Cork Farmers Unlock the Potential of their Holstein Friesian Cows Using Eornagold Moist Feed


Posted on Category: Beef

Cork Farmers Unlock the Potential of their Holstein Friesian Cows Using Eornagold, a Co Product Animal Feed, from Specialist Nutrition

Tom Buttimer and his son Alan are farming in Knockvale Farm, Lyre, Clonakilty, Co. Cork. To fill their winter contract with their local Co-Op they are milking a split calving herd of 110 high yielding Holstein Friesian cows. Over the last number of years, the challenge for the Buttimers has been to make the most of their farm output from a limited grazing platform. Due to their high stocking rates, the Buttimers need to buffer feed at certain times throughout the grazing season. Alan explains ‘with the type of cow we have here and the limited grazing area, our focus is to keep the diet right for these cows to reach their potential. We need to achieve this in a way that allows us to cost effectively get more milk from the same number of cows.’

In late 2015, Tom and Alan started to work with Pat Coakley from Specialist Nutrition to help unlock their cow’s potential. In particular Eornagold was introduced into their cow’s diet and by doing so increased the milk output coming from their farm. With the same cow numbers, they have been able to increase their average yield from 2015 to 2016 by nearly 20%, while maintaining milk solid levels. ‘By focusing on the herds overall nutrition throughout the season we have really seen a response’ says Alan.

UNLOCKING ANIMAL POTENTIAL

The Buttimers needed to ensure that they could sustainability increase milk volumes, while maintaining their cow numbers. Working with Pat Coakley from Specialist Nutrition they recognised there was an opportunity to finetune their feeding programme in order to get more from their existing herd. With this in mind, in the autumn of 2015 they began to use a combination of Eornagold, maize silage, treated grain and soya, while altering the mix depending on grass growth rates to ensure sufficient daily dry matter intake levels. As a result of this in 2016, the cows were on average producing 9,217kgs of milk, giving 645kg of milk solids per cow. This represented a 1,700kgs increase of milk from the 2015 figure and a 17% increase in milk solids.

Eornagold, a co product from the alcohol industry, is used as a buffer feed at certain times of the year to balance the cows protein. Pat Coakley from Specialist Nutrition explained ‘Eornagold is high in protein, with 28% crude protein, and is also a good source of energy. It has the added advantage of being a very palatable feed which binds well with other ingredients in a TMR mix, resulting in reduced sorting at the feed face.’

‘We find that when we start feeding Eornagold it increases the cow’s intake and they respond with more output’ Alan added. The Buttimers introduce Eornagold at the shoulders of the year and the winter months when they are buffer feeding at high levels. Pat explained further ‘Eornagold included at these key times of the year increases the energy density of the diet to maintain yield and build condition for stale cows. While the fresh calvers in the autumn have improved intake levels needed for a productive early lactation period.’

UNLOCKING LAND POTENTIAL

One of the key challenges facing the Buttimers in their ambition to unlock their farm potential was the limited grazing platform available to them. While they have a total land base of 172 acres, much of this land is inaccessible for dairy cows due to roads and a river close by. With a high stocking rate of 2.4 cows per acre on their grazing platform, Tom and Alan had to seek out alternative feeding solutions in order to optimise their grassland management approach.

Keen not to overgraze their available grassland, particularly in the wet winter period, the Buttimers worked with Specialist Nutrition to introduce Eornagold into their buffer feed at key times of the year. Alan explained “Grazing land is a limited but important resource for us. We’re very careful not to poach land during wet spells especially at the shoulders of the grazing season, as this would affect grass regrowth. Introducing Eornagold at key times of the year has allowed us to carefully manage our grassland”.

UNLOCKING FARMER POTENTIAL

In order for Tom and Alan to reach their true farm potential and increase their profitability, they needed to unlock the full potential that existed within their cows and land. With the advice they received from Specialist Nutrition, along with introducing Eornagold into their animal’s diet, they’ve been able to achieve this. While pitting Eornagold has given them peace of mind in knowing that they have a reliable source of feed. All while driving their farm profits in a sustainable way.

Alan concluded “Working with Specialist Nutrition and using Eornagold has meant we’ve been able to make progress and we’re getting closer to reaching the full potential of our farm. This feels like a job well done”.

Specialist Nutrition offers a wide range of Moist Feeds, co products from the alcohol industry, and animal feed solutions for both dairy cows and beef cattle.

To speak to Specialist Nutrition for further product information or for a consultation call Conor Quinlan on 086 106 4198 or email info@specialistnutrition.ie .

 

AUTUMN BUFFER FEED AT 13kg DM Intake

Maize silage                25kg

Eornagold                   5kg

Dairy 16% nut            2kg

Treated Grain              1.2kg

Soya                            1.0kg

Straw, Wheat              0.5kg

Yeast and minerals      0.25kg

 

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