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  • Feed adequate fibre

    Nutrition - Feed Adequate Fibre

    Description

    Although reducing waste in the yard may not be the primary reason to feed fibre, a lack of fibre in the diet soon becomes evident at milking.

    Diarrhoea can be an indication of dietary imbalances (such as acidosis) which will be affecting herd production as well as making milking a dirty job.

    Tips on Getting the Best Result

    Check if fibre is deficient in the diet over the season. Watch for grain in the faeces or other signs of dietary imbalance.

    Pros and Cons

    Makes for better working conditions and production (esp. milk fat) if diet is lacking in fibre.

    Fibre can be expensive or in short supply. Although faeces may become more solid, the total dry weight of faeces deposited may not change.

    Issues in Making it Happen

    Labour

    Some feeding out costs.

    Animal Health

    Nil - may help this if acidosis is a problem.

    Milk Quality


    Should reduce soiling of teats.

    Environment

    Nil

  • Mud and stone trap at laneway yard junction

    Stone / Dirt Traps

    Description

    Reducing the amount of material / mud brought onto the yard by the cows reduces the requirement for cleaning.A log or concrete barrier about 100mm high at the dirt -“ concrete junction is effective. A foot bath can also reduce the migration of soil onto the concrete yard. Some farmers cover the last 20m of track with a 200-300mm layer of sawdust.

    Tips on Getting the Best Result

    If constructing a foot bath make sure it can be drained easily and is cleaned out often. Line it with carpet or a metal grate to catch stones. Nib wall at back of yard should be 200-250mm high.

    Pros and Cons

    Reduces stones on concrete so less lameness, less blockages to pumps and drains.Sawdust or wood chips can block up pumps and drain grates and need replacing each season. Barriers at junction can upset cowflow so stock handlers need to give cows extra time.

    Issues in Making it Happen

    Labour

    Reduce labour on animal health but may increase track, yard and drain maintenance

    Animal Health

    Less stones on concrete means less lameness.

    Environment


    Disposal of sawdust onto pasture.

  • Reduce the time they spend on the yard

    Reduce Time in Yard

    Description

    Cows deposit about 7% of their body weight in faeces and urine on the yard each day. Look at strategies to reduce the time they spend waiting on the yard such as:

    • bringing the cows to dairy in small batches
    • don'™t fetch the cows -“ milk them as they arrive for milking -“ only collecting the stragglers
    • improving cow flow into the dairy
    • reducing milking times using maximum milk out times
    • implementing once-a-day milking (not for higher yielding cows).

    Tips on Getting the Best Result

    Work out your current cows per hour throughput CowTime Milking Monitor and see if there is scope to improve. Tailor mob sizes to throughput if splitting the herd. Maximum Milk Out Times can be used to reduce batch times.

    Pros and Cons

    Requires little change to infrastructure (unless separating mobs or building a stand-off area) and may get improved production.

    Will increase labour and complexity of management. Stand-off areas need drainage and effluent management to limit environmental impacts.

    Issues in Making it Happen

    Labour

    Will increase labour for fetching (best if have a spare person) but reduces cleaning time.

    Animal Health

    Nil - may help this.

    Milk quality


    Stand-off areas need good drainage to avoid dirty teats and udders.

    Environment

    Stand-off areas need effluent management.

  • Stock handling

    Stock Handling

    Description

    Agitated or fearful cows will leave more waste in the yards. Walk cows slowly to shed. Preserve their natural social order while they wait in the yard. Avoid crowding cows in the yard. Avoid dogs and electrified backing gates. Calm handling in yard and minimal interference as they enter the dairy reduces the clean-up. 

    Tips on Getting the Best Result

    Slow, calm, consistent handling and milking techniques. Reduce fear provoking interactions.

    Minimise the need to enter the yard to bring cows onto the platform. 

    Pros and Cons

    Will reduce stress for the operators, improve working conditions, production and labour productivity. Reduce injuries to cows from slipping on concrete and reduce milking times. 

    Issues in Making it Happen

    Labour

    May require some rethinking in herd management.

    Animal Health

    Should reduce slips and lameness.

    Milk Quality

    Should reduce teat contamination.

  • Voluntary cow flow into dairy

    Cow Flow into Dairy

    Description

    Calm cows entering onto the milking platform without the need for human intervention can save a lot of time during and after milking.

    Design the entry to minimise changes in light, flooring and slope. Consider a race to organise cows. Screen off the operators and train cows to enter without being forced by operators.

    Reduce stress in the yard by careful use of backing gates. Remove dogs.

    Tips on Getting the Best Result

    A wide angle entry into a 800mm wide race at least 1 cow-length long (about 2.5m) can help loading. Minimise the times operators enter the yard from the pit. Operate entry gate from in the pit. Proficient stock handling to reduce fear is just as important as infrastructure.

    Pros and Cons

    Infrastructure changes are a permanent fix so careful planning is warranted. Continual effort is needed for training cows and to improve stock handling skills. Significant improvements in milking productivity are possible.

    Issues in Making it Happen

    Labour

    Should reduce labour and stress at milking.

    Animal Health

    Can reduce slips and falls at dairy entrance and improve milk let down.

  • Wake up the cow first

    Wake Up the Cows First

    Description

    Giving the cows a few extra minutes to stand up and stretch before moving them off towards the laneway gate, increases the chance that the manure falls in the paddock rather than in the holding yard.

    Enter the paddock and get the cows standing. You will be surprised at how many defecate before starting the journey to the dairy if given half a chance.

    Tips on Getting the Best Results

    Quiet movement and stock handling will reduce stress in the cows and the operator. 

    Pros and Cons

    This is easy to do and is a low cost option but will take an extra few minutes when fetching the cows. 

    Issues in Making it Happen

    Labour

    Leave an extra 5 minutes to fetch the cows.

    Environment

    Nutrients will be left in the paddock not on tracks or in the yard.

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