at last check.
We will be starting a new grazing trial around April first where the herd will be split and cows grazing two different novel endophyte tall fescues. At certain points of the year, cows will be fed no grain to determine effectiveness of grain feeding with high quality forages. This should be an interesting trial and we will keep you posted as we move throughout the year by providing information on forage yield, milk production and results of zero grain feeding.