Supa-cream helps drive high quality milk

UFAC-UK's new product Supa-Cream is already making a big impact.

Supa-cream helps drive high quality milk

Efficient production from a top quality herd of cows are the goals for Tony Mitchell and his son Will, and UFAC-UK’s new product Supa-Cream is already making a big impact.

The Mitchells farm 400 acres at St Kew in North Cornwall. The farm had been primarily a dairy farm for many years, but in 2014 the family were forced to think long and hard about business direction when they lost over 60 cows in a 12 month period to TB.

“With Will coming back into the business we decided we wanted to stay in milk production,” Tony explains. “However we decided that rather than running a larger herd of average cows, we wanted a herd of the best possible cows producing milk as efficiently as possible. “Our target is 150 cows from high end cow families, producing high quality milk for our constituent based contract.”

Since 2014 they have brought in cows from the Cosmopolitan, Hana from the Dellia’s, Ghost, Rapture, Elegance and Rachel families. They purchased 12 cows from the Normead dispersal herd.

Embryo transfer is a key part of their strategy, working with Mark Knutsford from Celltech, and they recently purchased four embryos from the Bambi family from Cameron Baty’s Tynevalley herd.
They currently have 80 cows in milk but this will increase to around 120 by the end of 2019 as more heifers enter the all year round calving herd. The cows typically graze from late April to early September, but are buffer fed from early July as the farm is prone to drying out.

Focus on quality

They pay close attention to detail. They have fortnightly vet visits, a twice year professional foot trimming session and heath and performance are monitored using Sensetime.

A comprehensive vaccination programme is followed for Salmonella, IBR, BVD and leptospirosis. All calves are tag and tested for BVD.

Quality forage is the foundation of the system. They look to make 1200 tonnes of first cut and 450 tonnes of maize. First cut averages 11.2ME while maize comes in at 12ME and 31% starch.

Milk is sold to Dairy Crest Davidstow so milk quality has a major impact on milk price and financial performance. The rolling performance is 9867 litres at 4.19% butterfat and 3.28% protein, with a predicted calving interval of 384 days.

Diets are formulated with advice from Chris Martindale of Lloyds Animal Feeds. The cows are fed a single TMR which is fed once a day and formulated to maintain high milk quality. The TMR is typically formulated for M+27 litres and is supplemented by Harpers Buttermax Extra in the parlour.

The diet had usually contained a C16:0 fat supplement, but this summer milk quality fell back due to the grazing shortage so they were advised to swap to UFAC Buta-Cup Extra. Before the change, butterfat had been 4.10% with 2.98% protein.

Following the change in fat supplement, compositional quality rose to 4.11% fat and 3.13% protein in August and 4.26% fat and 3.27% protein in September after maize was introduced.

In September they took the decision to change to UFAC Supa-Cream on the advice of Chris Martindale. Supa- Cream is an optimum balance of fatty acids to support milk production and compositional quality. It helps improve the digestibility of the whole diet including forages. It also contains high levels of EPA and DHA to support improved fertility and glycerine which is a direct precursor of glucose.

The diet now comprises 24.5kg each of grass and maize silages, 1.5kg rolled wheat, 3kg soya, 0.37kg Supa-Cream and 150g of minerals with added methionine. In addition SC Toxisorb is included to reduce any mycotoxin risk.

“Since moving onto Supa-Cream milk quality has increased further to 4.32% fat and 3.48% protein which has had a big impact on our milk price and the cows are averaging over 30 litres per day,” Will continues. “The physical form of the diet is better than when we fed the C16:0 fat and cows are clearing the diet well. “We added the extra methionine as we used to feed rape and maize distillers. This year soya is a better price working on protein percentage but is lower in methionine than the rape so we have balanced the diet up. “Changing to a balanced fat source has had a big impact on performance which will be important as we expand the herd,” he concludes.

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