Kevin Davidson, Managing Director | Plantation Road Dairies
Information is power.
Plantation road Dairies milks 1,900 cows all year round, the farm is irrigated with free draining soils and run as a system 5 operation. The 60-bale rotary cowshed has had DAL automation installed for over 12yrs which gives us the ability to measure Litres, Fat, Protein, Lactose, Somatic cell count (SCC), Conductivity and cow weight each milking.
Now milking 1,900 cows brings its own set of challenges but milking them through one shed brings a lot of cup transfer problems on top of that. Over the years we have adopted many changes to address these challenges.
Firstly, separating out the cows with a SCC trending over 200,000 and milking them at the end. This was a game change in terms of lowering SCC with minimal culling and resulted in lowering our mastitis cases through the season. Interestingly we have recently learnt that recent reformulated detergents will not kill these SCC bugs and it is necessary to finish your wash with a Chlorine rinse.
Around 6 years ago Farm Medix’ did a SNAPSHOT bulk milk Herdscreen. This led us to testing all our spiking SCC cows and as we were able to, we culled all our Staph Aureus cows. This was the second game change for us, this culling lowered our drug use to approx one third of where we use to be. Along the way we have plate tested many of our mastitis clinical cases to allow us to make the correct drug choices, Farm medix’ have also produced a very easy to follow book which helps you read your test plates and determine the correct drug choice.
As we move into a new era of Co-operative difference payments this testing will become even more rewarding in my opinion and who better to partner with than someone who is independent to drug companies.
Plantation Road Dairies Ltd