Hundreds of dairy farmers across the region are expected to attend the launch of the first of two new dairy Monitor Farms.
DairyCo has announced that Glenapp in Ballantrae will be the first of two new Monitor Farms to host an official launch day on August 20.
The announcement has been welcomed by DairyCo extension officer Heather Wildman who said that being a Monitor Farm provides a chance for farmers to share experiences, costs and benefits of expansion and development.
The three-year project, funded by DairyCo and the Scottish Government, is the third series of Scottish Monitor Farms. Glenapp Estates started milk production in 2010 on a purpose-built green field site. The 700-cow unit is milked through a 70-point De Laval rotary milking parlour and the unit employs a team of four full-time staff.
Wildman said: “Glenapp offers a unique opportunity for all farmers regardless of dairy systems and types to take on-board the advantageous and challenges grass-growing systems and utilisation of forage-based diets in a localised area and climate.
“This herd has recently been established and being a Monitor Farm provides an opportunity to share true experiences, considerations, costs and benefits of expansion and development, which is highly relevant in today’s fast changing dairy climate. Glenapp is a large-scale enterprise and presents a different dynamic compared to traditional milk production methods.
“We look forward to welcoming visitors to the official launch day and subsequently establishing a Community Group of satellite farmers.”
The herd is block-calved in February, which means all of the cows in a herd, or an area, are encouraged to calve at about the same time. It is then grazed throughout the year, using about 400ha of grassland, in a central location on the Estate.
The herd is now moving towards an on-off grazing system from September which usually involves the cows grazing pastures for a certain number of hours at a time then removing them before damage starts to occur.
The cows will use the existing accommodation as well as having access to a buffer-based silage ration in order to supplement their grass-based diet. Cows are then dried-off in December, resulting in a traditional 60-day rest period.
The Glenapp herd was established on the basis of incorporating high herd health status as a priority as well as sourcing animals that can maximise the full potential of a grass-based system.
More than 200 foundation animals were sourced from the Isle of Jersey, owing to the island operating a closed herd breeding policy, with Jersey young stock being selected from 23 dairy farms.
Other British Friesian and New Zealand type animals were sourced from Ireland, Wales and the Longtown area, in order to provide a foundation cross-breeding programme and capitalise on genetic benefits. The herd is currently averaging 21 litres per cow per day on a twice daily regime and is producing more than 4,000 litres per cow on an annual-basis.
Cows are fed concentrates in the rotary parlour based upon group potential yields of 18, 25 and 30 litres plus per day. Milk quality is a strong feature of the herd and is averaging 4.5% fat and 3.5% protein, with a somatic cell count of 110 and a bactoscan of 34. Milk is collected on a daily-basis by the Fresh Milk Company for cheese-making and annual milk price over the past 12 months has averaged 32p per litre.
Glenapp Estates dairy farm manager Arnon Langridge was delighted with the announcement of the farm being chosen as one of two new DairyCo Scottish Monitor Farms.
He said: “We are pleased to have been selected to host one of the projects over the next three years and look forward to this exciting development of our dairy business. Glenapp has the opportunity to benefit from the programme through involvement by the expert speakers and industry input, as well as, providing the host facility in order to help benefit other dairy producers.
“We look forward to helping establish a DairyCo Community Group of local dairy farmers in order to create debate and interaction through the exchange of ideas and farmer expertise.
“The Community Group is an open and inclusive forum and Glenapp will welcome any suggestions, comments, advice or opinions, over the course of the project.”
Glenapp will welcome any suggestions, comments, advice or opinions, over the course of the project