These unprecedented times present new challenges for farmers. Restrictions of farm visits mean that it is harder for farmers to access the support they need to make the best of their production. But help is still at hand. KEENAN, along with InTouch nutritionists, continue to work remotely, providing support and on-farm results for customers. In this challenging period, they are inviting new and existing customers to take part in their Proven Results Programme.

Young farmer seeing immediate results

Aaron Holden milks 120 British Friesian cows in a spring calving, grass-based system outside Piltown, Co Kilkenny. Taking over the farm aged 18, after the passing of his father, Aaron has made significant strides toward a successful operation. He has doubled cow numbers and, in 2015, built a new milking parlour. When taking up the reins, Aaron identified improvements he wanted to make. One was to introduce a diet feeder — something he had never used before.

“My father used to dream about buying a KEENAN,” explained Aaron. “On the way home from the ploughing last year, I passed by the factory in Borris, and I said to myself, ‘I’m going to buy one of those’.”

A week later, Aaron agreed a deal on a KEENAN Approved MechFiber340 with a bale handler and KEENAN controller with the Intouch nutrition package. InTouch feeding specialist Mark Moloney now works closely with Aaron. “Mark called out the first day and helped to get me set up,” Aaron said.

“He looked at the cows and tested the silage. I’ve had two more visits since then, and he’s always at the end of the phone if I have any questions.”

Mark told Aaron that by implementing the Proven Results Programme he could:

  • Increase MS by 40 kg per cow within one year
  • Reduce issues at calving.
  • Reduce Negative Energy Balance in early lactation and improve breeding performance.

  • This has provided great results. Most notably, Aaron is impressed with the success of the transition period and improved performance in early lactation. “All in all, the calving season went very well,” admitted Aaron.

    “The cows were in great order and calved down brilliantly. They also got going a lot quicker after calving as well. They have never been milking as well.”

    Last year, Aaron’s herd produced 400 kg of MS. This year, he is targeting a 40 kg MS/cow increase. Current yield is 28 litres (3.98% butterfat, 3.38% protein).

    Early lactation production has grown, with an extra 30,490 litres of milk (2,352 kg’s MS) compared to last year.

    This translates as an increase of 21 kg MS/ cow so far this year and Aaron looks well on his way to exceeding the 40kgMS/cow target.

    Diet feeding provides options for grass-based farmer

    Chris Catherwood farms in partnership with John and Jason Rankin, outside Newtownards in Co Down. They milk 265 Holstein cows in a spring calving system. It is a shared milking arrangement, with Chris acting as farm manager. Chris was crowned the 2018 Northern Ireland, Young Farmer of the Year. But along with this success, the Carrowdore native also faced challenges on-farm.

    “We were very low on winter feed due to the drought conditions across the country in 2018,” explained Chris.

    Chris began looking into diet feeding, leading him to begin working with KEENAN. After contacting his KEENAN regional business manager, Gareth McAllister, Chris availed of the three-month rental scheme KEENAN was offering at the time. Seeing the benefits, Chris purchased a KEENAN MechFiber360 the following year.

    While initially purchasing the machine to improve the farm’s adaptability after the drought, after speaking with Gareth, Chris identified other areas he wanted to address with KEENAN’s help, such as:

  • Dry cow period.
  • Maintaining milk solids during transition and early turnout.
  • Increasing early lactation yield.
  • Saving forage in winter.
  • Since purchasing his KEENAN machine, Chris has seen significant improvements in key areas of his farm business. “We saw a massive saving in silage tonnage (300 tonnes) used by incorporating straw into the dry cow diet,” said Chris. “This allowed us to not only save silage (1 kg of straw saved 5 kg of silage) but also improve cow body condition. Cows have calved down extremely well and intakes within the first 30 days of calving have increased rapidly”.

    “The increase in milk production from this has been incredible,” Chris added. “Cows are currently averaging 30.5L/day out at grass, night and day, only being buffer-fed TMR for a short time after each milking.”

    These results were achieved through working closely with InTouch feeding specialist, Aislinn Campbell, and following the Proven Results Programme. Current yield is 30.4 litres (4.51% fat, 3.3% protein). Previously, yield was 28.4 litres (4.31% butterfat, 3.10% protein). This translates as a 2 litres/cow/day (0.28 kg MS/cow/day) production increase.

    Total production between 2018 and 2019 increased from 565 kg MS/cow to 594 kg MS/cow, with concentrate usage down 273 kg/cow. (Note that concentrate usage was high during the 2018 drought year.) Chris’ production looks set to increase significantly again this year. The KEENAN Proven Results Programme is available to both new and existing customers. Contact your KEENAN regional business manager today for a free remote farm assessment.

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