Calving Pattern- The Most Important Decision on Your Farm?

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1 Calving Pattern- The Most Important Decision on Your Farm? October 24th 2017 Joe Patton, Teagasc Dairy KT Dept.

2 Presentation Outline Background trends in calving & fertility Effects of altering calving pattern at the herd level Calving pattern guidelines for liquid milk contract herds Altering calving pattern to change manufacturing milk profile Summary and conclusions

3 Trends in Winter Milk Herds

4 Comparing Liquid and Manufacturing Farms by Processor Data Glanbia Aurivo LacPatrick Arrabawn Liquid Manu Liquid Manu Liquid Manu Liquid Manu Milk Solids Yield Protein % Calving Int yr. calving Herd EBI EBI 2016 bulls Liquid herds had higher annual milk volume + solids output per cow across processors Volume-driven as Fat + Protein content approx 0.12 to 0.15% lower in liquid herds May reflect more days in milk per lactation as well as higher yield per lactation day Mean 415kg milk solids per cow is below benchmark target for spring herds Longer calving interval reflects a less structured calving pattern Recycling cows between seasons, protracted spring calving patterns Traditionally less emphasis on fertility traits in breeding programme Manufacturing herds with poor fertility often mislabelled as winter milk

5 Positive Trends in Milk and Fertility Performance Glanbia Liquid Herds Milk Solids Fat% Pro% Calving Interval months AI bred Heifers Aurivo Liquid Herds Milk Solids Fat% Pro% Calving Interval months AI bred Heifers

6 Developments in ROI calving pattern 2013 to ,000 additional cows 95% extra cows calving Jan to April Effect on winter supply? Static/slight decline in Autumn calving October up Sep, Nov, Dec down Summer calving very small % nationally Higher % on liquid herds Over 100% of extra dairy heifers are Feb born Implications for autumn heifer supply Factors Increasing spring herd scale Heifer synchrony EBI New entrants Winter herds conversion/adjustment

7 Effects of Altering Calving Pattern

8 Calving Pattern: a key decision for liquid milk farms Concentrate Input Forage Budget Milk Profile Labour Input Profit Young Stock Infrastructure Costs Calving Pattern must not become a consequence of poor herd fertility

9 Feed cost per month of calving relative to February (100%) as reference month Days at grass during peak lactation Pasture quality v nutrient demand for milk production Pasture availability v total DM intake capacity Concentrate cost to balance diet Change to feed budget cost is the most significant calving pattern effect Effect is 1.9 to 2.2cpl annualised for the situations shown- unavoidable cost Spread calving patterns often cause further feeding inefficiencies

10 Month Litres Nov-Feb Apr 1680 Jun 2245 Aug 2780 Oct 3155 Oct/Nov calving cows Similar feed costs to summer calving cows Higher milk output in winter period Lower overall cost to supply fixed contracts Late spring calvers tend to have high peak and low persistency Poor synchrony between feed quality and milk yield potential Late autumn calving may suit higher yielding cows better Implications for annual milk supply totals and supply pattern

11 Labour Technical Efficiency- Effects of Calving Pattern Increase rate of technical and work efficiency by: Streamlining the number of critical decisions & tasks Reducing the complexity of those decisions & tasks

12 Other Effects of Calving Pattern: Producer Opinion Calving Period Advantages Overall costs Use of autumn grass Calves out younger age Easy manage dry cows Disadvantages Feb Apr May Aug Fill winter contracts without autumn calving Sep-Nov Calf rearing costs Calving outside High yield per cow in winter Second Peak on grass Strong calves Busy period Low value calves Low solids in summer Over-conditioned dry cows Summer mastitis Low fertility May to August calving cows do not fit into optimal calving patterns

13 Calving Pattern Guidelines for Liquid Herds

14 Calving Pattern Measures Start Split Optimal Pattern Spread Slippage

15 Targets for Optimum Calving Pattern Guideline Targets Comment Start Spring: Late Jan - early Feb Autumn: Mid-Sep to Mid-Oct - varies slightly with contract Spring start date relatively fixed Higher liquid milk % herds start earlier in Autumn Split Depends on milk contracts Calculate per farm Meet target volumes in winter Maximize calving in hi-margin months Spread Calving >75 % in 6 weeks 50% in first 3 weeks <5% May to Aug inclusive Max cows calving close to optimal day Heifers synchronized 24 month calving Reduced risk of slippage Slippage <385 day calving interval <10% recycled cows Cull empties Reduce milk losses per cow Culling risk High EBI heifers coming through

16 Calving Pattern Guidelines for a liquid contracted herd Monthly calving for different liquid milk contracts Calving Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Autumn % 25% Liquid Contract 50% To meet winter contracts additional to liquid litres: 70% An extra 8-10 October calving cows are needed for every 5000 litres per month of winter contract volumes (Oct to Mar ) Maximise milk revenue over feed Meet contract volumes per month Spring calving centred on February Block pattern to reduce late calving Genetics plus feeding correct No recycling to autumn Autumn calving centred on October > 50% commence earlier in Sept Block pattern to maximise milk output Minimize recycled cows Viability of calving very small numbers to meet contracts should be questioned Total bonus revenue v additional cost

17 Altering Calving Pattern to Change Manufacturing Milk Profile?

18 Altering Calving Pattern to Change Manufacturing Milk Profile Post quota- expansion of peak milk output in April to June Implications for industry peak processing capacity Winter volumes & quality/processability Create incentive to change calving pattern?? May suit some farms already in the system Extra cash flow in winter Make use of late calvers Flatten the curve by calving some cows out of season Fresh milk at high lactose content, low SCC

19 Comparing Spring, Autumn and 50:50 Split Calving- Johnstown Herd Spring Split Autumn Milk kg per cow Milk Solids kg Conc. kg per cow Spring Split Autumn Conc. Cost cpl Overheads /cow Labour/ cow High EBI cows High solids +2cpl above base Grass management similar Feed principles similar High grass utilisation per ha targeted

20 Scaled Up- Seasonality Effects at Peak 500 Herd Milk Pool Example Calving Pattern Description Peak Volume per herd Daily Litres total Plant Capacity t/hr Product peak mths % of Annual Total Spring Split Autumn 100% Feb-Apr 50% Feb-Apr 50% Sep-Nov 100% Sep-Dec ,399,000 1,230,000 1,074, % -5.4% Changing calving pattern moved 2.8 and 5.4% of product from peak

21 Seasonality Effect in Winter- 500 Herd Milk Pool Example Calving Pattern Spring Split Autumn 100% Feb-Apr 50% Feb-Apr 50% Sep-Nov 100% Sep-Dec Oct-Feb % Dec-Jan % ,580 21,641 Description Winter Volume per herd 500 herds Equivalent Oct-Feb tonnes Changing calving pattern moves 2x to 3x milk into winter months

22 Comparing Spring, Autumn and 50:50 Split Calving Systems Spring Split Autumn Milk kg per cow Milk Solids kg Conc. kg per cow Conc. Cost cpl Margin diff per cow (after labour) Base cpl Spring Ref Split Autumn Off-season systems reduced margin per cow before bonus Full cost of labour included Larger drop in relative margin at lower milk prices Small effect at peak supply, large increase in winter litres Profile shift must add enough net value to offset farm costs Otherwise winter bonus subsidising lower margin systems

23 Summary and Conclusions Fertility and milk solids beginning to move in liquid milk herds 100% of new cows in Feb-Apr Feed budget cost is the key factor in optimal calving month Across a range of scenarios Feb is lowest, Aug highest cost Summer calving = high feed cost but lower winter yield Spread calving increases labour and complexity on-farm Target high 6-week calving rates Match calving split to contract- 25% in Autumn for 50% contract Peak and winter supply are separate but related issues Clarity needed on cost-benefit of price schemes for non-liquid winter milk

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