At­ten­tion to de­tail re­warded With an­other gold plaque

Dairy News Australia - - ANIMAL HEALTH - RICK BAYNE

THE CROLE fam­ily at Simp­son in south-west Vic­to­ria has made a habit of ap­pear­ing in Aus­tralia’s top 100 milk qual­ity lists, and that’s a habit they want to con­tinue.

Wayne and Vickie Crole and share­farm­ers An­drew and April Crole have con­tin­ued to re­fine their sys­tems to en­sure they main­tain their good record.

“I’ve been here since 2011 and we’ve been in it ev­ery year since then and my par­ents re­ceived the award for a few years be­fore that,” An­drew said.

The de­ci­sion last year to start teat seal­ing heifers has fur­ther im­proved the farm’s per­for­mance.

“We use teat seal on all our cows when we dry them off and on our heifers prior to calv­ing,” An­drew said.

“This is the se­cond year we’ve teat sealed our heifers and it has made a big dif­fer­ence.”

The pro­ce­dure is car­ried out by Tim­boon Vet Group us­ing their tip­per crush.

“We’ve found this is very suc­cess­ful in re­duc­ing mas­ti­tis in their first lac­ta­tion,” An­drew said.

The ad­di­tion of heifer teat seal­ing fol­lowed a bad run of mas­ti­tis at the start of calv­ing.

“It was caus­ing a bit of trou­ble and not clear­ing so we de­cided to trial the teat seal and it was prob­a­bly the best thing we ever spent money on,” An­drew said.

“Now it’s a rit­ual ev­ery year.”

The farm still ex­pe­ri­ences an oc­ca­sional case of mas­ti­tis but they’re quick to stamp it out.

“We al­ways have two peo­ple milk­ing in our 40-unit Ro­tary dairy and al­ways fo­cus on the vis­ual signs of any cases of mas­ti­tis,” An­drew said.

“It’s much eas­ier to have two in the dairy at all times. You tend to know your cows and can pick up if they show any signs of health is­sues.”

Any cows with mas­ti­tis get au­to­mat­i­cally drafted dur­ing milk­ing and are bought back to be milked last to try to elim­i­nate any cross con­tam­i­na­tion.

They also teat spray once the cups come off the cows. An­other fac­tor in the farm’s suc­cess is reg­u­lar main­te­nance and test­ing of the 12-year-old dairy.

“Our dairy tech­ni­cians come in ev­ery 12 months and ser­vice the plant and make sure the vac­uum lev­els and pul­sa­tion are all up to scratch,” An­drew said.

“That’s one of the main things we do; if we start get­ting mas­ti­tis that’s one of the first things we look at.”

They change rub­ber in­fla­tions ev­ery six months.

The Aus­tralian Milk Qual­ity Awards recog­nise the low­est 5% of farms across Aus­tralia based on an­nual av­er­age bulk milk cell count (BMCC).

Re­ceiv­ing the an­nual gold metal plaque for be­ing part of the top 100 is not only a great hon­our for the Croles, it’s good for their prof­itabil­ity.

“It keeps us in the pre­mium milk bracket and so it helps our prof­itabil­ity,” An­drew said.

“It’s a nice hon­our and a good achieve­ment. It’s not some­thing we think about ev­ery day but we

just try to keep do­ing what we’re do­ing and reap the re­ward at the end.

“We’re al­ways try­ing to keep on top of it.”

Their yearly BMCC av­er­age is 70,000 and the healthy herd is record­ing good pro­duc­tion.“The BMCC gen­er­ally stays around sim­i­lar lev­els,” An­drew said.

Pro­duc­tion con­tin­ues to meet their ex­pec­ta­tions, es­pe­cially with a good start to this sea­son.

The farm is track­ing along the same as last year but still has a few cows to calve and is about to hit peak pro­duc­tion. Last year the peak av­er­age was 36 litres per cow and they achieved 212,000kg/ milk solids for the year.

Their yearly fat per­cent­age av­er­age is 3.75% and yearly pro­tein av­er­age 3.24%.

They calve from March through to July, with the bulk from March to May, and have a fairly flat pro­duc­tion curve.

Wayne and Vicki have been on the farm for 32 years; An­drew and April joined in 2011 and be­came share-farm­ers in July 2015. They milk a peak of 325 Friesian-Hol­steins on 190 hectares and run young stock on two 52-hectare out pad­docks.

With an­other gold plaque for the gate, they’re happy with the way things are go­ing.

“We have no more im­prove­ments planned at the mo­ment. We’re pretty happy with the way we’re go­ing,” An­drew said.

The Crole fam­ily – An­drew, April, Archer, Ayla, Vickie and Wayne.

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