Animal Production Science Animal Production Science Society
Food, fibre and pharmaceuticals from animals
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Feeding management and feeds on dairy farms in New South Wales and Victoria

E. Bramley A D , I. J. Lean B , W. J. Fulkerson C and N. D. Costa A

A School of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, Murdoch University, Perth, WA 6150, Australia.

B SBScibus, 2 Broughton Street, Camden, NSW 2570, Australia.

C Dairy Farm Consulting, 112 Lindendale Road, Wollongbar, NSW 2477, Australia.

D Corresponding author. Email: E.Bramley@murdoch.edu.au

Animal Production Science 52(1) 20-29 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/AN11214
Submitted: 5 October 2011  Accepted: 7 November 2011   Published: 7 December 2011

Abstract

Feeding practices in Australian dairy herds were recorded in 100 dairy herds in five districts of two states. A questionnaire about the feeding practices was completed and pasture samples were also collected, where applicable, for analysis. Data and pasture samples were collected once from each farm with visits to regions occurring at different times of the year. Diets were evaluated for nutritional adequacy using the CPM Dairy program. Average milk yield on the day of sampling was 22.8 L/day. The combination of grazed pasture with grain fed during milking was the most prevalent feeding system (54%) in all areas. This was followed by combination of pelleted grain/by-products combined with pasture grazing (25%). Only one herd in the study was not feeding any form of concentrates at the time of sampling. The estimated percentage of concentrate in the diet ranged from 25% ± 11.6 to 44% ± 12.0. Wheat, which was fed at up to 9.8 kg/cow.day DM was the most prevalent grain in all areas, except for Gippsland. The predominant sources of protein in all areas were canola meal, cottonseed meal and lupins. By-products were prevalent, with brewers grain and wheat millrun the most commonly used, fed at 2.8 and 1.6 kg/cow.day DM, respectively. Most farms (81/100) incorporated at least one type of ‘buffer’ in the ration, and limestone (67%) was the most prevalent mineral additive. Monensin and virginiamycin were fed in all areas, with a varying prevalence. Feeding or dose rates used for minerals and rumen modifiers were not always appropriate to those recommended for mineral needs or control of rumen function. This paper demonstrated that a wide variety of feeding systems are used in Australian dairy herds and provides information on nutritive characteristics of pastures.

Additional keywords: dairy cows, pasture, supplementary feeds.


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