Dairy Bio – A day on the green

Sep 22, 2017

The ability to access new technologies is essential for dairy farmers to keep the cost of production down.

DairyBio CRC and DataGene are two organisations that are steadily delivering solutions for the dairy industry in the fields of animal health, fertility, herd improvements and genetics.

Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF) and the Australian Dairy Products Federation recently attended the Dairy Bio CRC Open Day in Hamilton, Victoria. More than 150 dairy and livestock farmers, and service providers from all over Australia attended the Open Day to view how research programs are changing the way dairy farmers innovate on-farm.

Hamilton’s Agriculture Victoria research farm is the site where all the large-scale, field-based pasture activities are located for DairyBio, and it is the best place to see how innovations will deliver game-changing increases in pasture yield, persistence and quality.

Throughout the day we were informed of the world’s largest precision-planted ryegrass filed trial, viewed drones and ground vehicles with advanced sensor technologies, walked through glasshouse facilities with the latest forage innovations and shown drought-tolerance trials which could be a game-changer for farmers in the future.

One of DairyBio CRC’s major achievements is the invention of a hybrid technique for ryegrass breeding. This will unlock a 20 per cent yield advantage in hybrid ryegrass varieties and also make it easier for plant breeders to use genomic selection and add novel endophytes in new pasture varieties. The current modeling suggests that hybrid ryegrass could deliver a benefit of $300 per hectare to Australian dairy farmers.

These viable solutions are a great example of how industry and research sectors work together to deliver some of the most positive and permanent changes to dairy herds and dairy pastures.

ADF recognises the potential productivity benefits of these new technologies and the need to innovate to compete on the global stage. The adoption of these technologies is going to become increasingly important to help farmers remain profitable, improve natural resource use and facilitate adaptation to ongoing business pressures.

The Australian dairy industry has achieved considerable improvements in farm productivity through the adoption of new technology and will continue to find new ways to be more efficient, and environmentally sustainable while still remaining profitable over the long term.

David Inall

ADF Chief Executive Officer

 

ADHIS Update: The power of herd improvement in the palm of your hand

Jan 20, 2016

A world-leading smart phone app developed by the ADHIS and Dairy Australia to help farmers choose bulls to meet their breeding objectives is now available to download, free for dairy farmers and advisors.

The Good Bulls app has been designed in close consultation with dairy farmers and advisors and builds on the popular Good Bulls Guide. The app, which can search from over 20,000 bulls, allows farmers and advisors to search, filter, short list and export bulls based on Australian Breeding Values and Australia’s three indices.

ADHIS Extension Officer Sarah Saxton has led the team that helped create the Good Bulls app. She said the app will be an invaluable tool to access bull information anywhere at any time, so farmers can take charge of their herd.

“The Good Bulls app really puts the power of herd improvement in the palm of your hand by giving users on-the-go access to over 20,000 bulls and the ability to enquire about prices with their supplier at the click of a button” Ms Saxton said.

“It’s quick and easy. Select your index and shortlist bulls based on the traits you want to improve in your herd using the Good Bulls app”

The Good Bulls app answers a strong desire by farmers and advisors to be able to filter and sort bulls based on their preferences and to improve profit in a fun and easy way.

Sarah says “We conducted over 20 hours of one on one interviews with a range of farmers and advisors in the design of the app so we are confident this is going to be an essential tool for the industry”.

The Good Bulls app is available for both iPhone and Android phones.

For details on how to download the app visit www.adhis.com.au/goodbulls

An extra week of Artificial Insemination can be worth thousands $$$

Oct 29, 2015

For dairy farmers who plan on spring calving, the next few weeks are a crucial time not only for their herds, but also for their business and profit plans, especially if they are using Artificial Insemination (AI) techniques on-farm.

Dairy Australia program manager for Genetics and Data Management Matthew Shaffer, and Michelle Axford of the Australian Dairy Herd Improvement Scheme (ADHIS) recommend farmers ensure they have enough replacements sired by AI bulls from the Good Bulls Guide. This may mean extending their AI program by a few days before allowing bulls into the paddock to naturally join with their cows.

“Don’t fall short with your AI program and give it that extra bit of time as the upfront costs will pay dividends for over the lifetime of the cow.
”Improving the genetics of your herd will benefit your business bottom line and ultimately your profits even when times are tight,” said Mr Shaffer.
“In 2014, for example, AI bred Australian Holsteins produced 22kg of more fat and 23kg more protein than those naturally bred creating an additional annual production value of about $271.80 per cow.

“And that means if you have 100 more AI bred Holstein cows in your herd you can expect an extra $27,000 of production value every year,” he added.
Ms Axford said that ADHIS and NHIA research for 2014 showed the total number of herd-recorded Holstein cows in Australia was 317,290, of which about 70% are AI bred. The extra value of annual production (based on $6.04/kg MS, source Dairy Farm Monitor Project 14/15) if the other 30% of cows were bred by AI rather than by the herd bull was approximately $25 million.

“The reason we do research on better genetics for our cows is that it produces healthier cows who produce better quality milk and make better profits for our dairy farms,” said Ms Axford.

For more information contact Michelle Axford, ADHIS Extension and Education Manager, ph 0427 573 330 email maxford@adhis.com.au or www.adhis.com.au.

Health breeding index ticks the boxes

Aug 18, 2015

 

Jason and Casey Bermingham’s breeding goal has always been fairly consistent: to breed cows that will have long, productive lives in their herd. However over the past 10 years their selection priorities have evolved as their herd develops.

The couple dairies near Maffra in East Gippsland, milking 240 cows under a pasture based system. Sixty per cent of the herd calves in spring and the rest in autumn, averaging nearly 8,000L per cow.

A recent Genetic Progress Report on the herd helped Mr Bermingham refine his breeding priorities.

“Our report confirmed we’d made good genetic progress for production and type traits but it also highlighted the opportunity to improve on health traits such as fertility and cell count. We had already started paying more attention to fertility but the report really brought the message home,” Mr Bermingham said.

When the three new breeding indices became available with the April ABV release Mr Bermingham discovered that the Health Weighted Index (HWI) wa

“I know that all the bulls on the HWI list will improve overall production, with extra emphasis on fertility, cell count and feed saved and this matches what we want to achieve in our herd,” he said.s a good reflection of his breeding priorities.

Mr Bermingham is looking forward to being able to track the impact of his breeding decisions through future Genetic Progress Reports.

“It will be really interesting to see how our herd’s genetic merit for fertility and cell count change over time in response to selecting sires on the basis of HWI,” he said.

Mr Bermingham has welcomed the introduction of three breeding indices.

“Having three indices obviously gives dairy farmers more choice – to identify sires that more closely match their individual breeding priorities. But it has also sparked a lot more interest and discussion about breeding priorities. It has really encouraged people to stop and think about what traits are important for their herd and what direction they want to take their herd through breeding.”


For more information contact Michelle Axford, ADHIS Extension and Education Manager, ph 0427 573 330 email maxford@adhis.com.au or www.adhis.com.au , alternatively take a look at the Good Bulls Guide.

 

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