Missouri Dairy Business Update

Volume 14, Number 4
April 2014

MU Southwest Center Grazing Dairy - April Update

SW Center Parlor
By Dr. Stacey Hamilton, University of Missouri Extension

It seems spring continues to struggle to overcome the cold. Because of these weather conditions the fescue trial did not start until April 14 on one variety and April 21 on the other. We were fortunate the cereal rye continued to produce throughout and we managed to feed 10-12 pounds of grain per cow/day with the cereal rye with milk production at 64 pounds per cow. We have split the herd and 44 cows are grazing GT213, a soft leaf tall fescue while the remaining 44 cows are grazing BarOptima, another variety of novel endophyte tall fescue. Both groups are being fed 9-10 pounds of grain with their remaining intake from pasture. Forage yields are being monitored weekly as well as daily milk production yields. It is obviously too early to make any conclusions but we will continue to update as we progress through the trial.

On April 28 we timed inseminated all 88 cows using the ShowMe and CIDR Co-Synch protocols. The ShowMe Synch protocol requires 35 days from start to timed breeding while the CIDR Co-Synch requires only 10 days. Last year we had equal success with both programs over 60% pregnant to their respective synchronization protocols. We are continuing to evaluate these programs to verify the 10 day program continues to be as successful.

The April DHIA herd test indicates the SWC dairy average income over feed cost (IOFC) was $11.76 per cow/day including cost of grain and pasture. As we progress through the season I hope to continue to post the results of this useful tool provided by PC DART.

The University of Missouri Animal Science department has provided for the past three years an on-line course that covers various areas related to dairy and more specific to pasture-based dairy systems. This year 18 students were enrolled and engaged with agronomy, animal science, agricultural business, engineers and veterinarians in the university system to learn more about dairy and pasture based systems. Several of these students were also enrolled in a laboratory that allows hands on experience for the students. Students during their spring break traveled to southwest Missouri and spent time at the SW Center as well as several grazing dairies in the area. Again these students were exposed to experiences from university faculty and more importantly with dairy producers. Students assisted in synchronization of dairy cows, allocating correct pasture areas, developing calibration equations for measurement of pasture and many other management tools that grazing producers may utilize on their operation. These continue to be successful courses that we hope to expand to non-traditional students as well as offer other times beside the spring semester.