In 2020-21 Owl Farm achieved record milk production of 178,125 kg MS (milk solids) (1,237 kg MS/ha and 440 kg MS/cow). While we set the financial budget based on producing 175,000 kg MS/year our focus is on achieving 850 kg MS by the 31st December. This ensures we are producing the bulk of our milk during the spring period when it is cheaper to convert spring pasture into milk. Sandy loam soils, which are at risk of drying out during low summer rainfall, make profitable late summer and autumn milk risky. Last season we reached 850 kg MS on the 10th January 2021. We continue to focus on an early, compact calving pattern to achieve this goal.
In the 2020-21 season the slower early season production was a result of our breeding programme delaying start of calving, and requiring more calf milk to rear Wagyu and beef calves beyond four days old. However, cows peaked higher in September and October and, along with improved crop yields and changing to 3n2 milking frequency to carefully manage BCS and APC, we were able to make the most of rapid autumn regrowth for milk production.
Increases in herd BW and feed quality allow cows to produce more per day with a peak offering of 20-21 kg DM/day of pasture. Cows are now consistently producing over 2 kg MS/cow/day for 3 months in early lactation.