Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search


Dairy Cow Nutrition Days Link Feed to Profits

21 October 2008

Dairy Cow Nutrition Days Link Feed to Profits

The complexities and myths of understanding dairy cow nutrition and supplements will be unravelled for dairying women over a series of seminars being held throughout New Zealand in November.

Organised by the Dairy Womens Network, the Dairy Days seminars provide an "insiders" guide to understanding what is needed to provide cows with well balanced, nutritional diets to optimise their production.

Dairy Womens Network General Manager, Lynda Clark says, "the feedback from women in the Network is that they require a better understanding of what nutrients are important to dairy performance and what types of feed should be given to cows during the different phases of the lactation cycle.

"One of the most important objectives of the day is for women to understand how much they can afford to invest in feeds during each stage of lactation. Optimising your feed budget is just another way to add profit to your bottom line."

The Dairy Days will be led by expert animal nutritionists. Nicki Watt and Carolina Diaz Lira will be speaking at North Island events, while Andrea Murphy will lead all South Island events.

Animal nutrition expert ad guest speaker, Andrea Murphy, says she has found many farmers have a well founded understanding of how to grow grass and grass management, but understanding of dairy nutrition as a whole is only beginning to develop.

Getting to that next level of per cow production means understanding and analysing how a rapidly growing selection of supplements now available can compliment or supplement the existing grass resource. With this also comes a need to better understand the workings of the rumen, and how different feeds work within it.

"In Southland, for example, maize silage may not be an option, but whole crop silage, grains or even chocolate waste from the Cadbury factory may be options."

In addition to brushing up on rumen physiology, the nutritional seminars will provide women dairy farmers with the opportunity to use all their senses to understand the range of feeds on the market. They will get to see, feel and taste a large range of feeds and have some of the myths and misconceptions around them removed.

"I think often understanding balanced nutrition is put in the too hard basket. After all, there are already so many other things farmers must already know."

Yet it may often only be a case of sampling and trialling a supplement that differs to the usual maize silage or, more recently, the palm kernel option.

The cow's nutrient requirements change throughout the lactation cycle.
"How we feed a cow in the colostrum mob should be different to how we feed a cow in early or late lactation; how we manage these changes will have significant impacts on production of protein and fat, body condition and reproduction."

The extremely high protein levels of grass in spring time means choosing the right supplement can help reduce the energy a cow spends excreting that protein as nitrogen.

"For that reason adding in maize silage provides a great balance with its carbohydrate content."

Often it is small, incremental changes to feed inputs that get the results.

"We do not expect all farmers would want, or need to go out, and buy a mixer wagon for example and change their system wholesale."

Andrea says until recently New Zealand farmers have had the enviable option of simply being able to buy more land to boost production. However as prices have soared, more farmers will be looking to grow their production from within the land they already have.

The Dairy Womens Network Dairy Days seminars aim to provide a friendly and not overly technical forum for dairying women to have questions on nutrition, supplements and rumen workings answered.

"There is a very wide spectrum of women involved in dairying who are keen to learn more. They are often as heavily involved in these decisions as their partners."

For more information and locations on the Insiders Guide to the Well Fed Cow Dairy Day seminar, contact the Dairy Womens Network (07) 838 5238 or visit


© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


Crown Accounts: Slightly Softer Growth Expected In PREFU

A slightly softer growth forecast is the main feature of largely unchanged Pre-election Fiscal Update compared to the Budget forecasts three months ago, Finance Minister Steven Joyce says. More>>


Water: Farming Leaders Pledge To Help Make Rivers Swimmable

In a first for the country, farming leaders have pledged to work together to help make New Zealand’s rivers swimmable for future generations. More>>


Unintended Consequences: Liquor Change For Grocery Stores On Tobacco Tax

Changes in the law made to enable grocery stores to continue holding liquor licences to sell alcohol despite increases in tobacco taxes will take effect on 15 September 2017. More>>

Back Again: Government Approves TPP11 Mandate

Trade Minister Todd McClay says New Zealand will be pushing for the minimal number of changes possible to the original TPP agreement, something that the remaining TPP11 countries have agreed on. More>>


By May 2018: Wider, Earlier Microbead Ban

The sale and manufacture of wash-off products containing plastic microbeads will be banned in New Zealand earlier than previously expected, Associate Environment Minister Scott Simpson announced today. More>>