Was switching systems worth it? Andrew discusses the advantages of using the AMS system with grazing.
My Grazing Week: Autumn 11
Robotic system: DeLaval VMS™ robotic grass-based milking
Recap last week:
Grass GR: 60Kg
(26th October- 01st November)
SCC (‘000) 80
TBC (‘000) 3
Rotation length 40 days
Life on the farm
A much drier and warmer week than the previous. Growth rates remain in the high 50’s, although the energy content and dry matter in the grass has depleted.
Milk solids are quite good but yield is still on a negative slope. But with a lot of cows coming up to dry off, this is to be expected with the herd average DIM at 270.
All of the livestock on the farm are still out full time and we hope to keep the beef stock out for another couple of weeks if weather permits.
We plan to keep the cows out grazing until at least the middle of November.
Reduced damage on the land
This is probably one of the biggest advantages of the AMS with grazing, compared with the conventional milking system, the reduction of poaching on the paddock.
Since the installation of the AMS we have noticed a significant decrease in damage done to the lend during wet periods of the year, especially around this time.
The cows in a conventional system, even when strip grazing, are all walking across the paddock, entering and exiting from the same point, all at the one time. On heavy ground, this can cause significant damage, and farmers may be forced to retire the cows to the house.
With the AMS, the cows are wandering in and out of the paddock at their own leisure, in small groups of five to ten cows, and at a different point each day. Instead of the cows being forced into and out of a paddock, where they walk over a large area of ground, the small groups tend to just follow the one small path to and from the paddock.
As well as the cows not travelling in large groups, all of the cows do not arrive to the paddock at the same time, and are split up across two to three paddocks at a time, throughout the day and night. Again, this causes a reduction in poaching as there is less stocking density on a small strip of grass at any given time.
By back-fencing, the cows every day, the cows are never walking over the same piece of ground for a second time. The less traffic that travels across the ground, the less risk of damage to the paddock.
Many AMS farmers comment about how much of a reduction in paddock damage they can see when they switch to this system. The strip grazing using a back-fence is a huge help to prevent damage inflicted on the field, by reducing the traffic on the area of ground. Cows travelling in smaller groups tend to follow the same, small, narrow path when entering and exiting the paddock. When cows are being forced in and out of a paddock, they tend to spread out over a larger area, causing more damage underfoot.
Farmers that install AMS defiantly tend to see a reduction in damage in the paddock.