Embarrassing Milk Production

For the dairy folks and/or beef folks with questions about udders, milk and mastitis.
farm_dog
Beginner
Beginner
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Dec 14, 2012 12:44 pm

Embarrassing Milk Production

Postby farm_dog » Fri Dec 14, 2012 2:16 pm

I'm fairly new to dairying, having began milking cows two years ago. Here's my situation:

- I milk 10 pure Jerseys
- Each calved beween Oct 1 and Nov 30; half of the herd calved for the first time
- For the past two years I have fed only grass from our pasture and our hay at winter for a few months. Nothing else, ever.
- I don't plant annuals so the cows have been making what milk they could on perennial pasture.
- We milk once per day only and sell raw milk
- We've been averaging 1.25 gallons/day/cow, which I'm sure makes me a laughing stock

All that said, I decided to to a month long experiment supplementing with grain, since it seems clear that I'm asking too much of my girls. A week ago I began feeding 7 lbs/day/each 10% sweet feed, but have yet to see a milk increase. They go through the feed fast and I'm sure would eat twice that amount if I let them, but it's just throwing money away if it doesn't make milk. I realized they probably need more protein so yesterday I began feeding 16% Dari Gold from Southern States at the same amount. They've had two feedings so far and they still have free choice hay, but milk volume is unchanged.

I dream of getting 3-4 gallons/day like others talk about, but I'd even be happy with 2, as long as it's cost effective. Since we're too small for a nutritionist, etc., any recommendations on what/how I should be feeding to get decent milk production?

Thanks in advance for your ideas.
0 x

User avatar
TexasBred
Mentor
Mentor
Posts: 28261
Joined: Wed Aug 15, 2007 1:18 pm
Location: Heart of Texas

Re: Embarrassing Milk Production

Postby TexasBred » Fri Dec 14, 2012 4:20 pm

Miking one time a day will never give you the milk of multiple milkings. Keep in mind these are jerseys and 1st calf heifers early in lactation so don't expect tremendous production. Break the feeding into twice a day feeding, keep feeding the 16% feed (up it to 18% if you can find it) and feed a textured feed so you can see that it contains plenty of corn .. ...make sodium bicarbonate (Arm and Hammer baking soda) available at all times. 15 lbs. of feed per day along with good hay should give you 28-30 lbs. of milk. Do you have a market for that much milk?? If not just keep doing what you're doing.k
0 x
A dung beetle walks into a bar, looks around and says "Is this stool taken"????

cowmilker
Cowhand
Cowhand
Posts: 193
Joined: Mon Sep 19, 2011 9:28 am
Location: Up under a cow in SW Ohio

Re: Embarrassing Milk Production

Postby cowmilker » Fri Dec 14, 2012 4:27 pm

Two feedings is way too soon to expect much in the way of results. I second the advice given above. Craig
0 x

cowmilker
Cowhand
Cowhand
Posts: 193
Joined: Mon Sep 19, 2011 9:28 am
Location: Up under a cow in SW Ohio

Re: Embarrassing Milk Production

Postby cowmilker » Fri Dec 14, 2012 4:30 pm

Forgot to say welcome.
0 x

farm_dog
Beginner
Beginner
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Dec 14, 2012 12:44 pm

Re: Embarrassing Milk Production

Postby farm_dog » Fri Dec 14, 2012 5:22 pm

Thanks for the quick and helpful responses! What is the purpose of the baking soda? I feed some Thorvin Kelp in the parlor...should I put some baking soda along with it?
0 x

cow pollinater
GURU
GURU
Posts: 5624
Joined: Wed Sep 22, 2010 5:33 pm
Location: Eastern OK

Re: Embarrassing Milk Production

Postby cow pollinater » Fri Dec 14, 2012 6:43 pm

Yeah... you really need to give the better feed more time. Even really drastic changes are going to take about three days to notice and she's going to put some condition on her own back before she really cranks a bunch of milk. You're a little late in the lactation curve to see huge output but if you get it worked out this year and start them out right as fresh cows next year you'll be set.
0 x

suzorse
Trail Boss
Trail Boss
Posts: 325
Joined: Sat Sep 24, 2011 3:36 pm
Location: Emmett,Idaho

Re: Embarrassing Milk Production

Postby suzorse » Fri Dec 14, 2012 11:05 pm

grain goes to body condition and hay goes in the bucket, they need good quality alfalfa, I have a jersey on 1X a day milking and get a little over 3 gal on alfalfa, my last load of hay has more grass in it and she has dropped off by 3/4 of a gal, so when I call for the next load I will let them know I need more alfalfa, , they do need some grain for the carbs to offset any ketosis problems
Suzanne
0 x
long time member of Keeping a Family Cow
permitted raw milk dairy 006
Ginger the Jersey/Highlander/Angus/Hereford milk cow
Sweet Pea Jersey/Hereford milk cow
and the ever changing
bottle calves

User avatar
regolith
GURU
GURU
Posts: 2716
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 9:58 pm
Location: New Zealand

Re: Embarrassing Milk Production

Postby regolith » Sat Dec 15, 2012 3:50 am

Two months isn't too late after calving to pick up production. My herd had to be milked once daily this year for several weeks after calving till the tracks were repaired, (and held fairly tight on feed as well) got them to twice a day just about 1 week to ten days before herd test and production was quite respectable, next herd test 6 weeks later they were producing as well as they have ever done.

My first thought was it's likely poor grass quality but... you're late autumn calving, and milking fresh cows on grass hay?? With a start to lactation like that even turning them out to best quality grass in spring and keeping it short and green all through summer won't gain much production. Once daily milking compounds the problem.
You could get the hay tested and follow TB's directions on feeding concentrate (he seems to know what he's talking about). If you're in an area where you can use extended grazing, plan in future years to stretch the grass as far as possible so that the cows are calving onto a grass diet rather than hay - conserved grass will never match the standing pasture it was made from for nutritional quality or cost of production.
How is their condition?
0 x
Stepping backwards and progress are not mutually exclusive

User avatar
chippie
GURU
GURU
Posts: 4549
Joined: Mon Jan 15, 2007 8:48 pm
Location: Texas Gulf Coast

Re: Embarrassing Milk Production

Postby chippie » Sat Dec 15, 2012 9:38 am

As mentioned, the more often they are milked, the more they will produce.
(I am having a hard time explaining this.) The reason is that when the cow is milked only once per day, it's body is telling it that it is making enough milk. When you milk it twice, daily, the cow will make more milk because it's body is telling it that it needs to replace that was taken. Some dairies milk 3 times a day.

You didn't say where you live. If your grass goes dormant in the winter or is non-existant, good quality roughage, alfalfa, good grass hay (some placed the people call it horse quality), and a good balanced dairy feed (18% protein) will help your cows. Beef cattle use what they eat to make meat. Dairy cattle use what they eat to make milk. So if they are not getting much to eat, they do not have the energy to make milk. They need the nutrients to make milk.

The cow that we are milking is being fed an 18% dairy ration (10 lbs twice daily) and has access to hay 24/7. Our grass has gone dormant. She was giving about 23+ pounds per milking right before we started drying her up. She will be calving in about 6 weeks.
0 x
What is this hand basket and where are we going?

farm_dog
Beginner
Beginner
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Dec 14, 2012 12:44 pm

Re: Embarrassing Milk Production

Postby farm_dog » Sun Dec 16, 2012 7:25 am

Hi all,

Very sorry for the delayed response and thank you all for your wisdom. Prior to converting to a dairy, I raised a small (35 head) herd of 100% grass fed beef cattle. I found that they could get to my desired weight in 28 months or so on just grass and our hay. I tried the same approach when starting to dairy as our customers really would prefer 100% grass based dairy. As much as I would like the same, in the end I think it is just asking too much from the cows, unless you're happy with a gallon per day/cow. It doesn't really pay for the labor at that rate.

I'm in South Carolina. I calf in the fall because, with drought, we often don't have good forage in the summer anyway, even if I plant annuals such as millet, which often don't germinate as the sun bakes. Also, breeding in our heat is more successful, I feel, in December than in July. My goal is to have all calving next September and to have the cows on green grass through November. This year we've had no rain at all since September (1/2"), so they went on grass hay only when they calved. I'm sure that put them behind.

What I'm trying to determine is what is right for the girls at this stage. I've heard from you that 18% protein, textured feed is best, and I'll see if I can get that. For now, I have them on about 7 lbs/each of 16% feed along with free-choice hay. Is that the right amount of feed, or should it be more? It sounds like you're recommending up to 20 lbs/cow/day, spread over two feedings.

The reason we milk once per day is that I read you can expect a milk reduction of about 25% versus milking twice daily. Given our small herd, I just decided to add 25% more cows (two) rather than milk twice daily. Does that make sense or do you think the variance is really greater than 25% if milking twice daily?

Also, we always have a flush of ryegrass and fescue start around March 1. I noticed last year that our cow's production more than doubled for about six weeks at that time, and averaged 2.25-2.5 gallons. I assume that will be that case this year too, but if I'm giving them grain perhaps much more.

Thanks again for your help!
0 x

ANAZAZI
GURU
GURU
Posts: 2941
Joined: Sat Dec 29, 2007 8:34 am
Location: Sweden

Re: Embarrassing Milk Production

Postby ANAZAZI » Sun Dec 16, 2012 10:58 am

There is a possibility for next season. That would be to make sure that the hay for next year is of adequate quality for lactating cows. There is a difference between hay and hay...
0 x
Brindles have more fun!

Tim/South
Rancher
Rancher
Posts: 761
Joined: Fri Jan 20, 2012 6:53 pm
Location: North Central Alabama

Re: Embarrassing Milk Production

Postby Tim/South » Sun Dec 16, 2012 11:15 am

You can buy grass based feed. When we were selling freezer beef, we fed a blend of soy hulls, peanut hulls and corn gluten. It is @ 12%. I am not saying it would be the perfect dairy mix but it is considered a grass, no grain feed.
0 x
“You cannot get the water to clear up
Until you get the pigs out of the creek.”

User avatar
TexasBred
Mentor
Mentor
Posts: 28261
Joined: Wed Aug 15, 2007 1:18 pm
Location: Heart of Texas

Re: Embarrassing Milk Production

Postby TexasBred » Mon Dec 17, 2012 11:01 am

Tim/South wrote:You can buy grass based feed. When we were selling freezer beef, we fed a blend of soy hulls, peanut hulls and corn gluten. It is @ 12%. I am not saying it would be the perfect dairy mix but it is considered a grass, no grain feed.


Recommended feeeding for dairy cattle is a 16% TOTAL ration. Quality of your hay and/or grazing will determine the density of any feed to be fed. Alfalfa is a great hay but alfalfa alone does not produce milk like a combination of alfalfa and a good high energy grain mix. Protein and energy or key elements in a good dairy ration. Lack of either will affect milk production negatively. Jerseys produce less milk than holsteins but you should still get at least a 1:1 feed to milk conversion even on "fresh" jerseys and at 60 days in milk they should be hitting peak milk production. Since you only want to milk once daily all you can really do is fine tune your feeding program and keep stress at a minimum.
0 x
A dung beetle walks into a bar, looks around and says "Is this stool taken"????

farm_dog
Beginner
Beginner
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Dec 14, 2012 12:44 pm

Re: Embarrassing Milk Production

Postby farm_dog » Tue Dec 18, 2012 11:19 am

FYI, as of today, milk production up to 1.6 gallons/cow/day, so they seem to be responding to 7 lbs/day of 16% feed.
0 x


Return to “Got Milk?”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest