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  • Copy Link Biosecurity steps to protect your farm

     

     

    Implementing these simple steps will help prevent pests and diseases coming onto your farm and protect your livelihood, industry and Tasmania. 
     

    Download the checklist here

                   

     

     

     

     

     

  • Copy Link Cows Create Careers Presentation Days

    This week there have been three Cows Create Careers presentation days held across the state for the 25 schools that have participated in 2018.

    The largest presentation day held in Burnie, attracted 400 students from 10 schools in the North West Region, which is the largest presentation day in Australia.

    Thanks to the local farmers and Industry advocates who assisted with the schools, and the teachers from each school who demonstrated enthusiasm for the program.
    The program is designed to educate students about the dairy industry and careers that exist. Many of the students who undertake the program have little or no understanding of the size and scale of the Tasmanian Dairy industry and the opportunities it presents.

    The program has now been running nationally for over 15 years. In some cases farmers who are now supporting the schools were once part of the program when they were at school.

    Congratulations to all participants.

     

                      
     

     

     

     


  • Copy Link General overview of Liver Fluke

    General overview of Liver Fluke

    Liver fluke is a common parasite of cattle in south eastern Australia. Liver fluke are different to some of the more common cattle round worms in that they have an intermediate host, a small snail (Lymnaea species) that they must pass through to complete their life cycle. Eggs passed out in the faeces of affected cattle infect the snail and multiply rapidly (from 1 egg to up to 4,000 larvae). These infective larvae (cercariae) have a tail which allows them to swim through moisture up a blade of grass, where they form a cyst that can survive for a year or more in the paddock and may also persist in fodder beyond harvest.

    Once ingested the larvae travel through the intestinal wall and abdominal cavity to the liver. Juvenile fluke then migrates around in the liver for several weeks, causing tissue damage and bleeding. If the challenge is high this may cause acute disease with symptoms such as anaemia and weakness, with calves being most susceptible. The most significant economic losses from liver fluke are due to chronic disease, which occurs after the fluke matures and settles in the bile ducts. Affected ducts leak protein and blood, become thickened with fibrous tissue and eventually calcify. Heavy infections may lead to bottle jaw, weight loss, and diarrhoea. More frequently chronic disease will reduce milk production without causing obvious clinical signs. Production losses are thought to be in the order of 5-10% with low level infection, thus the potential losses are high as burdens increase.

    Environmental conditions play a large role in the degree of infection of the pasture. The host snail generally prefers shallow, slow moving water bodies like irrigation channels, drains, springs, and swampy areas. Recent research in Victoria has indicated that leaking troughs are a high-risk area, so it follows that any location where there is moisture seepage is a potential habitat for the snail. The larval fluke stages require moisture to migrate and will die off in dry conditions. Reproduction is most rapid at about 25°C. At low temperatures (<10 °C) the snails become dormant and development of the larvae also stops. Hence the risk of new infections is variable according to seasonal and local conditions, but generally peaks from late spring through to autumn.

    Treatment options vary in their ability to kill adult and juvenile fluke. Triclabendazole (TBZ) products such as Fasinex, Tremacide and Flukazole have the widest range of activity, and should be able to kill fluke down to 2 weeks of age. These products have a 21-day milk withhold and can only be used in young stock and dry cows. Chlorsulon containing products (Baymec Gold, Ivomec Plus) are only effective against adult fluke, but have nil milk withhold and thus can be used during lactation. Ideally dry stock should be treated with TBZ product in April-May when infective levels in pasture is high. A second treatment to reduce the adult fluke population is advised in August-September (e.g. Ivomec Plus). Heavily infected herds may need a third treatment of a TBZ product in January-February. Treatment of lactating cows is generally limited to TBZ at dry off and an optional adult treatment during lactation. Oxyclozanide (Nilzan) is also an option during lactation that is effective against adults but has been associated with negative side effects (milk drop, diarrhoea, nervous behaviour, recumbency). Unfortunately, after 40 years of use resistance to TBZ has been detected on some farms and should be considered when response to treatment is poor.

    Tests available to assess fluke burdens on a herd level include faecal egg counts (specifically for fluke eggs), antibody levels in the bulk milk tank and a newer test that looks for fluke protein in faeces (CoproELISA antigen test). The CoproELISA test is becoming popular as a means of assessing herd prevalence and the severity of the infection within a cow. It can also be used to detect drench resistance by repeating the test a few weeks after treatment.

    Eradication of liver fluke is near impossible due to the difficulties of controlling the host snail and larvae in the environment. A strategic approach of environmental management (e.g. fencing off drains/channels, fixing leaky troughs) combined with correctly timed treatments is necessary to control fluke levels on affected farms. As drug resistance develops to commonly used treatments an integrated approach will be even more critical.

    Thank you to Dr Lauren Clyne BVSc (Hons) MVSc for writing this article for DairyTas.

  • Copy Link Pest Surveillance 2019
  • Copy Link Silage Harvesting

    Resources that can help you

    This season making the most silage that you can will be vital to helping keep your costs under control. Focusing on ensuring that you make quality silage is also important. There are 5 key steps to silage making that if followed can help ensure that your silage is the best quality that you can make it.

    Step 1:
    Cut Pastures Early – preferably at or near canopy closure or when it would typically be grazed by the herd.

    Step 2:
    Wilt and harvest as quickly as possible – aim to have silage cut, wilted and baled or stacked within 24 to 48 hours.

    Step 3:
    Compact forage as densely as possible – Fodder plus Oxygen equal compost. Fodder minus Oxygen equals silage.

    Step 4:
    Seal well to keep out all oxygen – especially for stacks ensure they are well sealed not just covered.

    Step 5:
    Repair any holes immediately – use the correct silage tape, making sure that the tape colour matches the colour of the wrap plastic.

    Dairy Australia also has a couple of very handy videos on making silage on their YouTube channel. Some highlights for the season include:

    Seven tips for better quality silage
    Nutrition consultant David Lewis and NSW dairy farmer Lachlan Marshall run through their quick tips for better quality silage (4 mins).

    Cost of Production

    Understand what Cost of Production is, how to calculate it and what you can do to control your cost of production (3 mins).

     

    Check out other Dairy Australia videos on a wide range of topics on their YouTube Channel.

     

    Also check out the Feed Shortage 2018 website. There is heaps of fact sheets there that could be of use to you.

     

  • Copy Link Solar Panel Considerations

    Some farmers are looking at solar panel options with the Tasmanian Government funding currently available.  Go here to see the information

    Seek professional advice and install quality equipment that can be retrofitted to battery systems when they become affordable for dairy sheds.   Unless you have the right PV system installed initially, you won’t be able to add a battery system in the future.
    Please contact Rachel Brown on 0409 333 381, if you would like contact details for contractors able to provide advice and installations.

    If you are looking to put up a new shed to mount solar panels, make sure the shed is structural for the weight of the panels. Seek professional advice on the structural requirements for roof mounting. Ground mount systems are an option, but for large systems, they occupy a large ground area and stock/machinery access and weeds will need to be managed.

    Some general info about solar panels on dairy farms is available here

     

     

  • Copy Link What are the sources of greenhouse gases on dairy farms

    The picture below shows an approximate breakdown of sources of greenhouse gases on dairy farms. Around 55% of dairy emissions come from enteric methane produced by methanogen bacteria in the rumen.
    This methane is burped out by cows as part of the rumination process.
    Nitrous oxide is emitted in the breakdown of nitrogen from dung and urine deposited in the paddock and N fertiliser applied to the paddock.
    Nitrous oxide and methane are also produced from effluent systems.

    Annual emissions in context
    Average emissions for a pasture based, 400-500 cow dairy farm are around 2,500 t CO2e per annum.
    This is roughly equivalent to the emissions from a jumbo jet flying Melbourne to London return. To compare farms producing differing amounts of milk, emissions intensity is calculated by dividing total emissions by the amount of fat and protein corrected milk (FPCM; standard of 4.0% fat and 3.3% protein).
    An average pasture based dairy farm with 400-500 cows has emissions intensity in the order of 1 kg CO2e/ kg FPCM, which is similar to 1 kg CO2e/ L milk or 13.5 kg CO2e/ kg MS.


 

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