C4milk logoDAF Gatton High Milk from Forage Trial

C4 Milk 2017-2022

Trial Objective
Identify the relative profitability of selected total mixed ration (TMR) and partial mixed ration (PMR) feed base strategies which use alternative forage sources to achieve high forage to concentrate (F:C) ratios in the diets.

Trial Details
Phase 1 update 30 March 2016 (PDF)
Download a two page summary of the developmental trial
View video “An introduction to the high milk from forage developmental trial”

27 May 2016 - Update

The DAF Developmental Trial that has been conducted over the last three months has come to a very positive end at the University of Queensland Gatton Campus.
The trial pushed the boundaries of forage to concentrate ratios, feeding in excess of 90% forage in both TMR and PMR milking diets. There were many challenges throughout the period, but more importantly there were significant learnings and adoptable outcomes for industry. Margin over feed costs for each feeding phase remained high, with over $10/cow/d being achieved in the final phase.
It is the intention of the C4 milk team to keep elements of the trial going in the UQ dairy herd into the future; this will further enable investigation of certain aspects of the feeding trial.
The findings will be packaged up for regional extension activities which will be delivered throughout the remainder of the year. Thank-you to all that have shown interest in the trial, we look forward to delivering more information in the coming months.

C4trial13

20 May 2016 - Update

25 L/cow achieved with no purchased grain
The DAF Developmental Trial has seen target milk production of 25 L/cow achieved in the final phase of the program at the University of Queensland Gatton Campus.
Both treatment groups are ramping up production and milk components in the third phase of the trial. Dry matter intakes of the TMR & PMR herds are in excess of the targeted 21 kg DM/cow/d, with the PMR cows eating about 9 kg DM Lucerne/day. Milk components during this phase are exceptional with fat tests the highest ever achieved at Gatton.
Next week’s open day will feature discussions about the economics of the phase, Lucerne pastures, silage matters and milk criteria. There will be many practical outcomes discussed throughout the morning.
The Open day for phase 3 will be held on the 24th May at the University of Queensland Gatton Campus. Starting at 10.30am. Click here for the flier.

 

C4trial12

13 May 2016 - Update

The DAF C4 Milk team are commencing the treatment period and collating results for the final phase of the DAF Developmental Trial at the University of Queensland Gatton Campus.
The warm, dry autumn weather has continued during the trial, as is being experienced across the SDP regions. Along with the warm weather has come significant insect pressure on the forage turnips. A natural eco-oil product has been sprayed on the crop to knock the critters such as aphids and minimise excessive leaf damage. The warmth, however, has promoted exceptional Lucerne growth for this time of year. Growth rates in excess of 80 kg DM/ha/d are being measured, the PMR herd is grazing the crop at approximately 40cm.
The Open day for phase 3 will be held on the 24th May at the University of Queensland Gatton Campus.

C4trial11

6 May 2016 - Update

Phase 3 of the DAF Developmental Trial has commenced at the University of Queensland Gatton Campus and the cows in each group are settling in nicely to the new feeding regime.
The dry weather has been interrupted with a steady fall of 11mm of rain last weekend. The rain was welcomed for the Lucerne and forage turnips which the PMR herd is grazing. The cows have adapted quickly to both crops with utilisation being high.
The TMR herd is consuming the targeted DMI, with the soybean silage and Lucerne hay being positive protein additions to the ration. The rumen boluses are continuing to indicate a very constant pH for the TMR herd.
The final Open day will be held on the 24th May at the University of Qld. Gatton campus.

C4trial10

29 April 2016 - Update

The third and final phase of the DAF Developmental Trial has commenced at the University of Queensland Gatton Campus. This phase will continue through to the 25th May.
White sorghum silage and headlage will again feature in both the PMR and TMR herds with footlage (no grain) being included in the PMR herd diet. Lucerne and forage turnips will be grazed by the PMR herd. The TMR herd will be provided with soybean silage and Lucerne hay to supply their protein requirements plus other nutrients.
The diet cost for the PMR herd will be approximately $3.10/cow/d and the TMR herd will be around $4.59/cow/d. The margins on both herds will be provided as the C4 team collects production data during the phase.
Mark your diaries for the Open day to be held on the 24th May.

C4trial09

22 April 2016 - Update

Phase 2 results of the DAF Developmental Trial will be released on Tuesday 26th April at the University of Queensland Gatton Campus, 10:30am.
This phase has focussed on the incorporation of Lablab and forage sorghum, amongst other ingredients, into TMR and PMR diets in an attempt to replicate commercial dryland dairy systems. The margin over feed cost of the trial and commercial operations will be investigated at the open day.
The C4 milk team will also display the new technologies used in the trial: rumen boluses, thermal imaging camera and walk-over liveweight scales; and discuss their application to the commercial dairy industry.
The economics and application of the “silage sausage” vs silage bun is another topic for discussion.
Come along to Gatton on April 26 at 10:30am and be involved in the conversation.

C4trial06

15 April 2016 - Update

New technologies in DAF trial
The DAF Developmental Trial is incorporating the use of some new technologies to gain a better understanding of the effects of feeding parameters on milking cows.
The C4 Milk team are the first in Australia to utilise Rumen Boluses. The devises have been inserted into a number of cows within the trial groups and have been particularly useful in monitoring rumen pH.
A thermal imaging camera has provided some startling images of the extreme heat load that the milkers have endured during this warm autumn. Walk-over liveweight scales have also provided information that will be used to determine how the diets’ impacted cow weight and the “silage sausage” is proving effective.
These new technologies will be demonstrated at the next open day which will be held at Gatton on April 26. Follow the trial with us through QDO updates, www.dairyinfo.biz and other media.

C4trial08

8 April 2016 - Update and video

The DAF Developmental Trial is now in Phase 2. This part of the trial is drawing similarities with dryland dairy systems. The forages in this phase include forage sorghum silage, white sorghum headlage and lablab.
The PMR herd is grazing a lablab pasture that was planted in December 2015. The cows are being fed fresh strips each evening with a backing tape being moved each day. The regrowth of this crop will be utilised by the Gatton Dairy commercial herd later in autumn. The mixed ration for this herd includes forage sorghum silage and white sorghum headlage.
The TMR herd is being fed the same forages as the PMR with the addition of lablab silage; this lablab was conserved in a “silage sausage.”
The Open day for Phase 2 will be held at Gatton on April 26.

1 April 2016 update

DAF trial improves margins with high forage diets
Phase 1 of the DAF Developmental Trial is completed with the results indicating a Margin Over Feed Cost (MOFC) for both herds exceeding last year’s QDAS averages.  The TMR herd (91:9 forage to concentrate ratio) recorded a milk production of 22.6 L/cow and a MOFC of $8.27. This herd achieved the targeted daily intake of 21.5 kg DM/cow with the forages of white sorghum headlage, high chop corn silage and soybean silage.  With an 88:12 forage to concentrate ratio the PMR herd achieved a MOFC of $7.66 at a milk production of 19 L/cow/d. This herd grazed 5 kg DM/cow/d of quality kikuyu pasture during the evening.

Phase 2 has already commenced, over the next month the herds will consume diets based around the forages of white sorghum headlage, forage sorghum silage, lablab pasture and lablab silage.

Download – Phase 1 update 30 March 2016 (PDF)

C4trial05

 

30 March 2016 - Phase 1 Open Day

68 adults and 9 kids (its school holidays) joined us for our first open day for the trial. The audience heard that the TMR trial achieved a margin over feed costs of $8.27/cow/day that compares favorably to the 2014/15 TMR average in QDAS of $4.67/cow/day. More details on the what was presented at the open day will be made available on this web site in the next few days.  The next open day will be held on 26 April.

C4trial04

18 March 2016 Update

DAF trial Kikuyu pastures fire
Phase one of the DAF Developmental Trial is on the way at the UQ/DAF Gatton Dairy and the PMR herd are grazing excellent Kikuyu pastures. Currently the 29 cows are grazing 0.4 ha/day with approximately 1000 kg DM to 1200 kg DM on offer for grazing. The pastures are on a 12 day rotation; dry cows and mechanical methods are being employed to manage the sward after the milkers have been through. To encourage increased dry matter intake an automatic gate is being utilised, the gate opens during the evening when it is cooler and the majority of the pasture is consumed. An open day will be held at the Gatton facility for Phase 1 on March 30, please note that this was previously advertised as March 22.

C4trial03

11 March 2016 Update

DAF trial raises the cutter bar
The treatment period for Phase one of the DAF Developmental Trial has commenced at the UQ/DAF Gatton Dairy. An alternative forage being fed during this period is high chop corn silage. This forage was cut with approximately 45cm of stubble remaining in the paddock, compared with approximately 20cm of stubble left after the “traditional” corn silage was cut. Feed tests revealed that high chop corn was higher in energy (Dry Matter basis) 12.4 vs. 11.9 MJ ME/kg, starch 41.7% vs. 38.8%, equivalent in crude protein 8.9% and lower in NDF 32.2% vs. 37.2%. The economics of these crops will be evaluated and reported throughout the trial.

C4trial01

4 March 2016 Update

DAF animal feeding trial underway

The adaptation period for Phase one of the DAF Developmental Trial has commenced at the UQ/DAF Gatton Dairy. The sixty cows have been allocated into their PMR and TMR herds and are being fed their respective diets that represent high forage: concentrate ratios. The PMR herd is being offered some outstanding Kikuyu pasture that is being managed with the assistance of practical tools available to industry such as a G-Dot soil moisture monitoring device. During phase 1 the two herds will be fed diets based on irrigated forages such as high chopped corn silage, sorghum headlage, soybean silage and high quality kikuyu pasture. The diets consist of more than 90% forage with the remaining amount made up of a small portion of grain and protein meal. Although concentrates are still required, using more than 90% of forage in the diets challenge Industry’s average of 50-60% as well as significantly reducing the diet cost.

C4trial02

1 March 2016 Official Launch

The High Milk From Forage Developmental Trial held its official launch on 1 March at the UQ Gatton Dairy.  The launch was attended by 40 interested service providers and farmers, keen to find out about the alternative forages being used in the trial.

20160301_092540a

 

28 Feb 2016 - An introduction to the trial

9 Feb 2016 - C4 Milk, White sorghum headlage harvest (video)

29 April 2016 - Update

The third and final phase of the DAF Developmental Trial has commenced at the University of Queensland Gatton Campus. This phase will continue through to the 25th May.
White sorghum silage and headlage will again feature in both the PMR and TMR herds with footlage (no grain) being included in the PMR herd diet. Lucerne and forage turnips will be grazed by the PMR herd. The TMR herd will be provided with soybean silage and Lucerne hay to supply their protein requirements plus other nutrients.
The diet cost for the PMR herd will be approximately $3.10/cow/d and the TMR herd will be around $4.59/cow/d. The margins on both herds will be provided as the C4 team collects production data during the phase.
Mark your diaries for the Open day to be held on the 24th May.

C4trial09