Production, Performance, Price and Planet
The Morgan family have farmed at Trederwen Hall for three generations. Neil alongside his family, run an all-year-round calving herd of Holsteins, with a few Jersey cows, just outside of Welshpool, Powys. With a keen fourth generation chomping at the bit, Trederwen Hall have made some shift changes over the past 18 months to become more sustainable, working with their vet, geneticist, and feed advisor.
In 2021, the dairy herd’s diet consisted of a compound and blend which contained soya, palm kernel and protected fat. The overall crude protein of this ration was around 18%, incorporating the silage, blend and compound. Cow performance also reflected the high-quality diet, resulting in an average milk yield of around 28 litres with constituents of 4.1% butterfat and 3.4% milk protein, whilst managing unusual mastitis cases due to the hot weather experienced.
With pressure around sustainability intensifying further down the milk supply chain, the Morgan’s reviewed the ration with Howard Brown, their NWF Technical Sales Specialist. They discussed how best to maintain performance and improve animal health whilst also looking at the origin of raw materials. Soya and palm kernel (PK) are currently the target raw materials by the processors. Although PK has mixed reviews for how beneficial it is as a nutrient source, it can be substituted quite easily. Soya on the other hand, with its amino acid make-up and high protein analyses, can be a bit trickier to substitute. NWF Agriculture offers a range of products which are specifically formulated with raw material origin and quality of feed in mind. The NWF Fusion range features four products: Fusion HDF, Dairy Fusion, Fusion Pro and Fusion Rearer, along with bespoke blends. Neil and Howard decided to feed NWF Fusion Pro 16, a 16% crude protein, high glucogenic, protected wheat top nut. Which contains 40% protected product materials: Ultra Starch-W and Ultra Pro-R. Soya, soya hulls and protected fat were also removed from the blend, to not only help reduce the overall carbon footprint figure, but to maintain and increase performance. This ration now runs around 17%, and typically contains 766 kg/ ton less of CO2 eq compared to the previous seasons. To get the nutrient specification and properties similar to the likes of soya, Ultra Pro-R is used, a high-quality vegetable protein which as a result of precise treatment of rapeseed meal which has high bypass properties. Ultra Starch-W is a precisely treated wheat to increase its bypass, offering an effective alternative to raw materials such as maize. Although the diet was changed, predominately to meet processor and supplier demands, Trederwen Hall found there was an improvement in herd performance, with the average yield increasing to 31 litres. Concentrate use per litre has reduced slightly and the constituents have improved as shown in table 1.
In addition to improved milking performance, Trederwen Hall have seen a somatic cell count reduction, from 160 to 80 indicating that udder health has improved. Health and performance cannot be mentioned without talking about fertility. Where fertility indicators have remained consistent, achieving a calving interval of 375 days and conception rate of 42%. Kingshay Dairy Costing Focus Report (2022) highlighted their average conception rate of 38% and their calving interval of 393 days.
Thank you to Trederwen Hall for the insight into their farming and for their contribution to the NWF Dairy Bulletin Edition 5