One of those farm chores that seem to come around all to quickly is herd test. Eight times a year we collect a sample of every cow in the herd to help us understand more about the milk every cow is producing. It’s a much maligned but very important task to help us continue to produce top quality milk.
We fit milk meters to every set of cups and collect samples from two consecutive milkings. The samples are taken off farm to be weighed to give us a volume measurement and tested for protein and fat percentage and the somatic cells in the milk are measured.
While test results are really helpful for us to better manage every cow in our herd, the data collected also goes in to a central data base to help all Australian dairy farmers understand how daughters of bulls are performing across the country.
It’s always interesting when the results come in to see which cows are producing the most, it’s often not the cows I think. This month our top producer was cow 1861, she is producing 1.36 kg of protein and 1.66 kg of butterfat each day. We aim to breed cows which produce concentrated milk, so 1861 is producing all that protein and butterfat in only 36 liters. Like most of the cows in our herd 1861 is a crossbred, she is a Jersey Holstein cross, and all this as a healthy happy 9 year old.