It begins with a vision
This week we launch a new project I am involved with called Vision farming.
I wanted to look at digital training and I have become very interested in nutrition and particularly areas like the microbiome and gut health. These were two areas that I wanted to develop over the coming years, to complement the consultancy work I’m doing. They also fit in with my own vision of trying to help make farming better and keeping animals healthy.
A huge opportunity has come along where I am partnering with Gardiner grain as we enter the online world together, with our new company Vision farming.
Everything we do has to be linked with education. On a personal level getting to work with a young enthusiastic team has breathed new life and energy into my own ambitions.
The really exciting thing is that we have three farms, which are to be our storyboard for training, products and the ideas we have.
We have set out five key pillars for the farms over the next five years;
- People development and training
- Animal health and welfare
- Nutrition and production
- Soil and biodiversity
Our final pillar for the farms themselves is the products we produce. We believe we are in the human health business. By focusing on our first five pillars over the next five years we want to see where we can bring the farms.
So our sixth pillar for the farming businesses is human health.
It is very early days so we will be revealing more of our plans in the coming months.
We are starting with the low hanging fruit and particularly focusing on animal health. So, expect lots of content and stories about this project from me in the coming weeks and months.
First things first
Back in August when I began working with the two dairy farms, we were faced with some big animal health challenges to tackle first.
Milk quality was the obvious starting place as our cell count on both farms was hovering between 200-300k. The beauty of where we are is we have so much work to do? These are not show farms, but relatable farming systems that must adjust to so many challenges over the next five years,
At a top-level on animal health, we want to reduce antibiotic usage on both farms by 50% over the next five years. I also now have an opportunity to develop my ideas from my Nuffield farming scholarship around a cow centered approach to modern dairy farming.
For the first 12 months, we will be making lots of changes around antibiotic usage like removing all HP-CIAs from our treatment regimes completely. It will be baby steps in many areas as we find our feet. A real focus is also been put on treatment regimes for example the use of oral rehydration therapy in cows. So watch this space as we talk about our wins and losses as we adapt and change.
For me, it is also a chance to bring so many of my farm health programs to life.
With my current role as a consultant on farms, I’m mindful that these cases are private farms. The vision farms will allow me to really dig into and showcase some of the work we are doing. We can talk in detail about our challenges and how we are working towards solutions.
People might have noticed in the past I do like talking and teaching when I can. For me, it is a dream come true to be so deeply involved in all aspects of the farming businesses.
It is just the beginning.
For the last two weeks, we have been working towards our dry off plan for cows on our two dairy farms.
Milk quality has been a key focus for us over the last 8 weeks. We have been battling cell count issues on both farms. We have a milk quality plan in place for the next 12 months.
As time goes on we will be telling this story along with some unique approaches we will be taking,. With Staph aureus infections in both herds, we have been working our way towards dry off and identifying problem cows, making treatment, and hard culling decisions.
In this video, I talk through some of the things we are thinking about at drying off and using an external teat seal called T-HEXX DRY.
Some of the big things that have worked for us have been at drying off singeing udder hair and also really focusing on hygiene during the process of drying off. We are performing our last milk recordings this week and look forward to reviewing our cure rates over the dry period along with ensuring low new infection rates.
We will be going or moving towards selective dry cow therapy next year but for now, we will be working hard to get a good handle on SCC at the herd level.
Watch this video below as we show how we are using an external teat seal on our farms at drying off.
If you like what you see, to purchase click here T-HEXX DRY