Tuesday 31 March 2020Duynie Case Study Of Dairy Farmer Mr Tutt

Feeding Moist Blends at Middle Farm

Making a success of dairy farming requires resilience, experience and plenty of hard graft. A simple – but very effective – feeding regime can make a big difference, too. As Mr Tutt discovered, on Middle Farm in Oxfordshire. 

Middle Farm stats and facts:

  • Average yield in 2019: 10,500 litres per cow
    • Butter fat: 3.87%
    • Protein: 3.23%
  • Calving Index: 386
  • Average Milk Price: 28.9p
  • Margin over Purchased Feed: 19.43p
  • All purchased feed costs/litre: 9.50p
  • Yield from forage per cow: 2,295litres

Found in the tiny Oxfordshire village of Charndon – just a stone’s throw from Bicester and a quick sprint up the M40 from Oxford – Middle Farm enjoys a true heart-of-the-country location. As you’d expect from this long-cultivated area of rich farmland, the patchwork of fields is made up of big and productive grasslands, neatly bounded by hedgerows.

Mr Tutt has farmed here since 1962. These days, day-to-day management falls to his sons, along with Paul, the farm’s herdsman. Between them, they have responsibility for taking care of 335 acres of land. At first glance, it looks like prime dairy country, with plenty of space to support the Tutt’s herd. But as wet ground is a problem here, much of Middle Farm isn’t well suited to grazing. 

The Middle Farm herd

The Tutt family runs a herd of black-and-white Holstein cows, with a twice-daily milking regime. A stable headcount of 130 is right for the family – and for the resources the farm has to offer. Calves are born all year round, so milk production remains stable throughout the seasons.

For maximum efficiency, the cows are artificially inseminated using reliably high-performing British Blue sexed semen. An Aberdeen Angus sweeper bull is used to pick up any who don’t take from their rounds of AI.

An efficient feed regime

The Middle Farm feed system is a simple and efficient way to sustain a high-yielding herd. It combines homegrown grass silage (the farm’s single source of forage) with Duynie Power Mix to create a perfectly balanced ration for the cows, wherever they are in their lactation cycle. Before switching to moist blends, Mr Tutt fed maize silage. He made the change in order to take advantage of a ration that’s complete, balanced and easy to feed. Eight years on, improved herd performance has proven this to be a good choice.

Feeding the blend out of the parlour means the ration can be adjusted to reflect variance in milk yields. And there are no mixer-wagon costs to take into account – at Middle Farm they simply mix the moist blends with forage using the telehandler bucket and feed out in the troughs.

Mr Tutt observes that, from the outset, the cows loved the moist blends. Enthusiastic uptake when they were first introduced meant forage intakes increased and have remained consistently steady. This has resulted in reliably improved milk yields across the herd. The impact of feeding a high-energy complete ration is also reflected by good herd fertility, indicated by a calving index that’s considerably lower than the national average. The versatility of Duynie’s moist blends range means they can also be used as a buffer feed to supplement spring and summer grazing.     

As they arrive on-farm complete with a permitted preservative, moist blends are easy to store as well as being easy to feed. At Middle Farm, the mix is tipped onto a concrete yard, pressed down with the loader bucket and simply sheeted – a clamp isn’t even needed.

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