Nature’s boost to herd health
Ten years drenching their dairy herd with apple cider vinegar and garlic, then a further boost from DairyCare tonic, has two Morrinsville farmers convinced about the value of these natural stock remedies.
Bruce and Patrina Kennedy, Kiwitahi, 10km south-east of Morrinsville, say they have seen these treatments boost health and production in their herd.
After 10 years of the cider vinegar/garlic brew, three years ago they added DairyCare tonic.
Their 94ha (effective) farm ranges from flats to rolling to steep. The steep part is used for young stock and the balance is the milking platform. The 290 cows are Jerseys and they have just ended
their farm record production season up six per cent to 100,000kg/MS. “We aim to utilise every blade of grass while maintaining cow condition,” says Kennedy.
They plant 4ha of turnips for summer feed, harvest 18ha for silage and all hay needs are brought in.
The cows are drenched daily with 5ml DairyCare Tonic combined with 5ml apple cider vinegar/garlic. This is combined with bloat drench or zinc through the season. When drenching for bloat is no longer needed the mixture is dispensed with portable dispensers in water troughs.
The area is prone to summer dry spells and the herd is on OAD milking from the end of January. “When my Jerseys drop to averaging 12L per day is the time we make the change.”
With the use of DairyCare there has been a drop in his somatic cell count. In his first season of use his average figure of 128,000 dropped to an average of 100,000 and fewer clinicals. Any cows with mastitis or other health problems are kept separate to remove stress and given 10ml DairyCare for 10 days to help their immune system.
He only uses antibiotics within reason and only has to dry cow treat 10% of the herd. “We intend to continue as we have seen the big improvement in stock health and the increase in production.” (Reproduced from Rural News page 62)
Bruce and Patrina got an increase of 6% as above. Milk solids per cow 344.83 in 06/07 season 325.31 in 05/06 season. Increase per cow is 19.52 kg MS and at $4 kg MS, it an extra profit of $78.08 per cow. Cost of DairyCare Tonic per cow (300 days lactation) = $ 19.80