Trial on dairy cattle begins
THE adaptation period for phase one of the DAF Developmental Trail has commenced at the UQ/DAF Gatton Dairy.
A total of 60 cows have been allocated into their PMR and TMR herds and are being fed their respective diets that represent high forage: concentrate ratios.
The PMR herd is being offered some outstanding Kikuyu pasture that is being managed with the assistance of practical tools available to industry such as a G-Dot soil moisture monitoring device.
During phase one, the two herds will be fed diets based on irrigated forages such as high chopped corn silage, sorghum headlage, soybean silage and high quality kikuyu pasture.
The diets consist of more than 90% forage with the remaining amount made up of a small portion of grain and protein meal.
Although concentrates are still required, using more than 90% of forage in the diets challenge industry’s average of 50-60% as well as significantly reducing the diet cost.
The intensification of the Queensland dairy industry has resulted in the cost of purchased feed increasing from 12.6c/L in 2005-06 up to 24.2c/L in 2014-15 with an increased reliance on purchased protein sources.
The trial examines a combination of pastures and forages that managed to achieve a high quality feed that will reduce feed costs and increase the margin over feed costs over the autumn period.
The launch was attended by 40 interested service providers and farmers, keen to find out about the alternative forages being used in the trial.
All diets in the trial consist of over 80% forage.
Open days will be held at the Gatton facility throughout the trial.