CURRENTLY milking their 500 cow Holstein herd three times a day through a 28/56 Dairy Master Parlour Reggie Gardiner and son James are increasing their milk from forage and margin per cow figures.
The current 12 months rolling average is 8,400kg per cow at 3.27% Protein and 3.92% Butterfat, but the target for the coming 12 months is 9,000kg per cow with 3.30% Protein and 4% Butterfat.
As their consultant nutritionist Lyle Hamilton emphasises having a Total Mix Ration that is consistent in terms of nutrient balance and physical appearance plays a pivotal part in reaching these targets. Keeping feed in front of the cows 24 hours a day and keeping the TMR as consistent as possible 365 days a year helps maximise total dry matter intake and in particular forage intakes.
The Gardiner herd at Corcreeny near Craigavon is divided into three groups for TMR feeding according to the group average yield, stage of lactation and pregnancy. Milk recording details are used every four weeks to decide in which of the three groups a cow is placed. This reduces input costs by helping prevent the feed rate per litre produced getting too high.
James Gardner emphasises their aim is not production for the sake of high yield figures, but production that maximises margin per litre and overall farm income.
Another family member, Mark Morrison, a nephew of Reggie’s, takes responsibility for feeding the herd using a recently purchased Trioliet Solomix 2 2800 mixer feeder wagon.
“We did not have the best of experiences with feeder mixer wagons until a Trioliet was bought that gave six years excellent service with never a problem as regards mix quality, ease of use and reliability,” Mark noted.
“So when it came to investing in a new mixer wagon we had no hesitation in buying another Trioliet, especially as their sales manager, Padraig O’Kane, has always gone the extra mile to give us good service.
“This new machine may have cost more to buy, but is real value for money as the Dutch take a very practical approach to designing farm machinery.
“For example, they know that farmers often have cattle in both old and new housing so Trioliet will consider building a mixer wagon modified to suit a unit with a low roof, narrow feed passage or awkward doorway.
“In fact we find that Trioliet treat every customer as an individual farm business and do not simply supply off the shelf equipment.
“Our new mixer wagon is helping us reach production and profit targets by producing a consistent mix so every cow, every day, in every bite gets the diet designed by our nutritionist to maximise margins.”
James Gardiner added that the Trioliet mixer is easy to run due to several design features. A far from new 140hp Ford tractor is powering the feeder mixer wagon and doing the job as well as a modern 180hp model.
Mark Morrison commented that the machine is as good at mixing a small batch for 30 heifers as for a batch to feed 200 milkers!
“The Trioliet has an excellent Shifttronic 2-speed gear box that avoids start up problems and allows us to shift, with no interruption, from low to high speed without stressing either mixer or tractor.”
The Gardiners ordered their machine with an additional Premix rear door, which will be used when mixing meal in a new shed with straights bunkers now almost ready for use.
“Being able to discharge behind means meal can be piled up easily for loading and the real joy for me using the Trioliet wagon every day is the sheer flexibility of the machine,” says Mark.
“These Trioliet machines are designed by engineers living and working amidst Dutch dairy farmers so they have a real grasp of what we need from contour tyres to twin augers that make best use of space and reduce diesel usage.
“The electronic weighting facility is excellent and having a Trioliet Feed Management System giving me all the information I need is brilliant. The easy to read display units mounted on the tractor towing the wagon and in the loading shove are just so handy.
“I think that for accuracy and time saving this machine is unbeatable value with cows fed here in half the time needed with other cheaper to buy, costly to own machines.”
Clearly the success enjoyed by the Gardiner family is based on excellent stockmanship and a willingness to use outside professionals, including vets, FarmGate nutritionist Lyle Hamilton, Genus and NMR staff.
But at the core of profitable daily milk production is the ever reliable Trioliet feeder mixer wagon putting the right ration in front of every animal.
For further details contact Padraig O’Kane, Trioliet sales manager, NI, Scotland & RoI, tel; 07850 98 94 98 or view a range of mixer feeder wagons in action at www.trioliet.com