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Focus Farm Open Day Report

“On the Front Foot” Focus Farm Open Day

The 4th Open Day at the Focus farm on 3rd October, saw once again strong interest with 44 people in attendance.
The day started off with morning tea then as usual a farm tour on the coach was the first part of the day’s formalities’.  Stops along the way and places of interest included irrigation, young stock, post grazing residues and milking herd.
At a paddock stop, the participants saw the cows & pasture.  People also heard about the progress of the new irrigation scheme and new irrigation infrastructure from Dave Field.  Dave McLaren from the Smarter Irrigation for Profit Project also showed methods of monitoring soil moisture, evaluation of irrigators and output. He shared some key findings of the project including planning ahead for profitable utilisation of water on pasture. 
Mark Freeman from TIA also presented in the afternoon about the key factors to successful and profitable irrigation.  He also stressed the cost of delayed start up. The importance of soil profiling and capacity to hold water in the root zone were also key components in the presentation.  The value of adequate irrigation and the true cost of the “green drought” were also highlighted.  Further information about the project can be found here

While out in the paddock looking at the post grazing residue and the milking herd, the audience also heard from Joyce Voogt from LIC about the importance of condition score and markers for heat detection in the lead up to mating of the cows. Joyce also gave a formal presentation later in the day. The topics she covered included the link between genetic merit has on the bottom line.
Joyce gave some take home messages on the four phases of the fertility cycle and the management aims for each stage.  These phases are firstly setting goals for in calf rate. She asked the listeners to identify what are the reproductive GOAL they wish to achieve. She then stressed the importance of making timely DECISIONS which will impact on those goals, this includes, managing non cyclers.  Next it’s on to the PREPARATION stage.  During this period, it’s important to check the condition of the facilities, make sure cows can easily be identified, staff are trained to pick up heat and bulls are sound.  The last phase is EXECUTION – which entails ensuring that all your goals are carried out.  Attention to detail is important to reach your goal. Joyce warned to be mindful of staff fatigue and suggested that if you are trailing below 30% of cows mated by the end of week one you might want to contact your InCalf advisor for some help.
Thanks to our sponsors Roberts who provided a BBQ lunch and LIC for sponsoring Joyce’s visit from New Zealand. Thanks also to our colleagues at TIA for their support and contribution on the day.
 

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